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.

Dreamers and Doers

May 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

I suppose I’ve always been a dreamer. Growing up, my dreams were my escape from the less than pleasant reality around me. Those dreams, fantasies really, served as a coping mechanism to help me survive. I won’t go into detail except to say that, while I learned to dream, I never really learned to dare or to do.

That realization came to mind whilst reading a story about musician Paul Weller. At 59, Weller has basically already crammed three musical careers into one lifetime. First, as leader of the influential band The Jam. Later, as leader of The Style Council. Finally, his solo music career, which sees about to release his 13th solo album.

The difference between us (not accounting for possibly subjective factors such as talent)? He may have had others who believed in him, but he certainly believed in his own ability and possessed the will to pursue and act on that ability. Until recently, I haven’t.

Growing up, I moved from dream to dream more often than I moved from one address to another. I had the dreams but not the drive, determination, or self-confidence to act on any of them. Friends will say that I’m acting on my dreams now, and that’s what matters. I’m sure they’re right, but I often find myself thinking about what might have been, as they say, if I had possessed a stronger work ethic or greater self-confidence or had been given more encouragement. Or all of the above.

Reading the story about Paul Weller, I got to thinking about all of that, which led to today’s lyrical entry.

Flow Like Days

Dreams I failed to nurture
Seeds planted in unfertile ground
It’s hard to reap what doesn’t grow
Time I let slip by me
Thought I always had tomorrow
But then it passed, where did it go?

Years flow like days
Each one faster than the last
I can’t count the ways
I let my future slip into my past

Things that I chased after
The peace I never seemed to find
It always seemed in front of me
There on the horizon
I hear a whisper, soft and low
Promising something I can’t see

Dreams flow like days
One dies, another takes its place
Each left where it lays
While I take up another fruitless chase

I’ve never been sure, did I chase the dream
Or was it chasing me?
Guess it doesn’t matter ’cause either way
It wasn’t meant to be

Time was once an ally
Stretched out like an open road
But now, the clock is running down
Looking at the ledger
Seems I brought less than I owe
Insecure, the man behind the clown

Years flow like days
Each one faster than the last
I can’t count the ways
I let my future slip into my past
Dreams flow like days
One dies, another takes its place
Each left where it lays
While I take up another fruitless chase

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

From The Mouths Of Babes?

May 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

Inspiration comes in many forms and travels many different paths. As I’ve mentioned before, I sometimes find it in things I see, places I go, and, in this case, things I hear.

One day at breakfast, my son was talking (and talking) about Pokemon and Pokemon Go. It seemed at the time there was nothing else he could talk about. There certainly was nothing else he wanted to talk about (unless it was the Nintendo Switch – sense a theme here?).

While I’m not sure the world is ready for a song about Pokemon or Pokemon Go (I know I’m not), I did get any idea from my son’s singular topic of discussion. This is intended to be a slow blues number.

One Track Mind

You’ve got a one-track mind
I can’t seem to break through
You’ve got a one-track mind
Don’t know what I’m s’posed to do
Every time I try to reach you
I can feel you holding back
You’ve got a one-track mind
But one track for who?

You’ve got your mind made up
I don’t think it’s gonna change
You’ve got your mind made up
See no way to rearrange
Every time I raise the subject
You go on the attack
You’ve got your mind made up
It just seems a little strange

There’s only one thing
You ever want to talk about
But that conversation’s something
I think I can do without

You’ve got a one-track mind
Guess that’s how it’s gonna be
You’ve got a one-track mind
There’s no room in it for me
I can’t keep playing your game
Sooner or later, I’m gonna crack
You’ve got a one-track mind
Guess I’ll have to set you free

You’ve got a one-track mind
Guess I’ll have to see you free

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Busy With Little To Show?

April 24, 2017 § Leave a comment

It has been a while since my last post on these virtual pages. (Too long or not long enough? You decide.) There are any number of reasons and excuses for that. The first and most general reason is life.

My wife and I have been pretty busy the last few weeks performing around town or preparing to perform. We’ve also done a bit of work on songs for our next CD. A few others things have been going on as well, all of them combining to keep me away from writing at the same pace I normally do.

Since my last post on March 29, I have started lyrics for eleven songs. Sounds prolific enough. Of those eleven, three are completed, one is close to complete, and the remaining seven will likely never be finished.

I suppose that is still pretty prolific, though not my usual writing pace. The writing pace has also slowed, in part, because I also want to be able to chord and arrange at least some of my songs. In the past, I relied on my wife to do that, which meant I wrote lots and lots of lyrics, many of which never became complete songs simply because she was unable to keep up with that pace.

So far, I have managed to chord one song and have started trying to figure out chords for one other song. Even that limited progress, though, has reduced my writing output simply because my creativity is being stretched and divided in multiple directions.

Being an impatient person at times, I first thought I was suffering from some sort of writers block, but I’m not sure now that’s actually the case. I’m hopeful that the slightly reduced writing output will result in even better songs. I guess you’ll be the judge.

Today’s entry is a slightly uptempo blues number. While a great many of my songs get their seed from something I hear or see or experience, this particular song is based on nothing but my imagination. Let me know what you think.

Nothing Left Inside

I saw her standing on the corner
Looking lost as she could be
I walked over to her
And she turned and looked at me

I could see it in her eyes
She was looking for a place to run
But she had nowhere else to run
And she had nothing left inside

I watched her turn to walk away
But then, she stopped right in her tracks
When she looked back at me
I began to see the cracks

She was balanced on the edge
All her tears were long since cried
Everything had been poured out
And she had nothing left inside

(Instrumental)

She’d been through the wars
And surrendered long ago
Nothing left to feel and nothing left to show
Time had done its worst
Left her with nothing left to give
Said she had no reason left to live

I left her standing on the corner
A far away look in her eyes
Trying hard to keep it all together
But I could see through her disguise

All the times she fooled herself
And all the times she lied
Left her with no one else to trust
And she had nothing left inside

She had no one else to trust
And she had nothing left inside

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All Rights Reserved.

Carpe Lyric! Seize the Song!

March 29, 2017 § Leave a comment

I suspect it is safe to say that no two writers (whether they be novelists, poets, songwriters, etc.) take exactly the same approach to writing. Heck, even I don’t always take the same approach.

There are times when I will sit down, pen and pad in hand, and deliberately set out to write a song. Sometimes, that approach is successful. Often, it is not.

At other times, I just open myself up to the opportunity and wait for a line or two (sometimes more) to come to me. Then I am able to enter into that writing space, and the words flow.

The other day, one of my Facebook friends, a fellow songwriter (even though I’ve been writing for years, it seems strange to call myself that somehow) was talking about getting a melody and lyrics while he was in the shower.

I replied that things like that often happen to me. I’ll get a line or two while I’m in the shower. I’ve also had songs come to me while in the act of washing dishes.

Perhaps with tongue-in-cheek, he suggested that next time I try writing with dish soap on a paper towel. I haven’t tried that (yet), but the suggestion brought forth an image of words disappearing from the page, washing away, if you will.

That gave me the first line, and the rest followed from there.

When The Words

When the words all wash away
All that’s left is what we feel
When the words no longer matter
It’s the feelings that are real

When the words have all dried up
We can still speak with our eyes
Though our words may sound sincere
We can still see through the lies

Love isn’t found within a phrase
Sometimes what we hear is what we hope
Love is found in how we spend our days
Sight can show us both ends of the rope

(Instrumental)

Sometimes what we say and what we think
Are different things
But I believe that feelings never die
Nothing rings as true
As the heart that beats in you
That’s what feeds the feelings till we die

When the words all go to dust
Who’ll remember what was said
Better, then, to share a touch
And make sure the heart is fed

Love isn’t found within a phrase
Sometimes what we hear is what we hope
Love is found in how we spend our days
Sight can show us both ends of the rope

When the words all wash away
All that’s left is what we feel

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Seeking the Muse in the Mundane

February 3, 2017 § Leave a comment

I stopped counting a long time ago, but if I had to guess, I would say I have written lyrics for some 1, 400 songs. And the lyrics and the ideas keep coming.

I say that not to brag, because most of those 1,400 songs are bad, but to illustrate the fact I am almost always looking for inspiration, almost always looking to write. Sometimes, ideas will even come to me as I am trying to go to sleep.

For me, the key is not just to find inspiration all around you, but to look for inspiration all around you. I find my inspiration in events, words, actions, faces, even a snowflake. Yes, a snowflake.

I was doing dishes the other day and looking out the kitchen window when I happened to see a giant snowflake falling. For some reason, the snowflake reminded me of ash, as if there were a fire burning nearby, and the wind happened to catch some of the ash and blow it my way.

As soon as that image came into my head, I had my first line, and I was off and running (or at least writing – I never was much of a runner). With these lyrics, I am also trying to work on brevity and allowing the gaps and the silences to add and fill. Enjoy!

Turn The Clock

The snow is falling like ashes from a burning memory
And in the distance I hear the echoes of you calling me
The skies are threatening to rain down all their sorrows and I can see
That things have changed, and I can’t turn the clock to how it used to be

The air is freezing; I can see the sadness in the frost
And on the sidewalks each icy footstep tells me what was lost
The nights remind me that you’re gone, and I’m still paying the cost
‘Cause things have changed, and I can’t turn the clock to how it used to be

Time only dulls, it doesn’t heal
And though the pain is now an ache, it’s just as real

(Instrumental)

The days seem longer now I’m on my own, but I’m not really free
Things have changed, and I can’t turn the clock to how it used to be
Things have changed, and I can’t turn the clock to how it used to be
Things have changed, and I can’t turn the clock to how it used to be

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Legend Lost

November 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

Last night, I was bobbing and weaving my way through the pro and anti-Trump posts on Facebook when I cam across the news that Leonard Cohen had died at the age of 82. While there may be those who disagree, for me, Cohen was perhaps the greatest modern lyrical poet outside of Bob Dylan, and I’m not sure he wasn’t even greater than Dylan.

From his earliest classics, like “Suzanne” and “Bird on the Wire” to his oft-covered ode to sex and faith, “Hallelujah,” and his less than optimistic view of the world, “Everybody Knows,” Cohen had a way with words that few, if any, could even hope to emulate.

His voice, which became even deeper and more gravelly as he got older, was perhaps never a singer’s voice, much like Dylan’s. Yet while Dylan’s greatest songs were great in spite of his voice, Cohen’s voice for me only added to the magic of his songs. I can’t describe or explain it, but the was a quality to Cohen’s voice that somehow added to the melancholy or sadness in many of his songs and counter-balanced the occasional hopeful or positive lyric.

While I had been familiar with the name of Leonard Cohen for years and had some vague idea of who he was, I only began to listen to his music in the last six months or so. I was immediately drawn to his lyrics, especially his classic “Hallelujah” and “Everybody Knows.”

Like perhaps many other songwriters, I wished I could write something in Leonard Cohen fashion, but I knew better than to try for there was and is only one Leonard Cohen. That didn’t stop me from trying – once.

Today’s offering was an attempt to write something in a Leonard Cohen style. I don’t think I succeeded, but it was inspired by his music and will serve as my inadequate tribute to the man, the poet, the singer, the genius who was Leonard Cohen.

The Running Man

I watch the people walk by in their haste
Where are they going with no time to waste?
Almost running, as if being chased
In fear that they might be replaced

The running man, he leaves no shadow
No stone is left to be unturned
Moving so fast that he makes the same mistakes
No time to wait for lessons learned

No time to stop; no time to wait
He who is lost is he who’ll hesitate
And so we move as if we’re running late
Are we the prize or simply the bait

The running man, he leaves no shadow
No stone is left to be unturned
Moving so fast that he makes the same mistakes
No time to wait for lessons learned

The hands of time spin out of control
Circling and winding tighter around your soul
Minutes like seconds, all running down
Until the clock stops without a sound

The world around me is picking up speed
Everyone hurrying to fill a desparate need
Afraid of missing out if they aren’t in the lead
Is it desire or simply greed

The running man, he leaves no shadow
No stone is left to be unturned
Moving so fast that he makes the same mistakes
No time to wait for lessons learned

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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