Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 84 - Writing a Country Song

I have never written a Country song. Honestly, this is something I never thought I would do. As someone that generally dislikes Country music, I have a hard enough time listening to it, let alone writing music in the style. While I know my years of experience playing and creating music would likely make the process relatively easy, there was nothing about writing a Country song that appealed to me. The simple chord progressions, the twang, the focus on trucks, booze, and heartache; it just wasn’t for me. As a result, I avoided the style in my previous writing efforts, and I had no intention of making the effort anytime soon.

Of course, in the back of my mind I knew writing a Country song was one of those things I wouldn’t be able to fully gauge until I tried it. After all, I love writing music of many kinds, so I knew there was likely some aspect of writing a Country song I could get into. Realizing I shouldn’t “knock it until I tried it”, I placed writing a Country song on my “I have never...” list with a little reservation. I figured if the right opportunity and inspiration came along I would give it a try sometime during this year, but I wasn’t banking on it happening.

To my surprise, that outlook changed recently following my brother’s bachelor party. After the celebration, the idea of my brother getting married started settling in. I was a few months away from seeing one of my brothers tie the knot, and he was the happiest I had ever seen him. As a result, I started thinking about what it all meant to Abe, to his fiancĂ©e Missy, and to both of our families. We were going to be able to share their happiness and to see them start their life together as husband and wife. It was more than a “special event” in our lives. It was the next step in something that is meant to last.

This perspective gave me pause and made me think of the best ways I could help Abe and Missy celebrate their wedding day. As I thought through my options I knew I wanted it to be something special that they could carry with them for a long time. Then it dawned on me. They both love Country music, I can write songs, and writing a Country song is something I have never done before. Following that revelation, I knew I needed to set aside time to write a Country song for the first time. I had my motivation and I had plenty of inspiration; all I needed was a little time to make the song a reality.

My workstation for the day
The trusty notebook...

That opportunity came today when cool, wet weather provided the perfect excuse to hunker down and write. In turn, I woke this morning and immediately set to work writing. I started by recalling all of the stories Abe had told me about he and Missy meeting, about their happiness, about how he felt his life was changing for the better as a result of her presence, and about how he came to the conclusion it was time to ask for her hand. One by one, the stories popped into my head and set my hands to work on my computer and a nearby notebook. At first, I jotted down ideas and looked for a theme I could build around. I knew I needed a solid Country hook, and I knew it needed to be memorable. Running over my notes my pen fell on one line of text, “It can be like this.” They were words Abe said in jest the first time he and Missy met, and they were words we often recalled as we talked about their life together. I knew that was it. I knew I had the core of the song.

Getting there
Over the next four hours I continued hammering away at my keyboard and scribbling about ideas for melodies. Following long periods of thought and incremental progress, the song’s chorus came together, which was followed by the construction of verse lyrics and melodies. As I played through the pieces of the song that I had written up to that point, a sudden burst of creativity drove me straight into a bridge that opened the door to the song’s end. To my surprise, the process was as enjoyable as any other writing process, even if I had to use some baritone vocal progressions and a little bit of twang. In time, I found myself before a nearly completed song that was missing only the first line of the first verse. I sat and thought for a few minutes before another one of my brother’s remarks popped in my head. A comment Abe made at a family gathering just after he proposed kept replaying in my mind as I thought. “I’m a lucky man... I know it.” I remembered him saying as he sat across me at my mother’s dining room table. With one quick sweep of my fingers I put his words in the first line of the song before I leaned back and looked over my work. That was it. I knew the song was finished.

Almost finished

I learned today that writing a Country song isn’t anything I expected it to be, and I mean that in the best way possible. I won’t spend time rehashing my thoughts on the experience or talking about how I feel about the song. I’ll just post the content of the song here and look forward to the first time Abe and Missy get to hear it. Here’s to your story and your happiness, Abe and Missy. From the bottom of my heart, I love you both.

For Abe and Missy

It Can Be Like This
I’m a lucky man I know it, to have this love in my life
I try to retrace how I got here, but I’ve blurred all the lines
And I know I almost lost you before this heart could tell
When that day at the racetrack I made a fool of myself
But you kept right after me with no end in sight 
Little did I know what you had in mind

A million kisses at night as I’m holding you close 
10,000 petals with cards telling you I love you the most
A thousand tears from our eyes when things are hit or miss
You know, darling I told you, “It can be like this”

Here I am still waiting, trying to make heads or tails
Of this life that I’m living, of the story I can tell
And I know by your tone I need to figure it out
To put my cards on the table so we don’t fall apart
But I’m reminded of the little things that make this real
When it feels like we’ve lost it and we’re heading off the rails

A million kisses at night as I’m holding you close
10,000 petals with cards telling you I love you the most
A thousand tears from our eyes when things are hit or miss
You know, darling I told you, “It can be like this”

Don’t you tell me it’s fine
Don’t you tell me it’s right
I know there’s a lot I have to do to make this alright
But I swear I’ll keep on giving for the rest of my life

A million kisses at night as I’m holding you close
10,000 petals with cards telling you I love you the most
Wiping those tears from your eyes when things are hit or miss
You know, darling I told you, “It can be like this"
It can be like this
It can be like this

Now I stand before you, ready to take the dive
And there’s no place else I’d rather be than by your side

Verse - C Em7 Am G
Chorus Transition - F C B/Csus2
Chorus - F C Am F, C Am F G
Bridge - G Am C, F C B/Csus2

IHN BONUS! Puppies in a guitar case?!?

Yes, puppies in a guitar case!!!!!

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