Who Loves You

“Against” is not necessarily a negative word. Nor is “close.” I was thinking about this when I jotted down the first verse of this song months ago. You can lean against someone for comfort or protection or just to feel cozy. You can sit close, draw close, in love; rather than close your mind or your heart or your door. The hard s or the soft s, the adjective/adverb or the verb – they all come from the same Latin root.

The prompt for week 48 of #songaweek2021 was “tell me everything.” When I sat down to write my song last week, I revisited that first verse idea and then looked up the prompt for development ideas. I wanted each verse to set up some sense of juxtaposition – things that feel at odds that actually aren’t in a true love relationship (which is not at all limited to romantic ones). So the prompt helped me write verse two.

As I was playing the first two verses the song felt a lot like a lullaby. The first verse felt reminiscent of late nights holding my second baby, who would wake up crying hard and long and simply would not be comforted. I ached for him to just relax into my arms, against the warm loving body of his mother, but he’d twist and fight until he wore himself out.

I can be that baby too, with the people closest to me. I don’t want to open up and share my pain and mess with you. I just want to blame you for it, pick a fight to use up some of this bad energy I’m feeling.

Verse two describes the kind of loving conversation I think crying babies like me most need – a listening ear and heart, a recognition that you can never completely understand but that you want to know me. “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” said Simone Weil.

The juxtaposition in the first lines of the last verse may feel harsh on the first listen. But we all know it’s true, in any and every relationship – and I think in the most deeply loving ones we find gentle honesty about it. The song ends with a reminder that morphs into a question that is also about paying attention.

Lean up right against me
You don’t need to fight against me
Come close, don’t close yourself away

Tell me everything
You don’t need to speak a word
I know, I’ll never understand

I am here for you
Until I am gone away
You know I’m not the only one
Who loves you . . .

Out With It

Here’s a song for the beloved conflict-fearing member of a relationship. It’s not an anthem for the general public. We’re living in a moment that rewards or at least amplifies hostile venting in our public spaces, both physical and virtual, and that isn’t what I’m singing about here.

This is about the person who fears conflict, and so keeps to themself about difficult things, unresolved hurts, unrevealed personal truths, for fear of rejection or causing pain, or whatever other reasons. It’s about the value of opening up about these things in the context of a supportive relationship. I’ve been on both sides of this and I’ll bet most people have in some way, at some time. We’ve all been the person holding back an important but painful truth from a loved one, its persistent psychic presence growing heavier as we keep trying to manage it alone. We’ve all been the loved one who feels something is wrong and begs for openness, or has no idea something is wrong until the painful truth comes out in an often more painful and unexpected moment.

Also, would you believe it, I followed the prompt once again! (Week 45 #songaweek2021, “out of sight”). The video is a 1927 instructional video about using a dial telephone. I didn’t have much time for recording or filming this week but I much prefer posting songs to YouTube rather than Soundcloud so I wanted something visual to go with it. And the experience of talking on the telephone has always made me nervous, something like discussing difficult things with loved ones.

If there’s something you’ve got to say by God let’s hear it
Chances are it’s not as horrible as what could happen if we don’t
If you keep on trying to hide your troubled spirit
It’ll cut you like a broken bottle settling in your soul

Out with it, out with it
It’ll do you good
Out with it, out with it
It’ll do you good

I can’t guarantee that I’ll be understanding
But you’ve got to give me something to go on if I’m going to try
Time has ancient ways of making sense of
The words we heard in ragged moments that have passed us by

Out with it . . .

Here’s the truth, I love you and I’m with you
Nothing you can say hurts worse than finding I’ve been left behind
I know it’s hard to bring out in the open
But keep it out of sight, it might drive you out of your mind

Out with it . . .

She Ain’t Gonna Be My Baby Anymore

My eldest child turned 18 this past week, so naturally my song for the week needed to be for her. Her dad Nathan and I took a walk together that we used for a cowriting session, which we extended when we returned home, and within a couple hours we had this very country song. Fun to have Nathan on the lead vocals this time. He wanted a song that expressed both loss and gain, grief and pride. I think we got it!

For better and worse she’s always been my girl
Ever since we met she’s been my world
But things have been changing for a long long time
Now I look back and I can see the signs
Something’s going on that I can’t ignore
She ain’t gonna be my baby anymore

She’s tall and proud and lovely as can be
She’s all dressed up but I know it’s not for me
There’s a spring in her step and a charge in the air
She flashes a smile and tosses her hair
She grabs the keys and walks out the door
She ain’t gonna be my baby anymore

There goes my baby
There goes my girl
There she goes shaking
My whole wide world
I just want to hold her but I know she can’t stay
She’s gonna leave and I won’t stand in her way
Where she’s headed I don’t know for sure
But she ain’t gonna be my baby anymore

I’m looking at her but she’s looking beyond me
Out where the big blue sky meets the sea
She’s got stars in her eyes, I’ve got a lump in my throat
She’s ready for the tide to carry her boat
And I’m crying a river back here on the shore
She ain’t gonna be my baby anymore

There goes my baby . . .

She’s shaking me awake from my sweet dreams
The sun is rising and she wants me to see
I never loved her more than I do tonight
I’m keeping it together with all my might
And I’m picking my heart up off the floor
She ain’t gonna be my baby anymore

There goes my baby . . .

Make Your Way Home (cowrite with Laurie and David Easterling)

Now this was fun! The Easterlings are a couple in Tennessee who I met through my songaweek.org group, and they are prolific songwriters. Just about every week they post multiple new songs they’ve written with other people. The day of my Zoom session with them, David had already done another cowrite earlier that day.

In college I was part of a drama team that worked together to write and perform farces of well-known musicals, and that was some of the most fun I’ve had in my life! But since then, I’ve done very little collaborative writing. Being introverted, I feel most free in my writing process when I’m completely alone. As in no one else in the house. Which hasn’t happened much this year, but I’m grateful for the tiny studio Nathan built me in the basement, that helps me feel isolated enough to get creative.

David and Laurie were wonderful to work with. Our songaweek group has been doing monthly Zoom open mics all year so I’ve gotten to know them a bit through that already, and as I expected, our cowriting session felt like spending time with extended family or good neighbors. We had limited time but we pulled it off and wrote this song in about an hour, using the week 8 #songaweek2021 prompt “change please.” I really enjoyed the different feel of writing a song with other people. Always good to get a different perspective and a little glimpse into someone else’s creative process. Not something I will probably do regularly, but what I love about writing a song a week is that I feel free to try new things because everything isn’t riding on this week – there are always more songs to write!

You can find out more about David and his music at his website http://www.davideasterling.com.

Oh, and the picture for the song is a fairy house my daughter Luthien built on the banks of the Mississippi in summer 2019.

Please change your mind 
Don’t leave me behind
I was desperate to say
But I left it unsaid
The words wailed in my head
You’re leaving today  

May you never be sad enough to give up
Or too busy to explore the unknown
Remember no matter how far you go
You can always make your way home

I’ve been waiting so long 
To sing my own song
Can’t stay in this place
Stretch my wings and try
To see where I can fly
Cast off my old ways

May you never be sad enough to give up
Or too busy to explore the unknown
Remember no matter how far you go
You can always make your way home

The road is always there
Time may not be fair
The same road that leads away
Leads back home someday

May you never be sad enough to give up
Or too busy to explore the unknown
Remember no matter how far you go
You can always make your way home

Come Home

Friends! I’m still here. I’m very much here. All the time. You know what I mean, cause it’s likely you, too, are spending more time at home than you’re used to. And I’m used to quite a lot.

I’ve still been writing a song a week – started up again last fall, but haven’t been posting them on my blog much (or at all in 2020 it seems!). You can find them all here – soundcloud.com/julia-tindall-bloom/tracks and here – youtube.com/juliatindallbloom.

It would make a whole lot of sense for me to get back to blogging regularly again right now. I just might do it! We shall see . . .

But today I wanted to share this song I wrote a few weeks ago, which a fellow song-a-week-er beautifully embellished. My original recording was just vocal and guitar. Nik Newark (www.niknewarkmusic.com) took that original recording and added an orchestra. I wrote the song before things in the US were shutting down and “shelter in place” started to become normal life for so many here. In fact I wasn’t totally sure what the song was about or why I felt so driven to write it. But listening to Nik’s version today, I find it very comforting, and I think we all could use some comfort right now, so I wanted to share it with you:

When it feels like you can’t do anything right
and you would cut your hand off
just to spite your fist
When all you know is everything’s gone wrong
you try to keep your head up
you’re fighting to exist

Come over here child
Come home to me
Come on back now baby
Come home to me

When you hold out just to watch it burn down
and everything is ash now
dust to dust
When you’ve waited all your life to make it
and everybody’s gone now
dust to dust

Come over here child
Come home to me
Come on back now baby
Come home to me

When you were quite sure you knew just where things stood
and then they just lay down
and died

Come over here child
Come home to me
Come on back now baby
Come home to me