Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Control Me, #1 - The Music

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Control Me

#1 - The Music

Drivers everywhere are guilty of one of a few things:
1 - singing at the top of their lungs to the radio and looking like idiots to everyone outside
2 - tapping drum lines on the steering wheel, dashboard, center console and/or driver side door
3 - humming/singing bass lines or other melodic musical lines from a song.

As a driver, I am often guilty of all of these, simultaneously.

More often than not, it is no song that anyone outside of the car would recognize.  I am writing it as I do it.

That is how Control Me began.

I had dropped off my girlfriend (who is now my wife), Kerrie, at work for the evening, and had decided to stay around the area to pick her up in only a few hours.  I was in a part of town where I could hear loud music emanating from other cars so loud, it invaded my vehicle. Not really wanting to hear that music, or more appropriately said, roar coming into my ears, I started singing.

And tapping..

Anything to create a different song in my head.

And that’s what it was.  A different song completely.

I had begun to tap the tempo and started to sing the bass line to Control Me.  After a couple passes through, it made sense to me that there was a melody that fit, so I added the melody, but still no words.

Then came the words.  How they came into my mind is for the next installment.  Suffice it to say, when they came, they came on strong and I started to sing at the top of my lungs, and I must have looked like an idiot to anyone who cared to look into my car.

Yes, indeed.  I was doing all 3 things simultaneously, and it would not be the first time, either!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Walk Upon The Water, #2 - The Lyrics

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Walk Upon The Water

#2 - The Lyrics 

Honestly, most songs have a lyric and a chord pattern as its inception with me.  Such is the case of Walk Upon The Water.

As I’ve already written, I was unhappy (again) and mostly it came from never feeling quite good enough for my ex-wife.  But, it’s a strange thing, the way this worked. In some ways and on some days, I was perfect to her, and then on others I couldn’t do anything right and it seemed she was trying to make me into the perfect man.

That is where Walk Upon The Water comes from.

I know I am not a perfect man, and quite honestly, don’t like trying to be.  It’s WAY too hard. I’d much rather be a real man. An honest man. The good, bad and ugly all out in the open.

So, on the day this song was written, as a sketch, pretty much in the form as you hear it to today, I was simply trying to say that “If I walked upon the water, many days from now, I could never tell you that I do not know how to…”  And that final line is really the heart cry of the whole thing “I drown in my sorrow that I do not know how to walk upon the water.”

In other words, no man can be perfect, don’t try to make him. It’s too much and it will kill him, or your relationship, or both, eventually.

After the first draft of this song, it took several years to move my life forward and away from the pressure of that feeling.  Recording the song, releasing it to the world as my declaration, means something to me. It is me being totally honest, telling it like it is for me, not holding back, not being afraid to be not perfect…

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Walk Upon The Water, #1 - The Music

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs

Walk Upon The Water 

#1 - The Music 

I had spent some time in a condo on the beach in New Smyrna Beach, FL with my wife (now ex-wife) when this song began.  It was several years ago, started as a sketch and I pretty much played and sang the entire song into my recording software one day while there.

A few years prior, I had been asked to sit in the cafe at a church I worked at, and just play guitar while people came and went during an open house.  Hadn’t really done such a thing before and wondered what to do to make it not boring.

Enter alternative tuning.

At that time, I dropped the low E string to a D and started to get an idea, and started to adjust more strings and settled in to play with my first alternate tuning.  D-A-D-F#-A-D.

Thanks to my friend Bruce Clark for that one!  Had he not asked me to play that day, I may not have done that!

Anyway, fast forward to the beach in Florida years later and you find me, upset, tired of marital issues, especially while in such a beautiful place.  I have a guitar, a laptop with audio interface and the mic and guitar input to start laying ideas down.

I strummed the opening chords of the song and started singing.  The rest, as they say, really is history.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Frustrating, #5 - UNPLUGGED

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs



During the week I spent in Michigan shooting the music video for the song Walk Upon The Water, I had an opportunity to give an intimate unplugged performance of my new songs for some dear friends.  The following is a video of the song “Frustrating” from that evening.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Frustrating, #4 - Epilogue

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs


#4 - Epilogue 

Frustrating as life may be, I wouldn’t want to end this story without coming to modern day and where I am now.

I married Kerrie on Nov 3, 2017 and she works hard at making me happy and helping me through any problems I have as a result of my past.  She is funny, witty, beautiful and a simple joy to live with. She treats me too well sometimes, and anticipates my needs better than I know them myself.

Today, most of my frustrations are with dealing with my past, the issues that creep up into everyday life, as well as not being where I wish I could be in my career and such.  I can’t say that I am thrilled with my past experiences, but I can say that going through them has helped me help others, even my new wife, and given me new perspective as I learn more about myself.

So, I’d like to be clear:  As frustrating as any experience in life is, at the other end I am learning to put it all in perspective and I encourage everyone to do the same. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Frustrating, #3 - The Lyrics

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs


#3 - The Lyrics 

Pretty much from the first time I played with the chords to this song, I sang the lyric, “It’s so frustrating, just sitting here waiting for something to happen.  It’s so frustrating sitting here waiting on you.”

It was during my first marriage.  Things hadn’t been easy. I seemed to constantly be unhappy with the way things were in life.  I was getting extremely tired of waiting, wanting more, wanting better than where I was, what my life had turned into.

Originally, after penning the whole song, I explained to my friend, Linda Mizell, that this song was my Psalm.  It was me yelling out to God that I am tired of waiting, and that I wouldn’t know what to do if He simply knocked on my door.  Maybe it is.

It has become one of my favorite songs.  Maybe it’s because it was one of the first really gritty, honest expressions I put into a song.  Anyway, I like it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Frustrating, #2 - The Music, Part Two

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs


#2 - The Music, Part Two 

In all of my years as a musician, I wouldn’t have called myself a lead guitar player.  In fact, I shied away from it as much as possible early on, because I figure I’d let someone handle it who really understands lead guitar.

That is, until I no longer had someone around to play lead guitar, then the task fell to yours truly.

Enter the days of recording my songs for release, and putting myself on a deadline, recording in my home studio, and not having money and resources for others to be involved.  I did it all. (bet you didn’t know that tidbit, did you!?)

With the song Frustrating, I had the body of the song finished, just no lead, and no ideas for one, either.  I was putting off the inevitable, feeling confident that I could do it, but not having any real direction.

Then, we had serious car issues one day  What should have been a day recording all day turned into a day running around helping someone, it taking too long, getting separated from Kerrie and catching a ride home with someone else.  Then, a call saying the car won’t go into gear, followed by, you guessed it, FRUSTRATION. Frustration that I couldn’t get to her and she couldn’t get home, and worries about the car. And, to make matters worse, it would be several hours before I could get a ride to where she was to see what I could do.  I felt helpless.

Trying to harness the energy that I knew needed to go into the lead guitar part for this song, I strapped up my Yamaha RGX-A2, put the recorder in a loop mode, and proceeded to simply throw down 16 different and angst-filled lead parts.  The final is a composite of the best parts of all those takes, and it was not easy editing it all together!

(For more great information about Yamaha Acoustic Guitars, please visit https://beginnerguitarhq.com/best-yamaha-acoustic-guitar/)

Friday, April 3, 2020

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs, Frustrating, #1 - The Music, Part One

Walk Upon The Water - About The Songs


#1 - The Music, Part One

I sit around and play guitar, even for just a few minutes, almost every day.  Sometimes, it is in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, office, studio, even the bathroom while my wife is in the shower!  I know, TMI.

The thing is this, when you doodle around enough, an idea sticks.  That’s often how songs start for me. A bit of playing on my guitar, turning the same old chord or riff into something just a little bit different.

I’ve never said I’m a blues man.  In fact, I’ve settled into saying I am “Ameripolitan” because it is widely encompassing of several similar styles.  However, one of the things I do is play around with the tried and true, and the sometimes unfamiliar to me. And that is what I was doing when I started the music for what became Frustrating.

Playing a G7, with a particular rhythm, moving to the C7 and the D7 as normal, but adding a Eb7 to C7 drop just felt good.  And I knew exactly what to sing to it, because often I am humming a melody along as I am experimenting.

Of course, I also had this strange (for me) bass line going on in my head.  When I picked it out, it went against everything in my head that says something is “right” to do.  But, it worked and I kept at it. It actually came together pretty fast, but seemed like forever to me at the time.

Funniest thing happened, too.  When I was with the band, fleshing out the song to perform live for a showcase, we were looking for a way to end it because I had forgotten what I had originally done.  The bass player, Shawn Fernandez, suggests we end it a certain way and Matt totally agrees. We play it that way and are SO happy with our ending.

When I went to do the recording, I pull out the first rough draft, which i had long forgotten, and I had ended it THE SAME WAY! This is and always has been the ending to Frustrating.