Plowing Through The Blocks

September 30, 2018 § Leave a comment

It’s been a little longer than usual since my last post. It’s been a busy week – anniversary party, a music gig, a couple of interviews for the music podcast I produce and host, and of course, writing.

Today’s entry was a little unusual for me in that it took a little while to complete, and I stuck with it. Most of my songs come to me fairly quickly or they don’t come at all.

I have probably several hundred songs lying dormant in some stage of incompleteness. While I will occasionally go back and finish a song I started writing some time earlier, it is more likely that my mind will go racing on to the next idea for the next song.

Most of my lyrics are started and finished on the same day (not necessarily the best approach to songwriting, but it is my normal way of doing things). Occasionally, it might take two days to complete. If the process stretches beyond that, chances are the song will never be finished.

Today’s entry took me five or six days to finish. I had a couple of verses, a refrain-like section, and a bridge, but I didn’t like the direction the second verse and the refrain-like part were taking the song. So I put it aside.

A few days later, I came back to it with some new verses that fit the feel and direction of the first verse. I then turned my original bridge into the refrain and wrote a new bridge.

The song seems to hang together much better now, and I’m happier with it. This is a bluesy, swampy kind of tune, and I can’t wait to get it arranged so I can perform it. Hope you like it. (And yes, the double entendre in the first verse is intentional.)

Down The Road

Come with me baby, let’s take a ride
I’ll show you the secrets I hold inside
You show me yours, I’ll show you mine

I’ll take you places you never been
Girl, if it’s real, it ain’t no sin
Just trust your heart, gonna be fine

REFRAIN
Time to shake this town off of our shoes
Roll on down the road, got nothing to lose

The motor’s running, ready to go
We can take it fast, we can take it slow
Just say the word, we’re down the road

INSTRUMENTAL

BRIDGE
There’s no need for promises
There’s no need for lies
Girl, the night is young
Let’s not worry ’bout goodbyes

Just climb on baby and hold on tight
We’ll lay down some miles before the morning light
The road is waiting, no looking back

REFRAIN (twice)

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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Sometimes I Can’t Explain It

September 21, 2018 § Leave a comment

Although a number of my songs draw on my own past experiences, others don’t. Some come as a result of things I see or hear.

Then there are those that seem to come out of thin air. They don’t draw on anything I’ve done, seen or heard. It’s as if they are bonus gifts from the Muse.

Today’s entry is one such song. I wrote it a few months back, and I can’t explain or remember where the idea for the lyrics came from.

I don’t personally know anyone who might have inspired the two characters in the lyrics, although I suppose the woman draws a little on my memories of my mother when I was growing up.

The song needs some revising, I think. I can’t decide whether it should be in past tense or present tense. I originally wrote it in a mix of tenses, but for presentation, I’ve made it all past tense.

Paid In Full

He did two tours in Vietnam
Two fingers and his left leg gone
Struggled to try and find his way
Back to the light

She worked two jobs to pay the rent
And wondered where the promise went
Living just one day to the next
Each one a fight

REFRAIN
So many ups and downs
It’s hard to take control
Even one wrong turn takes its toll
Some have it easy
Others never reach their goal
But at the end, they all are paid in full

BRIDGE
Paid in full, the disappointments
For every time they came up short
Trying to find a clear path forward
When circumstance distorts

They were just two wounded warriors
Each built protective barriers
Tried to give what each other’s missing
To make a whole

REFRAIN

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Simple Love Song

September 19, 2018 § 4 Comments

I don’t write many love songs. For some reason, they don’t come very easily to me. For today’s post, I made an exception.

Yesterday was my anniversary. My wife and I marked 25 years of ups and downs and all arounds. It’s a roller-coaster ride that has threatened to derail a time or two, but somehow, we have managed to keep it on the track.

When we married, we joked to friends that we were in a 40-year trial marriage to see how we liked it. I won’t speak for her, but I like it more with each passing year.

I’m sure there are other husbands (and perhaps some wives) who would say their spouse is the most understanding, most forgiving, most patient spouse they could ever hope for. And I’m sure they believe it. I definitely believe it to be true in my case.

I have a songwriter friend who has been married for a couple of years, and he set himself a goal of writing a new love song for his wife every year. I haven’t been able to accomplish that, but I did come up with this one for my wife, who is the foundation for everything I am and accomplish. I hope you like it.

Until

If patience is a virtue
You’re an angel above all
And I count myself a rich man
Because you’re here with me

Some people say that you don’t know
Just what you’ve got until it’s gone
I know exactly what I’ve got in you
I’m as lucky as a man can be

REFRAIN
Until the stars fall from the sky
Until the rivers all run dry
I’ll stay with you
Until the day I die

BRIDGE
I’ve been blessed
And I’ve been cursed
Time has shown me which is worse
But the worst thing of it all
Would be if you left me

Though time may make us older
You’re the girl I saw back then
And although I may not tell you
I hope that you can see

REFRAIN

I’ll stay with you
Until the day I die

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Everything Old Is New Again?

September 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

As I’ve mentioned in my last few posts, I’ve been trying (and mostly failing) to organize my office/writing/practice/editing space. While trying to organize the space, I’ve come upon snippets of lyrics and a few old finished lyrics, a couple of which I’ve already shared.

Some of those bits have also inspired new bits, one of which I’m sharing today. As I’m looking at it on the page in my notebook where I wrote it, I could swear it was something I started working on sometime ago. But I’m not sure that’s actually the case; the mind plays tricks when it comes to memories, especially as you get older.

This song is a dose of nostalgia, something I occasionally slip into when I write. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often, or I suspect, the entries would become increasingly maudlin. Anyway, I hope you like it.

Out Of Our Prime

I was listening to the old songs
You and I once listened to
I took a stroll down Memory Lane
Wondered what became of you

The time just ran away from us
Looked back and asked each other how
Like the town that we left in the dust
Would we recognize each other now?

REFRAIN
In the rear-view mirror, things seem different
Filtered through experience and time
Everything we did seems so much bigger
Now that we have passed out of our prime

You and I were thick as thieves back then
I sure miss those Friday nights
We would sit around and talk about
How we’d put the world to rights

But the dreams we had just faded
Those memories have come and  gone
Got older and with time grew jaded
The world we knew simply moved on

BRIDGE
Arguments we had now seem so silly
Hardly worth the breath, not worth the cost
Only in our thoughts can we recover
What it is that you and I have lost

REFRAIN

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Working Through The Pile

September 16, 2018 § Leave a comment

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been trying to get my office/writing space/practice space in order (fighting a losing battle, actually). In the course of that apparently doomed effort, I have rediscovered old notebooks and sheets of paper with lyrics on them.

Some of those are mere scraps, a line or two that came to me, lyrical orphans at this point, with little chance of completion anytime soon. Others are full song lyrics.

Today, I’m going to share another of those lyrics I came upon. I wrote these at the beginning of 2014. The rhythmic structure is inspired by Jimmy Cliff’s classic, “Sitting In Limbo,” so the song should have a slight reggae feel to it.

At some point, should the song ever be chorded and arranged, I imagine it will have an instrumental verse in it. Otherwise, it will clock in at around two and a half minutes in length. (At some point, I may cannibalize some of the better lines for some other effort.) Anyway, for better or worse, here it is.

Sitting Here In Darkness

I’m sitting here in darkness
Waiting for the night to pass
I’m sitting here in darkness
And the air is still as glass
I don’t know where I’m going
Only hope I get there fast

Faced with my decision
Can’t decide which way to turn
Feed the fire within me
Or simply sit and watch it burn
Looking for the lesson
That I’m supposed to learn

BRIDGE
Nothing’s really black or white
Different shades of wrong and right
That’s clear to me
Deciding which is which and what is what
In the end is not so easy to see

I’m sitting here in darkness
Knowing soon it will be light
I’m sitting here in darkness
Hoping I will know what’s right
May be a losing battle
Won’t give up without a fight

I’m sitting here in darkness
Won’t give up without a fight

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Lost Amongst The Mundane

September 12, 2018 § Leave a comment

Lately (always?), I’ve been trying to get my office/writing space/practice space into some semblance of order. Looking around, it is clear to me that I have not yet been successful in this effort.

One of the things I’ve been doing is trying to go through old papers, deciding what to keep and what to jettison. It is a dilemma all of us in this household (and I suspect elsewhere) wrestle with nearly every day.

While going through old receipts, notes, and other scraps of paper, I came upon some bits of lyrics. No surprise, really. I have lyrics scattered all around this room in various forms of completion.

I almost never get rid of an unfinished lyric, even though chances are I will never finish. Most of these orphaned lines are cringe-worthy when I look back at them, though I will occasionally find one and think, “ooh, I can do something with this,” though I seldom do.

One of the scraps I found was actually a completed lyric I wrote earlier this year. It was written during an unseasonably warm February day, which gave me my opening. The seeming juxtaposition of spring with winter gave me my title.

The song does not have a repeating refrain, though the two-line stanzas serve that function. To improve the rhythmic feel of the songs, I expanded the second line of each of those “refrain” sections. I also changed the bottom half of the second and third verses to maintain the rhyme scheme established in the first verse.

Up Is Down

The calendar says February
Feels more to me like early May
Not sure what to make of it
On such a strange, confusing day
You said you were leaving
Yet you were the one to stay
I dug in my heels
Now, it’s me going away

What I thought I’d lost you never found
Now it seems to me that up is down

Thought I had my feet set on the ground
Now, I’m falling through the sky
We had barely said hello
Before I heard you say goodbye
You said you were leaving
It was me who had to fly
Guess I could have fought it
But I didn’t, don’t know why

Passion simply died without a sound
Now, here in the silence, up is down

BRIDGE
Upon the pedestal I built for you
Down in the dungeons of my heart
An empty space where I can trace
Every wrong step we made from the start

The calendar will change again
But it’s always winter in my soul
Alcohol can’t dull the pain
Or ever fill the gaping hole
You’ve found someone new
And now I play a different role
But no matter what I do
My heart’s no longer in control

Feels as if you’ll always be around
I’ll always feel you here ’cause up is down

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Playing Paul, Writing Me

September 9, 2018 § Leave a comment

A few days ago, I posted lyrics inspired from listening to an episode of NPR’s All Songs Considered featuring Paul Simon and discussing his latest (and apparently last) studio album In The Blue Light. Today, I listened to the album and was inspired yet again.

The ten songs on In The Blue Light are all songs Simon has recorded previously, and some of them I had heard before. But many of the songs were not ones I was familiar with. Not surprising, perhaps, since Simon’s music hasn’t garnered much radio airplay in years, and I have drifted musically toward artists a little less well-known.

I have to say I loved the album. I think my favorite song is “Darling Lorraine,” originally released on his 2000 album, You’re The One. That song was, I suspect, echoing in the dark recesses of my brain as I sat down to write today’s entry.

The subject matter is completely different. Today’s entry, in fact, continues down a path I have found myself wandering along of late. Many of my most recent efforts have either directly drawn upon or have been inspired by memories of my life growing up.

The song is sung mostly toward the higher end of my vocal range, as I think it adds a sense of poignancy and plaintiveness. I’d love to know what you think, good, bad, or indifferent.

Through Adolescence

We used to walk the street on Friday nights
Not looking for much, not looking for fights
Not really sure what it was we were after
— After all

One final summer, the four musketeers
Secure in our ignorance, blind to our fears
Hiding behind the lame jokes and the laughter
— Trying not to fall

Stumbling blindly through adolescence
The future, a wide open plain
Each one of us, but one single link
In the human chain

Saturdays in our town, not much to do
Or maybe it’s just we did not have a clue
We were still young, but we thought we were strong
— We were walking tall

Most of our weeks, we spent looking ahead
To when we could follow the dreams in our head
Had all the answers, could never be wrong
— Thought we knew it all

Trying to make our way through adolescence
Secure in what we didn’t know
Each of us waiting to make our escape
From the status quo

BRIDGE
Marty, he bought it in Afghanistan
Joey went down in Iraq
I look in the mirror and ask myself why
Neither of them’s coming back

Tommy and I, we meet once in a while
We muster a few words and manage a smile
Nothing to talk about but memories
Of another time

Two of us made it through adolescence
Now it seems we have drifted apart
Each of us following down different paths
— Of the human heart

copy; 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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