Sunday, January 4, 2015

Oh yeah, I almost forgot for a moment; I'm a freaking songwriter!

When people ask me what I do I usually tell them at first that I'm a musician. Usually the next thing they want to know is what instruments I play. After apologizing for my piano and ukulele playing, I point out that I'm primarily a singer. They often nod with a sense of condolence at this point. I usually feel obliged to next add that I am also a conductor, composer and teacher. And then finally, and usually somewhat sheepishly, I tell them that I am a songwriter. It's not that I'm trying to impress people with all those other titles , but starting out with "songwriter" is quite often a conversation killer. It's sort of sad, because truly I feel that my most special vocational purpose in the world is to write songs and teach others how to do the same. Ah well.

Another thing that often happens is that when people actually hear me or one of my groups perform one of my songs. they say with this look of surprise and astonishment, "That was a really good song! You wrote that?" My inner voice replies, I'm sorry, did I say before that I was a writer of crap songs? But instead I smile and say, "Thank you. Yes, I did write that song." I don't say this last bit to puff myself up, but to illustrate the general attitude of the public toward songwriters. If people think of songwriters at all, they may assume that all of the good ones are already dead, or that any song worth hearing gets played on radio or at least at Trader Joe's.

So back to the real point of this post. It's the end of the fourth day of the first week of this really long project, and I've got the first draft of the chorus of song #1 in the can. A lot could happen to it between now and a final version. A stanza could be cut and pasted somewhere else in the overall form of the song or it could be cut all together if something stronger emerges. I envision a mid-length verse of some sort, and since the chorus is fairly short and not too story-dense, probably two full choruses. Hmmm? Just now I'm thinking about maybe a good old fashioned bridge. So for now, here is a taste of the lyrics. Interestingly, this is the first time I've ever shared a song in process, and I'm a little nervous. Oh well. Here we go!

(first A)
Bring on the New Year
And the promise it holds
Every step of the race
Let me face it with fearlessness
As it unfolds.

Bring on the Journey
With each valley and hill
Every mountain so tall
I will conquer them all
Least I hope that I will.

(second A)
Bring on the feelings
Let my heart overflow
Elation and sorrow
And maybe tomorrow a helping of woe

Bring on the revelers
Bring on the cheer
We’ve got wine, Martinelli’s
And nothing to fear
So as long as there’s pretzels and beer

Bring on the New Year.

(Take THAT, bladder infection!)

The tune is kind of Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman with lots of wonderfully held notes for some brilliant arranger(s) to play with. Anyway, it feels like a very good start to me, especially considering the physical challenges (no uninterrupted sleep since Dec 30!)  I've been up against.

Thanks so much for coming along!

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