Somebody Loves You

The crooners sang “you’re nobody till somebody loves you,” and that can sound really quite heartless when you think about it.

But I’ve been thinking about other things lately, things that have influenced the writing of this song.

“Nothing stands alone” is this year’s topic for Richard Rohr’s daily meditations, which I read most days.

“We are all in this together. We are all in this alone,” sang Pierce Pettis in “Just Like Jim Brown.”

Every morning I roll out of bed and spend about 45 minutes doing exercises for a slightly arthritic knee, while listening to James Finley’s “Turning to the Mystics” podcast. Probably most of the reason I listen is for Finley’s voice and presence, and I know that things he’s said and ways he’s said them have contributed to this song.

The music came from a melody and chord progression I had rejected on my way to writing “Remember December.” I liked it enough to save the idea for future reference, and this week that musical idea and the #songaweek2022 weekly prompt (“standing in the doorway”) gave me enough to go on to pull this song together.

Frustrating technical difficulties with sharing this video here, but if you click on it you should be able to watch normally. It is more than a gray screen!

There must be something I could say to you
There must be something more that I could do
After all we’re all in this alone
Standing in the doorway leaving home

Somebody
Somebody
Somebody loves you

You’ve got the freedom and you’ve got the right
So go on and be the one to shine the light
After all we’re all a little scared
Standing at the bottom of the stairs

Somebody . . . loves you

And you’re not going anywhere without that love

After all we’re nothing on our own
Everything keeps breathing through our bones

Somebody . . . loves you

The Tyger (William Blake poem set to music)

Well here I go making another cat video! It might be my way of dealing with the fact that I love cats but my beloved partner is allergic and so it’s best for us not to have one in our house.

I’ve always loved this William Blake poem and have tried a couple previous times to set it to music. This week I succeeded (in my estimation). Would be so fun to have Nathan (the aforementioned allergy sufferer) add a wall of guitars but his (non-music) work life has gotten busier so he doesn’t often have the time.

So I used this little hack he taught me – I recorded my acoustic guitar onto two separate tracks – one from a condenser microphone for the acoustic sound, and one from a line plugged into the guitar. I then added my recording software’s default electric amp sound to the guitar line track, which gave me an electric guitar sound to mix along with the acoustic sound. I tried to mark this visually by flipping the video of the “electric” guitar as that track came up higher in the mix. (Flipping also looked cool when I overlaid it with the bass video.)

The video also incorporates some public domain artworks of tigers, which I’ll list in order of their appearance below the words of the poem (below the video). I found all of the art on wikiart.org.

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

“Tiger’s Head” (Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1874)
“Tiger and Snake” (Eugene Delacroix, 1862)
“Tiger and Lion Hunting” (Peter Paul Rubens, 1615 or 1616)
“A Young Tiger Playing With Its Mother” (Eugene Delacroix, 1831)
“Tiger” (Ito Jakuchu, 1755)
“Tiger” (Utagawa Kunisada, 1830)
“Tiger” (Eugene Delacroix, 1830)

January Love Song

Cat videos! Why didn’t I think of that ages ago? I didn’t feel like filming the actual recording of this week’s song so I did some hunting on publicdomainreview.org and found this adorable film from around 1945. I fully expect that my video will go viral because, did I mention, cat video!

This is my first song for #songaweek2022! It was a difficult one to title because there’s no repeating hook – every little two-line chorus is different words. If anyone has a different title idea I’d love to hear it. Titling songs is not always so easy.

You’ve got a way about you
That I think I’d like to go
Ooh when you take me to you
Time takes us in a whole other flow

I can’t say how it feels to you
But it feels to me like we might be in love

Love is a happy apple
Tough as a bowling ball
Sweet as a baby’s babble
Right as the rain that finally falls

This after all is all we are
And we are all we’re after all this time

We’ve gone so far my darling
I’m so far gone with you
Stay with me till the morning
Let the minutes spread out and fatten around us

I can’t say what the future holds
But I’m holding on with you for this dear life

Go Boldly Into the Night

This song started because I have theological issues with that old song “I’ll Fly Away.” And then in the course of being written, it picked up an allusion to that Dylan Thomas poem you probably read in high school.

It’s my last song for #songaweek2021. I did miss one week (or was it two?) because I was on summer vacation and I’m proud of myself for being okay with that (as opposed to being okay with being proud of myself for that).

I’m gonna fly but I won’t fly away
I’ll keep soaring over every blessed thing
And when you feel the wind in your hair
Remember I carry you upon my wings

I’m gonna die but I won’t die away
I’ll keep singing over every precious thing
And when you feel the music inside
Don’t try to keep quiet, let the anthem ring

Go boldly into the night
Death only takes your life

Go boldly into the night
Death only takes your life

Time’s gonna come for every last one
Finally forever to let our selves go
And when we feel our last breath escape
We fall on the grace of all we do not know

Go boldly into the night
Death only takes your life

Don’t worry when good stories end
Love always comes again

Christmas ’21

Well it’s been a busy day of holiday preparations but I kept my priorities straight and recorded my song for this week 51 of #songaweek2021. If you look closely you can see the flour on my sleeve from the pie-making marathon I had just finished.

I dedicated this song to American health care workers and educators because I’ve been thinking of them often lately in these continuing difficult times of pandemic life.

May we each and all find at least a moment of peace this holiday season, and share some good will with one another.

Merry Christmas, it’s good to feel you near me in this dark and deep
Happy new year, let’s be the resolution that we want to keep

Sing for everything we’ve hoped and held
Make room for everything to be lived and felt

Season’s greetings, there’s got to be some joy for everyone to find
Happy holidays, we need to find some time that we can all unwind

Sing for everything we’ve hoped and held
Make room for everything to be lived and felt

Peace on earth, I still believe it’s possible to get along
Good will to you, the kind that sinks in deeper when you pass it on

Sing for everything we’ve hoped and held
Make room for everything to be lived and felt