Marching To My Own Beat

June 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

For whatever reason, a number of my songs tend to reflect on the sadder side of life: broken relationships, growing old, even death. Today’s entry is an exception.

Even though my life is relatively happy these days, I still tend to find myself drawn to darker themes. Writing upbeat and/or happy songs tends to be more of a challenge.

But it is a challenge I decided to take up with today’s entry. I’ve always been a person who at least thought of himself as following his own path and trying not to go along with others think or say simply because that is the popular thing to do.

So this song is basically about marching to the beat of your own drum and carving out, then following your own path. Hope you like it.

My Drum

Living a life of leisure
Living a life of ease
Living a life of pleasure
Doing whatever I please
Going wherever the wind blows
Whatever it is I can find
Leave no stone unturned
Or left behind

Chasing another horizon
Chasing another dream
Chasing another moment
Going in search of the cream
Taking things just as I find them
However it is they might be
Opening my eyes
What will I see?

Will I find wonder in the setting sun
Or romance in the moon?
Will I be ready when it comes
Or will it come too soon?
Running fast to beat the clock
I’ll run till that second hand stops
Always moving to the beat of my drum

Finding a new adventure
Finding a new romance
Finding a new direction
In search of another chance
Riding the wave where it takes me
No matter where I might land
Knowing that I’ve always done
The best that I can

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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Going Historical

June 8, 2018 § Leave a comment

Of late, I have found myself interested in trying write songs I would consider more folk-like in nature. I’ve also found myself interested in writing about things from the past or inspired by the past.

In today’s entry, the two interests intersect. I was sitting at my desk one day, trying to see where inspiration might find me, when suddenly, the flu epidemic of 1918 popped into my head. The resulting pandemic killed anywhere between 20 million and 100 million people worldwide (no one is sure of the actual number).

Of course, 1918 is also the year when the armistice ending World War I (then known as The Great War) was signed. So, I decided to try to juxtapose those two events in song. Let know what you think.

1918

The war was finally over in the fall
Some did not live to see it end
Even though they never got the call
Their own lives they could not defend

The battlefront at home was deadlier
Than facing down the barrel of a gun
An enemy that they couldn’t see
The battle lost before it could be won

Johnny, he came marching home
To a different kind of fight
An enemy invader
Who struck in the dead of night
Luck of the draw —
A fatal flaw —
Or a twist of fate seen in another light

The pandemic struck fear in the mortal soul
Laid low the strongest and the young alike
Those who lived never again were whole
Lives leaked away like water from a dike

The doctors didn’t know just what to do
And so, they simply let things run their course
A deadly foe that no one could slow
Led to battle by an unseen force

Even now, nobody knows
How many people died
Untold millions swept away
How many mothers cried?
It took aim at the strong
Gained a foothold with the poor
Who lost the means and will to fight
When they stood at death’s door

Johnny, he came marching home
To a different kind of fight
An enemy invader
Who struck in the dead of night
Luck of the draw —
A fatal flaw —
Or a twist of fate seen in another light

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Getting A Touch Political

June 3, 2018 § Leave a comment

I don’t tend to write political or protest songs. For one thing, there are others who have done it better and far longer than I (Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, for example). For another, I’ve had friends tell me political/protest songs are the kiss of death when trying to build or maintain a following. (Although not a direct correlation, I suppose the Dixie Chicks would be an example of this.)

Still, I have to go where the Muse takes me, and she recently took me down the path of today’s entry. I think she helped navigate the left-wing, right-wing divide relatively unscathed, although you will have to be the judge of that.

In these lyrics, I name no names or political entities. The lyrics are simply an observation of where it seems to me we are today. And perhaps it is as it has always been. But perhaps it need not always be thus. Please let me know what you think.

Time To Change

There’s a strong wing a blowing
Signaling a changing tide
I can feel the storm is building
Gaining strength from deep inside
For too long, I’ve been silent
About the things I see
It’s time to change

There are people going hungry
Others seem to have too much
Meanwhile, in the middle
It seems we’re losing touch
For too long, we’ve accepted
Things the way they are
It’s time to change

It’s time to change our way of thinking
And open up our eyes
Look within for answers
And not up to the skies
God won’t lift a finger
If we don’t lift a hand
Some with all and some with none
Can’t be what He had planned

There’s a time for reflection
And there’s a time to act
The time for doing nothing’s passed
That surely is a fact
Even the least of us
Has something we can give
It’s time to change

It’s time to change our way of thinking
And open up our eyes
Look within for answers
And not up to the skies
God won’t lift a finger
If we don’t lift a hand
Some with all and some with none
Can’t be what He had planned

It’s time to change

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Drinking To Inspiration

May 31, 2018 § Leave a comment

Those of you who know and love Trader Joe’s as I do know that they carry a wide variety of products under the Trader Joe’s brand. In addition, they carry a number of products that, while not branded with the Trader Joe’s name, are or appear to be Trader Joe’s exclusives.

Simpler Times beer is one such product. For the low price, the lager (haven’t tried the pilsner) is very drinkable, especially on warm spring and summer days.

I’m not positive, but I suspect the branding is meant to be reminiscent of a time when there weren’t 500 different craft beers to choose from, and every town had a main street. But don’t quote me on that.

That was certainly the idea I had in mind when I sat down during a recent camping trip, can of Simpler Times in my hand, and composed today’s entry. I don’t know whether this is the first time anyone has composed a song inspired by a can of beer, but it is a first for me.

I guess this song would fall (reluctantly) into the category of country music. The song proceeds at a moderately fast tempo (around 150 beats per minute) in 4/4 time. Let me know what you think.

Simpler Times And Simpler Dreams

Drinkin’ to simpler times and simpler dreams
Pretty young things in tight-fittin’ jeans
Close your eyes and you’ll see what I mean
Simpler times and simpler dreams

I grew up in a small town
Knew everybody’s name
They rolled up the streets at night
‘Cept for Friday’s football game
The quarterback and the homecoming queen
Looked like they stepped out of a dream
And when they got married
You know the whole town came

Drinkin’ to simpler times and simpler dreams
Pretty young things in tight-fittin’ jeans
Close your eyes and you’ll see what I mean
Simpler times and simpler dreams

They still talk about the big one
When daddies went to war
Back then, they never stopped to ask
What they were fighting for
When they got word a hometown boy died
The church bells rang, and the girls all cried
Still reliving memories
Down at the corner store

Summer nights at the drive-in
Two couples to a car
The folks would all go drink and dance
Down at the Cardinal Bar
Fireworks on the Fourth of July
Ice cold beer and apple pie
We’d just lay in the grass
Wishing on a shooting star

Drinkin’ to simpler times and simpler dreams
Pretty young things in tight-fittin’ jeans
Close your eyes and you’ll see what I mean
Simpler times and simpler dreams

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Graduation Gift

May 25, 2018 § Leave a comment

The daughter of our neighbors across the street is about to graduate from high school. She’ll then head off to her next adventure, college, to study creative writing.

To honor the occasion, I decided to try write a tribute song, I guess you could call it. The song is sort of folky, and is somewhat uptempo. In my head, the song comes in a bit under three minutes in length.

I mention the time or length because a shorter song seems appropriate for a younger soul. The world is still new, and when we are young we are typically racing to experience as much of it as we can.

While I don’t know if making the song uptempo (~ 180 beats per minute) was a conscious decision, I can say it makes sense looking at it now. I hope you agree.

Emily

Fresh as the dew upon the flowers in the morning
– Bright as the summer sun
The smile upon your face erases all the shadows
Just as when new life was begun
You bring light to the world around you
Sorrow has no place in your world
It’s plain to see – Emily

The world is waiting, stretching out in front of you
– It’s all there in your hand
The look in your eyes promises a bright tomorrow
Something I’m sure you’ve always planned
Bring joy to everyone who knows you
Sadness is simply swept away
A spirit free – Emily

Hair blowing wild and free, spirit untamed
A fire that burns from deep inside
You know your own mind
And I know that you’ll find
A way to stand against the tide

This is your time, so make the most of every moment
– Don’t let a single chance go by
Just grab a hold and take a stand and don’t let go
Your dreams are written in the sky
The world is waiting there before you
It’s all yours if you dare to fly
Who will you be – Emily

Who will you be – Emily

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Productive Day: The Finale

May 23, 2018 § Leave a comment

As mentioned in my two previous posts, I had a recent day where I was able to complete lyrics for three songs. The first two were more serious. This third entry is more of a dance or club type tune.

In my head, I can envision horns. The tempo is slightly upbeat, and the rhythm is slightly syncopated. I suppose if you picture John Travolta walking the streets of New York in his white suit in Saturday Night Fever, you’ll get the idea.

Stepping Out and Letting Go

Puts on his finest outfit
Decides to hit the street
He feels the rhythm of the weekend
There in the souls of his feet

The 9 to 5 left behind him
48 hours of possibility
It’s Friday night, and he feels alright
The music soon will set him free

Stepping out and letting go
Time to raise the roof
The music is his heartbeat
The rhythm is his truth
Stepping out and letting go
No fear and no regret
He’s gonna keep on dancing
The song’s not over yet

Sees her over in the corner
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
He hopes that she is also waiting
For passion to be unchained

In the late hours of the evening
There’s a different feeling in the air
The night gives way to another day
The moment’s now, the place is there

Will he lead, will she follow
Like steps within a dance
The music echoes in their hearts
It’s time to take the chance

Stepping out and letting go
Time to raise the roof
The music is his heartbeat
The rhythm is his truth
Stepping out and letting go
No fear and no regret
He’s gonna keep on dancing
The song’s not over yet

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Productive Day: The Sequel

May 22, 2018 § Leave a comment

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a day a few months back where I wrote lyrics for three songs in one setting. Two of the songs, the one already shared and today’s entry, are a little similar in theme.

One difference between the two is that the previous song had to build to something slightly more positive or hopeful. Today’s entry, on the other hand, tries to juxtapose the positive and negative in each verse and in the bridge, albeit in subtle ways.

Today’s entry is not modeled on anyone in particular. There are, though, elements that might apply to several women I’ve known through the years.

The major challenge for with this song is trying to decide on a melody. Because the verse lines are long, deciding on a rhythm for this song was tough. Right now, although the lyrics are serious, the melody in my head has a more moderate and upbeat tempo. If there is someday a final version, that may change, although I suspect the lyrics will need some serious revision in that case.

The Simpler Life

She looks at the bills there on the counter
Another fight this month to make ends meet
Knows she’s living paycheck to paycheck
And that she’s one bad break from the street
But she finds purpose in the struggle
Growing stronger through the climb
Between wealth’s trappings and her life’s simplicity
She’ll choose the simpler life each time

She thinks about the man who said he loved her
Then walked out in the middle of the night
Now her heart’s a closely guarded secret
She keeps tucked away and out of sight
Sometimes feels as if she’s reached the bottom
Decides that she has nothing left to lose
Though her life may seem so hard to others
Still, it’s the simpler life she’ll choose

Had a child at 16, two more by 21
At 25, though still alive, she felt like she was done
But she refused to listen to the voices all around
Convinced herself the simpler life
Would lead to higher ground

She knows down inside the life that chose her
Is not the road she would have picked to go
But now, if she had the chance to change it
She’d keep things as they are, that much she knows
Maybe it’s that her life is familiar
But it’s more than meets the eye
Don’t know if you can find contentment
In the simpler life until you try

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.