songwriting

Reflections on One Love, One Year

“A bit of advice
Given to a young Native American
At the time of his initiation:
As you go the way of life,
You will see a great chasm. Jump.
It is not as wide as you think.”
― Joseph Campbell
One year ago I was standing at the foothills of a mountain. What was before me looked unscalable but for many reasons I knew I had to start my climb. A song a week was a daunting task indeed. I remember being asked early on if I thought I would make it and to be honest I wasn't quite sure. I often joked that "by around March" there was a chance I would be "licking the walls."

To my surprise, with inspiration around every corner and fueled by my love for writing and producing, after hundreds of hours stuck inside while my friends were out enjoying life, mentally taking the challenge one week at a time, I reached my goal. One love song a week, 52 in total, written and produced - for an entire year.

I learned a lot about love, a lot about myself, a lot about songwriting. I learned that even when you think the well is dry - if you push through - there is often something beautiful just on the other side of your resistance.

Many people have asked "What now?" First, over the next couple of months I am going to be reorganizing this site and while "One Love, One Year" will be a part of it, it will also include new music, in-depth reflections on my songs and songwriting and much more. I hope you'll stay with me for the next leg of this journey. I will be also doing some regional touring in the southeast, producing and writing for other artists and exploring several professional options.

Many thanks to all of you who have made this trek with me. I literally couldn't have done it without your support and feedback. I sincerely hope you've connected emotionally with these songs and maybe even worked through some of your own "stuff" because of them. Or... at the very least you've been entertained.

So now after a long and often difficult climb, here I stand at the top of the mountain. It is not the end of the hike, however. I've not written my final song; this is only the beginning. Here on this cliff I only have two options - retreat and be satisfied with my accomplishments... or jump. I don't know exactly where I'll land - how the future is going to unfold or where this music will lead - but I'll be damned if I've come this far to stop now. It's time to jump.

3... 2... 1...

Song #18: Maps

maps.jpg
“We can’t know what’s going to happen. We can just try to figure it out as we go along." - Roger Sullivan

PLAY:

LYRICS:

Black-ribbon road is stretching out

The tank's at two-o-clock; it's getting late

Sundown glow ahead of us

A burning torch that guides and lights our way

The desert wind, your summer dress:

I pretend I'm not staring at your legs

And as the headlights rise like fireflies

It's hard to hide the smile upon my face

 

Worn maps show us the way back

But not where we're at

I don't think it matters now.

Right here: bare feet on the dash

That way that she laughs

All we need's right here on this side of the glass

 

We could drive for miles and miles

but we both know that we're already there

This journey is the destination

so where we end up I don't really care

Let Me Tell You A Story...

One of the cool things about this project is the ability to be a storyteller. In writing 52 songs over the course of a year, there's no possible way for them to all be "about me." It's true that some of my personal experiences will color my writing, but I look at each song as narrative. Each will have it's own characters, it's unique perspective, it's own rules: in essence, each composition is a microcosmic universe. When you read a novel, the author may have his or her voice, but the contents of the novel are separate. My angle on songwriting this next year will be similar in tone.

A friend of mine recently told me that he heard a musician say, "When I found out that every song I write doesn't have to be about me, it changed everything." So I look forward to stepping out of my own shoes and into those I've never been in before - those of friends, of archetypes, of myth, of people I see around me - and to see what can be uncovered as it relates to the topic of love.

I'll be posting my next song (or should I say 'story') tomorrow night. It's a bit of a doozy but I think it turned out beautifully. As my 6-year-old daughter said, "That's the saddest song I've ever heard. Turn it off, Daddy, I'm going to cry."  So I guess you have THAT to look forward to... ;-)