Blasphemy or Divine Inspiration or Maybe Something In-Between?

July 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

Friday night, I was privileged to once again see one of the best songwriters most people have not yet heard of, David Robert King. His songs are from the heart and from the soul and do not easily fit into any preconceived box or category.

Last year, I saw David perform for the first and was also part of a group of people who attended a songwriting workshop he conducted. Since that experience, I feel I’ve written some of the best lyrics of my life.

At Friday’s house concert, David performed a song he also did the first time I saw him, a song which may be my favorite of his songs and one which will be included on his upcoming CD. The song, “Idaho,” ignited the creative gene in me that night (or maybe it was the wine or a combination of the two), leading to this lyrical entry.

My song has nothing to do with Idaho and nothing to do with David, aside from the fact that his inspired songwriting inspired this effort. Thank you, David, and I’m sorry to lay the blame for this at your feet. Unless, of course, you like it. Then I’m not sorry.

Mother Mary

Mother Mary, won’t you watch over me
‘Cause I’m a sinner, and I’m cold as I can be
There’s a shadow cast upon my soul
And I can’t find the light
Heal my heart and make me whole
Help me find my way
I don’t know which way to turn

Mother Mary, I don’t know where I went wrong
My wheels keep spinning; I don’t know where I belong
Can’t seem to tell the truth from a lie
The words all sound so sweet
They make me want to cry
Help me stop the flood
Otherwise, my heart won’t learn

Did Joseph ever feel like he was out of place
A third wheel or a stand-up guy
What could you promise; what would he take
When what you had was just a lie?

Mother Mary, is forgiveness still a choice
If so, perhaps my sins can give me voice
Judgment at the end’s not what I fear
It’s what I tell myself
In the judgment now and here
To get through the night
And the flames that never burn

Mother Mary, won’t you watch over me

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

The Flip Side of the Past

July 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

Back in March, I posted some lyrics inspired by half of the older couple my sister and I lived with while our mother worked nights as a cocktail waitress. That song, about the husband, was inspired by the memories I have of him working away in his small shop. (He once made me a wooden box with a locking hasp in which to store all of my treasures. I kept that box for years.)

The wife was someone I did not remember as fondly. She was the disciplinarian, the one who made us go to church and Sunday School every week, and the one who made sure for the most part that we stayed out of trouble.

She was tough. Looking back across the years, I imagine she had to be. Her husband was a happy-go-lucky guy who had little use for discipline. She was the adult in the marriage and, in large part, in the lives of me and my sister. (Because our mother often worked six nights a week, we usually only saw her on weekends.)

Having already written about her husband, I figured it was time I wrote about her. I’m not sure I did her justice, but hopefully I came close. Some of what follows is based on my memories. The rest is imagination and conjecture.

Nora

Nora Penguilley was harder than steel
If she had a softer side, she never revealed it
To anyone, not even her husband and son

Her childhood was hard and life only got worse
Felt like she had to be under a curse
For something she’d said or something she’d done

When she was younger, she looked for a love
To last her the rest of her life
Common sense won out over fairy tales
When at last she was a wife

Nora Penguilley had nothing to lose
Though there were times when she wished she could choose
To turn her back on it all and just walk away

Not easy to love or easy to know
Her feelings stayed hidden, buried below
What she showed to the world every day

As she got older, she gave up on love
Exchanged for a warm bed at night
Locked away dreams she’d had as a girl
Forever banned from the light

Nora Penguilley was harder than steel
But even metal will finally feel
The onset of age, the passage of time

She died alone as she knew that she would
Her final wish was a hope that she could
Find something more than that left behind

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
So says the book that she read
Here on this earth never quite felt alive
Hoped for life when she was dead

Nora Penguilley was laid in the ground
No one to say a prayer or make a sound
Over her soul left to drift away
Into the heavens, her demons at bay

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Musical Update

July 7, 2017 § 1 Comment

No lyrics today. Simply a briefly note to let everyone know that my wife and I have finished putting together our second self-produced CD, titled Ten Miles From Bliss,

Our first CD, True North, was put together primarily for friends and family. With this second effort, we hope to branch out a little. Over the next couple of weeks, digital downloads of this new CD will be made available at CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, and others. Individual tracks will also be available through these sites. We’ll make physical copies of the CD available for sale at CDBaby and through Kunaki.com.

I believe I’ve heard it said that every artist is his or her own worst critic. That’s most likely true in my case as I can always find things I wish I had changed or done differently.

Having said that, I have to say I am proud of these songs. Several of them represent some of the best material I’ve ever written. If you happen to hear or buy the CD or any of the individual tracks, I hope you’ll agree.

Riding The Blues Train

June 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

Every so often, I like to try my hand at writing a blues lyric. Based on an earlier effort that incorporated a good deal of religious imagery (edited to reflect some changes), I decided I wanted to write something that incorporated the religious notion of giving thanks. For some reason, I also hit upon the metaphor of love as a train.

Say Amen

I saw the proof, I learned the truth
And then, I caught you in a lie
Make no mistake, my heart won’t break
Because I’m telling you goodbye

You can pack your things and get off this train
‘Cause it won’t be stopping here again
I looked for sunshine, all you brought was rain
When you’re gone, I’ll give thanks
And say Amen

Just save your lies, your alibis
‘Cause they don’t mean a thing to me
No memories, no saying please
My eyes are open, and they see

This train’s about to leave the station
And it won’t be coming back again
I’ll say goodbye without hesitation
And when you’re gone, I’ll give thanks
And say Amen

I’ve given all I have
There’s nothing left for you to take
Falling for you was not my first
But it’s my biggest mistake

Closing the file, after a while
I know my heart will start to mend
But after you and all you put me through
It’ll be some time before I love again

You can pack your things and get off this train
‘Cause it won’t be stopping here again
I looked for sunshine, all you brought was rain
When you’re gone, I’ll give thanks
And say Amen

When you’re gone, I’ll give thanks
And say Amen

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Putting Up Some Resistance

June 6, 2017 § Leave a comment

Today’s post borrows from what has become a popular hashtag on both Facebook and Twitter. However, while today’s entry was inspired by that hashtag, this is not a political post.

Instead, today’s lyrical endeavor deals with fighting back against whatever life has handed you. I don’t know if this song will ever be recorded or performed as I envision horns and/or some rocking piano, and neither my wife nor I plays horns or piano. Imagine this slightly uptempo with some horns behind the lyrics in a slightly syncopated jazzy rhythm, and you may get a feel for what I hear in my head with this song.

Resist

Resist, react
If you’re pushed aside
Fight back with all you’ve got
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t surrender, don’t let ’em win
Take a chance – make a move
Even the least of us got something to prove
An open hand can do more than a fist
When you’re feeling disrespected
Resist

Sometimes it feels you’re being pushed away
Even the least of us got something to say
Your beliefs, your point of view
Just ’cause they’re different don’t make ’em less true
I know you feel downhearted
Defeated before you ever get started
Give me your hand; get up and stand
I think it’s time for a brand new plan
So . . .

Resist, react
If you’re pushed aside
Fight back with all you’ve got
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t surrender, don’t let ’em win
Take a chance – make a move
Even the least of us got something to prove
An open hand can do more than a fist
When you’re feeling disrespected
Resist

I see you’re hurtin’
But one thing I know for certain
Now’s not the time to lay down and die
He may be goodbyin’
But there’s no need for cryin’
It’s not too late to act
Once you make your mind up and that’s a fact

Resist, react
If you’re pushed aside
Fight back with all you’ve got
Don’t give up, don’t give in
Don’t surrender, don’t let ’em win
Take a chance – make a move
Even the least of us got something to prove
An open hand can do more than a fist
When you’re feeling disrespected
Resist

When you’re feeling disrespected
Resist

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Writing Through The Pain

June 4, 2017 § Leave a comment

I’ve been writing lyrics for longer than I’d probably care to admit. For most of that time, my lyrics were my therapy, serving to help me cope with emotional pain, setbacks, and even triumphs.

In the last few years, my writing has finally branched out to become more universal, I think, and my songs have gotten better as a result. My lyrics still at times serve a therapeutic purpose, but I think even those seem to speak to something bigger than me and my problems.

Today’s entry comes at the end of a recent creative spurt which found me writing lyrics for three songs in two days. (No, I’m not bragging.) This song was borne out of the misfortune of a fellow singer-songwriter who had her guitar all but destroyed (the jury is still out) by another person.

Based on the pictures I saw of the guitar, I began to imagine a bit of back story, and I came up with the following. I hope she doesn’t mind and is not offended.

Staying True, Staying Strong

Her guitar was bruised and battered
It’d been through the wars
Her feet were on the ground
But her songs reached for the stars

Every scratch, every crack
Had its own story to tell
Amazing what a song has to say
When its singer’s been through hell

Staying true, staying strong
Keeping on the path when others say it’s wrong
Racing time, chasing fate
Hope against hope it’s not too late
To finally follow through
And for once, have a dream come true

She’d seen her share of heartache
Maybe a little more
Trying hard to learn from
Mistakes she’s made before

Every string, every note
Seems to come right from the heart
Hard to say where the music comes from
When your world’s falling apart

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do
But ride the wave and see it through
Time doesn’t always reveal
What’s up ahead
No guarantee that it will heal

Staying true, staying strong
Keeping on the path when others say it’s wrong
Racing time, chasing fate
Hope against hope it’s not too late
To finally follow through
And for once, have a dream come true

Hope against hope it’s not too late
To finally follow through
And for once, have a dream come true

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Touch Of Nostalgia

May 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

As much as it pains me to admit this, I suspect that in some ways I am much like others at my stage of life. If you read or watch the news or listen to the conversations of Baby Boomers around you, you will occasionally hear or at least sense a bit of nostalgia and a long for a return to a “simpler time.”

Not that such a Utopian time actually existed, of course. Yes, I suppose things were simpler in the sense that technology had not yet given us, personal computers, cell phones, or even the Internet, without which I could not share my thoughts and lyrics with the world.

At the same time, the contributions of women were devalued and even ignored, minorities were treated as second-class citizens, other groups were ostracized altogether. (I guess it is true. The more things change, the more they remain the same.) We did not have air bags or some of the other safety features that allow us to survive accidents that would have been fatal in that “simpler time.”

Still, I suppose it is human nature to occasionally look back at what we had and perhaps what we gave up or left behind in order to get to wherever it is we now find ourselves. Many of us, I’m sure, have had at least one “what if” moment in our lives.

Perhaps we wistfully recall the promise of youth and all that our unknown futures seemed to offer. It is in the spirit of such “woulda, coulda, shoulda” thinking and the whole idea of “what if” that I wrote these lyrics. I was also trying to channel a little of my inner John Hiatt. (I’m thinking specifically of his 2001 song, “My Old Friend.”)

When We Were Young

Remember summer days down at the park
And cruisin’ Main Street well after dark
Promise of love was everywhere
Back when we were young

Our futures stretched out like the open road
Livin’ life to our unwritten code
It seemed adventure was in the air
Back when we were young

When we were young
We had it all right in front of us
When we were young
Like musketeers, we knew who we could trust
When we were young
It seemed that life had only just begun
Those were the days
Back when we were young

So many changes in direction
We could never see
A course in need of correction
Always tryin’ to break free

Remember back to graduation day
And how we couldn’t wait to break away
Didn’t know how good we had it then
Back when we were young

When we were young
We had it all right in front of us
When we were young
Like musketeers, we knew who we could trust
When we were young
It seemed that life had only just begun
Those were the days
Back when we were young

Oh, those were the days
Back when we were young

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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