Saturday, January 31, 2009

Songs with Names

Michelle, my Belle.... Suite Judy Blue Eyes... Daniel...Sarah.....Penny Lane?.... Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds...

All songs written with the actual name of the person. Now if songs are suppose to have universal appeal, why do these all work.

I'm going to listen to this iMix a bunch times to make sure, but I believe it's because they tell a story. I welcome you to try the same thing. Go thru your songs, and pick all the titles that reference a name... and listen to their stories.

Ok I'm back and if you can learn anything from studying good songs, let's look at the songs I picked:

Angela: I believe this is a deep friendship between two women. I don't read lesbian into every song sung by a woman to another one... who knows... but the passion is deep, I also love Angela after this song and wish to see her bright blue eyes.

Julia... boy I wrote a whole blog about this adopted niece who is actually named Angela. It's written in the personal 1st person.

Mary... sung in a 3rd person... great story about a person growing out of her small Christian town.

Song for June... yes... a song for June Carter Cash... if I could die and be reborn as Slaid Cleaves I know that I would be in heaven. It's written 1st person but feels like it isn't.

Sweet Louise... yes it's another 1st person but this guy is from the poorer or rough side of town.

Belle Star... Ok I knew by looking at the song that this one wasn't about Belle, there is another great one written in saga form by the greatest one Woody Guthrie... this one uses Belle Star as a comparison to a duet by Emmy and Marc... what a wonderful song.

Amelia... this is a first person song.. ."My name is Amelia..."... I'm not sure if Lucy wrote this or not, but wow, it's a story that hasn't died in over the 40 listens that I've given it. She's old, she tells her past, and her love for a young woman who has the spunk she grew up with... This is a crafted song... one that all aspiring song writers should aspire to.

Lovely Jamie... traditional ballad done is first person ... Lissa's voice is haunting in the song. She posted a video of this song mainly in the shadows. I'd love her to sing it to me, just that way.

Young Charlotte... A narrative about love affair.. Again this is from traditional poetry... I could see all in the horse buggies, horses farting all the way.. sorry I couldn't help myself.

Rachel's Song.. .a narrative about a runaway girl.

Julie... narrative about a woman needing to be free but working within society and her fit.

Ignatius.. I thought this was about a person but I'm not sure exactly sure what it's about beside love and separation. Hope can sing me a love through a song anytime she wants.

Diane... this one is funny because Heather told a story at a house concert that part of the song is about how a real Diane abandoned her in South Boston for some reason (lover/argument) so she wrote a song about her, and killed her off.

Liza Jane... Oh Liza... you were my toughest love... great song that sounds traditional.

Sweat pea... no name.. just a nice lover knicknamed Sweet Pea.

Natasha ... Like the Angela above women love women without all the baggage.

Barefoot Mary... great idea... use another name as a comparison to draw the feeling that others can relate to .. "I'll be your barefoot Mary"... Allison job well done.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Write to write... something good may come of it.

It was in March and it was a weird day. First I stayed home until I went to watch Dustin do a recital at highschool in front of a judge. Then off to work, a thirty minute drive. Then I left early because of snow, only to get home to find out that Dustin's violin lesson was still on and I needed to get BACK in the car and drive 20 minutes the other way. While sitting in the car this dark poem was written. You can find in it the noisy high school, the gifted musicians practicing in their silent rooms, and you can see that I was a little ticked about something during the day. Well I kind of liked it so I posted it to my DaveZeman MySpace blog, and Kim Davidson really liked it... before the night was done, she sent me the first demo. Just about floored me... taking the last stanza and making it a chorus; wow I never thought of that.

Lori has never liked the first verse, but I did finally explain to her my thoughts. While it is true that Romeo and Juliet truly die because of their love, the blessing is that they acted out the play. Their love wasn't just silent glances. How many times do true lovers stop themselves for ever sharing themselves with the other because they know, "It's not destined"... "She's too rich"... "I'm from the other side"... oh the stories are written about the lovers who try, but I'm going to guess most just let themselves be turned like the screwball they are.

The rest of the piece is really told in words that spin around really what was going thru my head. I don't write like this often, and think I should do more sometimes.

To the title... write to write... if you think it's a poem and it's done, maybe someone else will think otherwise.

Opposite Destiny

The story of Romeo and Juliet just ain’t true.
Lies perpetuated to give false hope to a few.
Opposites may be attracted but they aren’t destined.
In fact they are lucky to even get mentioned.

I walk these streets daily and see the races unite
The Goths aren’t the only who choose to isolate
The voice of the crowd mumbles into noisy chaos.
The thoughts of the few independent are crushed.

I go along walking to find a pocket of a chosen few.
Those young gifted talents still play in silence too.
Is this nature’s destiny, a dumbing of the culture?
Are we just dead meat on the block of the butcher?

SHOUT, SCREAM at the top of your lungs you fool.
But you won’t, because you have been schooled.
Act the part of a door knob and be turned again.
You’re where you are, and where you’re destined.

Lyrics by Dave Schipper © 2007 Rose Riversongs
Music by Kim Davidson © 2007

Now that you are interested... go buy it for a mere $.99. ;-)

Dave Zeman - Gypsy Soul

She made a better recording of it, and passed me a new one with her and her guitar... I added the rest of the instruments. I think it's wonderfully dark.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Find inspiration everywhere

Ok easier said than done? Many times I find myself out of the habit of writing to write. If you aren't writing, don't expect to have inspiration. It's kind of stupid but I find it's rare that inspiration slaps me or wakes me up to write something. Oh yes that has happened, but most of my writing, and many other songwriters that I've listened to, have said inspiration comes from connecting the dots that are already in your head. So sit down, relax and just write. If nothing good comes from it, stop, save, and do it again later.

I need to get back to my lunch haunt for writing which is the local Taco John. I can take my lap top after eating a meal spiced with their Super Green Hot sauce and let the brain juices flow. I wrote "Grace" there and I wrote "Drift Away" there among countless other piece, fragments and poems. Now "Drift Away" made it on the cd partly because I loved how the music came around, but the dots to connect.

It was about the time Lori was day care mom for Rob and Sonya's boys. Great people, great boys. Somewhere along the line I must have asked Sonya about how two Phy Ed teachers get together. Well the story is sketchy in my mind now but back then it was clear, they knew each other but it was for friends that pushed them together. Well that in my head and watching two parents fret over their children at the Taco Johns, and a song was born.

Of course all songs should touch every one on a part of their own life... don't you remember all those things too?

Again... my pet peeve... the story progresses through the song, and think it's truly only three short verses long.

Ok now I've gone and made myself hungry..... til next time.


Drift Away by Dave Schipper © 2006 Rose Riversongs

White roses and a glass of zin
Take me back to where we began
A small café with a deck outdoor
With so many laughs to explore

Don’t you find it easier to drift away?
Let your mind replay a perfect day.
Would the same words be in play?
Free yourself and just drift away

Friends behind the scene wrote the plot
A chance meeting we would think not
We Both remember when we first met
It took two years to get the date set

Today the café is Taco Johns
A quick lunch with our little ones.
A few words within wild foray
And maybe a dream to drift away

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Paraphrase a song you like

I think I got this assignment or idea from the Pierce Pettis workshop or handout. Either way, it works like this. Take a song you like... lay out the word and line for line (at least at the beginning) paraphrase what is being said in a different way.

One of the things you'll learn is how a successful song is written, and you'll off course sharpen your storytelling skills.

Here is one that I did that you'll recognize the song... or maybe not?

Sugary Love by Dave Schipper © 2005 Rose Riversongs

I lost track of you sometime during the storm
lost in the crowd, probably headed back to the dorm
Wasn’t just the tunes I heard, repeating the same few words
A petite eighteen and giggling though the night
The twinkle in your eyes yeah your outta site
You wear momma tight blue jeans, man your eyes are green

You’re my sugary love, a spice from above
You’re an angel a queen, you know just what I mean
You got me so mixed up, You know I am in love (2x)

We’re a trouble to them all, when we walk down the street
Strange looks and stares, from the people we meet
It was the tunes we heard, repeating the same few words
Grizzly hands and soft ones meet’n stand out in a crowd
When the self righteous speak, we turn down the sound
We just young and old, singing Elvis pure and gold
(This line can substitude Elvis for Beatles, Eagles, Green Day could do it 4x?)

Of course after I got started the story changed, and that's the beauty behind the exercise.... didn't recognize the song?

Hey, where did we go
Days when the rains came ?
Down in the hollow
Playing a new game,
Laughing and a-running, hey, hey,
Skipping and a-jumping
In the misty morning fog with
Our, our hearts a-thumping
And you, my brown-eyed girl,

You, my brown-eyed girl.
Whatever happened
To tuesday and so slow
Going down to the old mine with a
Transistor radio.
Standing in the sunlight laughing
Hide behind a rainbows wall,
Slipping and a-sliding
All along the waterfall
With you, my brown-eyed girl,
You, my brown-eyed girl.

Do you remember when we used to sing
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah
Just like that
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah
La dee dah.

So hard to find my way
Now that Im all on my own.
I saw you just the other day,
My, how you have grown!
Cast my memory back there, lord,
Sometime Im overcome thinking about
Making love in the green grass
Behind the stadium
With you, my brown-eyed girl,
You, my brown-eyed girl.

Do you remember when we used to sing
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah
Laying in the green grass
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah
Dee dah dee dah dee dah dee dah dee dah dee
Sha la la la la la la la la la la la la
Dee dah la dee dah la dee dah la

Rewrite to an old folk melody

Countless hymns have been written to old melodies and Bob Dylan & Woody Guthrie constantly borrowed from folk songs, so why not you or me.

This summer I joined Lori on many of her jewelry trips to the farmers market. With the price of gas, I didn't just help her setup and take off like in previous years. So I took either a guitar and/or a dulclimer to play instrumentally while people browsed. Of course the dulcimer was always questioned, "What's that?" But growing out of the experience was again my love of the folk melodies that I had learned over the years. Flowers of the Forest was one I learned from a Joe Hickersonn LP called Drive Dull Care Away. Joe is such a historian and blessed with a voice that not everyone warms too... so I thought, sounds familiar to my situation. When I went to sing the song, this is what I rediscovered.

I've heard the singing, at the ewe-milking,
Lassies a-singing before dawn of the day;
But now they are moaning on every milking-green;
"The Flowers of the Forest are all withered away".

Sorrow and woe for the order sent our lads to the Border!
The English for once, by guile won the day,
The Flowers of the Forest, that always fought the foremost,
The pride of our land lies cold in the clay.

I've heard the singing, at the ewe-milking,
Lassies a-singing before dawn of the day;
But now they are moaning on every milking-green;
"The Flowers of the Forest are all withered away".

Suffice to say, I thought it could be rephrased. Joe described the song and some of the odd words, and it helped me form new phrasing of some of the old, plus I added the storyline of modern soldiers coming home dead to pregnant wifes.

So let's today we pray for Flowers of the Forest:

I heard them laughing, at the sun’s setting
Young girls giggling before the dawn of day.
Now they are sobbing on green grass a growing
The flowers of the forest are laying to rest.

Once they had futures, and love a waiting.
Fathers and Mothers, a life to enjoy.
Then came the call, a service to them all.
A noble cause written, they stood tall and proud.

I heard them laughing, at the sun’s setting
Young girls giggling before the dawn of day.
Now they are sobbing on green grass a growing
The flowers of the forest are laying to rest.

Midnight songs a playing, shots and beer flowing
Smiles all a plenty, til the night is done.
Xcept for the lady, the moon cold and lonely
Thoughts of her flower, are growing inside.

Justice for the lowly, help for the helpless.
Brothers and sisters, a hand to them all.
Now there is silence, though debate rages loudly
These flowers of the forest, victims to the gall.

I heard them laughing, at the sun’s setting
Young girls giggling before the dawn of day.
Now they are sobbing on green grass a growing
The flowers of the forest are laying to rest.

The song made it on the cd but only after Nichola Maria O'Donnell took me up on my request to sing lead. Boy is her voice right for the song. It was after she did this that I was pushed to finish the cd and post it through as a digital release.

Research the song... yep I probably should have done that : HA

I got those from WikiPedia Hey someone should add mine!

So what do you think? My version is pretty true to the original feeling of the song that has become a funeral melody done on bagpipes.... none on my song... just a wonderful woman's voice.

Now go out and try one yourself.