Old Soul

It’s something I’ve been referred to as many times. I don’t argue it, and few who know will either, so that leaves what the song is about to be pretty self explanatory. But there’s a story about writing it.

It was actually some silly thing on Facebook (imagine: Facebook having something silly on it!), back when you had a random list of your friends generated on the side of your page. And there was this game going around where people filled out lists based on the visible list of friends (what animal would <first person on friend list> be? what kind of car would <second person on friend list> be? etc.). Then the idea was you tag the people mentioned, they make their own silly list, and it becomes world wide Facebook fun. Very clever.

ANYWAY, the point being is that one night I had been tagged in one of this lists, inquiring what kind of drink I would be. The friend referred to my old soul-ness, suggesting that I would be cognac. I enjoy the comparison. That night, around 3am, the image came back to me of the old soul metaphors, and so quietly strumming as to not wake my roommate, I went to work. Cognac became brandy in the song, as cognac is not a very musical word.

The irony is of course that 3am is way past an old soul’s bedtime, when the song was being written. Though I suppose restless nights could be considered a fitting trait.

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Live That Way

The best songs are always the ones that come naturally, and this song was no exception. I may not be sure how I’m planning on living the rest of my life, but I at least know how I don’t want to live it. So, yeah, process of elimination I guess.

The song definitely same with a Bruce Springsteen feel in mind. I felt like it was something he could have been caught singing about in his youth as well, though he probably would have put it more eloquently, with commentary about our country’s economy and misguided policies. The song was written well after the start of Strangers and Liars, so while I lives well as a solo tune, it was written with the band in mind and in fact, became the title track to our second album!

http://strangersandliars.bandcamp.com/track/live-that-way

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Funny Business

“Funny Business” was written when the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement was still at large. While I agree (more so now than then) that the issue of poverty and wealth distribution in our country is in dire need of repair, I was not a fan of the ‘Occupy’ movement. While I commend those involved for taking action, I never saw hope of anything getting accomplished by their means. I think people’s ability to ignore other people (ESPECIALLY wealthy people’s ability) was greatly underestimated.

The song isn’t to decry what the movement was all about, or offer a better solution. Just my take on the situation.

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Hey Rain Keep Falling

I once got caught in a rainstorm while I was out riding my bike. It was magnificent.

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Unimaginary Friend

Growing up, Calvin and Hobbes was my favorite comic strip. Between then and now there’s been some good ones, but Bill Watterson still stands alone when it comes to insightful humor and heart warming associations to childhood.

This song was a stand against the war on imagination. I’m not in any position to tell anyone how to raise their kids, but I can at least speak from my own experience. I grew up bringing stuffed animals to life. I grew up with armies of toys waging epic battles. I grew up believing in Santa Claus. I also grew up through the front end of the video game boom, and if my parents hadn’t stepped in and said “this is becoming a problem, you’re only allowed to play video games on weekends”, I probably would never had picked up a guitar.

I still play video games on the regular, so it’s not that I’m saying they are all that’s evil. But at a young age, I will say they can be absolutely stifling to one’s imagination. All of the creating is done for you. It can still be a fantastic experience, but imagination is all about creating, and there is very little opportunity for a child in front of a screen to create.

Gosh, I didn’t intend for the post to get so personally thought provoking, but here we are. In simple terms from the song: “if you never let them tell you what’s real and what is not, you never have to give up what you’ve got.”

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The World Ahead The World Behind

One of the newest songs I have written, it’s a different style to an old adage. Bob Dylan said “the times are a changing”, and plenty of other people echoed the message after him. I’m also sure plenty of songwriter before him had that to say as well.

What’s interesting about the journey from “what has been” to “what will be” is that while every generation makes that journey, no two generations are having the same journey. There can similarities, but what becomes the new world to one generation will start as the old world for the next generation, and they will move into a new world after that.

How times were different is not necessarily what makes a generation stand out. It’s the journey that travels through a great change. We go through life with a certain understanding of how our world works, and then as time passes on, we watch that understanding be rewritten (often for better and worse). The time that one resides in is only a fraction of the story. The world behind them and the world ahead of them is the rest.

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I Never Asked the World to Wait

“The world stops for no one”

That always seemed a little dramatic to me. The message or metaphor is easy enough to get. Yes, my singular problems are not enough to warrant the rest of humanity taking a day to acknowledge me. It’s supposed to make the world sound unforgiving in a sort of realist’s way, but I also think it’s supposed to be a little passive aggressive towards the recipient.

I’m not big on change. My phone is old. Most music I listen to was written before I was born. I don’t like being busy or hurried, or be in big noisy cities where you only get to see slivers of the sky at a time. I’ll stick with a laptop and you can keep your tablet. I’ll stick with a book, and you can keep your kindle. The world changes, and I’ll change too, but I’ll do it when I’m good ready.

The world stops for no one, not that I asked it to

Other news

As you might have noticed, this post is on a Wednesday instead of a Friday. Wednesday is going to be the new regular post day so that aside from the song of the week, I can post if anything is going on this weekend. So here we go!

Thursday
Opening night for season 4 of the Songwriter Sunset! The show is from 7 to 9 at the Edinboro Lake Resort, featuring Gabe Poland and Jay Baumgardner

Friday
I’ll be playing solo at the Edinboro Hotel Bar from 6 to 9pm

Saturday 
Strangers and Liars will be playing from 7 to 10pm at The Edinboro Lake Resort

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Here’s to Next Time

There’s only so many things you pay to have repaired in car before you give up on it. It can be hard to give up on a long time vehicle, but once you’ve changed the brakes, the tires, the power steering unit, the radiator, the upholstery and half of the engine, when does it become a completely different car?

I bring this up, because this week’s song of the week is one that wasn’t just changed, it was salvaged. There are plenty of older songs of mine that I had given up on playing live, but getting the chance go back and retool these songs is part of the reason I enjoy this on going project.

The song “Here’s to Next Time”, even after the make over, is still all about the same thing. A college relationship gone wrong, and in the aftermath, wondering if it was for the best even though it may have been a messy end. A sort of personal “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” minus the prolific edge of Bob Dylan.

T

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The Old Beach Road

I realize I did a post with a beach side theme to it not but a few weeks ago. But with this gloriousness of the recent weather, I couldn’t help but throw another one out there.

You have a job here listener. You’ll notice a very repetitive theme to this song. Should it ever be recorded in a more professional capacity, it will be a group vocals affair. So get your practice in now, listener, on those “down on the old beach road” hooks. Because it could be I call on you when the time comes. Now go enjoy some sunshine!

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Letters

Originally title “Letters We Don’t Care to Write”, it was shortened to just “Letters” after finding new life as a Strangers and Liars song.

Pretty cut and dry, this song came from a darker place. I was hitting  a lot of the frustrations one runs into while starting out as a live performing. “People sit there in their five seat concert, for all they know the music never played” sums up where the nerve was struck. I was used to people coming out to my shows so I could watch them ignore me five feet away from my face. At the time I took it personally, and it took sometime to figure out how to get past that.

There are of course, still nights when a full room will be without applause at the end of a song, and it can always be deterring. That’s why songs like this exist to help get through.

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