STORIES BEHIND THE SONGS: Every song I write has a very deep personal meaning to me that will likely make a connection in the lives of people who read this.
IT WILL ALWAYS BE YOU
This song is to none other than my wife. We have been together for most of our adult lives. It seems like we have been through a lot together, been pulled apart a few times, but still find our paths in this life to be together. She has been with me through some very dark times and some of the happiest times in my life. I can’t imagine being with anyone else, now, or beyond this world. It isn't the mushy kinda love song she will probably get out of me someday, but it is a very heartfelt deep truth. The lyrics pretty much sum it all up.
WHAT’S MEANT TO BE
This song was inspired by my terrifying health scare that culminated at the Mayo Clinic. I tried to capture what I experienced, and what I honestly thought about. I have never been so filled with dread in my entire life. While my outcome was not catastrophic, I can certainly empathize with anyone else who has, or is, in that diagnostic phase of cancer or other life threatening/altering medical conditions. While I might have fueled my own living hell with my high levels of anxiety, and should have been more faithful and optimistic, the experience took me to a place I never would have gone without it. It made me realize that I am very appreciative for what the Lord has provided and for every day that I wake up in the morning. It renewed my belief in purpose and my trust in God. I am not an overtly religious person per se, but I am deeply spiritual. Ultimately, this experience launched me back on the pathway to making music.
YOU LIGHT THE WAY FOR ME
A deeply personal song written for my mother who died from Cancer in 1991 at the age of 51. I actually had started this song in 1993 when I had a brief renewal in my music as personal healing therapy. I put the guitar away and didn't play again until November 2007. Kind of a long dry spell. When we lose someone close, time tends to fade our memories. Little things that I recall became monuments along my life journey, not because they were that significant at the time, but upon reflection, they take on deeper meaning. My mother was a special person to me and to all my family. I know many others feel that same love and pain if they have lost a parent or someone else that was very close. It is my way of telling her how important she was, and still is to me. The phase about the last words she said to me was actually true. It was the last coherent conversation we had before she was so loaded up on morphine pain medication that our dialog was scattered at best. I hope this song becomes popular someday so that the world can never forget her when I am gone. I can rarely get through this song without choking up. I don’t perform it live very often for that reason. Yet, I am trying to find ways to get though it without having my throat seize up as it is one of the most lyrically powerful songs I have ever written. People relate to it and often tear up before I do.
LIVE IN PEACE, LIVE IN LOVE
I wrote this song for my son when he graduated from high school. It was my attempt to lyrically tell him how amazed and proud of him I am, and fatherly advice to him to try not to get lost in the world by forgetting what is really important. It is my belief that without love, life is empty and pointless. That what really matters is how you live your life and not how much you accomplish materially. The rich and poor die the same and you can’t take anything but love and memories to the grave. Probably a little bit heavy for a teen, but what can you expect from a dad with a background in Philosophy...who perhaps thinks about things way too much.
LEAVES ME WONDERING
No matter how much I try to find my way in this world I still seem to be wandering, questioning, second guessing, etc. This song attempts to capture that sense of wondering if I will ever find my way, or ever know when I am going in the right direction. It also takes stock in the idea of reflection about where I have been and the meandering choices I have made along the way. It ends with the idea that even though it seems like I know where I am going today, I still am left wondering. It is probably the most accurate self portrait I could lyrically craft that sums up how I perceived myself as the custodian of my life at the time it was written.
This song was inspired when my dog "Misty" ran away in a thunderstorm. I thought for sure I lost her. Crazy as it was, my wife and I searched all night for her, in heavy rain, lightening, and thunder. We found her about 9:00 am the next morning in my neighbors garage. I had guessed she was smart enough to find shelter, or was lying somewhere that I might never find her. The whole experience made me think about how we meet friends (human or animal) in the first place. In 1997 I went to a hardware store to get some nails. It was in a strip mall. The pet store in the mall was going out of business and had one runt of a litter left. When our eyes met, I reached down and picked her up out of the kennel. Almost immediately, she fell asleep in my arms. From that day on we have been together. A dog really is man's best friend. I was so hooked on her that I forgot to buy the nails that I went to the store to get in the first place. Silly story, but I think when we meet people (or pets) that become part of our lives that it is a miracle. I think of how many dogs there are and how many people there are in the world. To me, love shared with any creature is a miracle sent from above. The chance of meeting a companion at a moment in time amazes me. Finding her alive was also a miracle. I had almost given up hope to the point I was just sick inside. I am thankful she is still with me. Anyway, that is the story behind this song. I could change one line and it would probably be a love song...lol.
WILL I EVER BE WORTHY
I have been very spiritual most of my life, but for a long time wasn't sure if I really was a Christian. I spent much of my adult life angry toward myself and God. Angry at myself because my faith wasn't strong enough to save my mother from dying of cancer, and angry at God for taking her from me. Ah that selfishness and pride...rooted so deep. Over the years, I have been blessed with the opportunity for a few lessons in humility (aka heath scares, and a few other things that really got me thinking). I am very thankful I was granted that opportunity for reflection and to affirm my beliefs. All of my life experiences have brought me to the realization that my Christian faith is real. I have no other belief system that "feels" real to me. So, this song is a bit heavy on the religious side, but it is a part of who I am. I hope you can appreciate it for what it is...one man pondering the ultimate sacrifice, perplexed by the mystery, and feeling less than worthy.
LIFE LIVED LONG
The inspiration for this song is based on my father. I have thought for years now that I wanted to write a song for/about him from my perception of the man he is to me. We had a conversation when I was a teen that I never forgot. He told me that his whole mission in life was to be a good provider for his family. He worked a lot to provide for all of us. He is as honest as they come. He thinks he was too strict with his kids when we talk now, but he cant see himself through my eyes. He was tough in my younger years, but that helped grow me into the man I am today. I am thankful I had a dad who loved me, was there as a cornerstone to my family, the most honest and trustworthy man I have ever know. Maybe alot of people feel that way about there fathers. I know some who don't. I know some whose fathers were not there for them and left a gaping hole in their lives that can never be filled. My dad took us on the trips, camping, fishing, etc. He made us do work so we knew what earning a living meant. He was a little bit of a perfectionist with a philosophy that any thing worth doing should be done "right". I watched him get broken in half when my mother passed away from cancer. It weakened him and knocked him to his knees. But, it wasn't long and another came into his life. Perhaps too soon, perhaps just at the right time for him. Either way, he picked himself up and resumed his role as a provider to a new blended family. I watch from afar at how much my step siblings love him too. They also see him for the great man and father he is. I cherish these memories and all the future ones life may still allow us to create together. Nothing beats family, and a great family starts with loving parents. I had both from my first breath...I truly am a really lucky man. I am filled with memories I will carry for a life lived long, and beyond.
HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
When I least expect it, songs seems to materialize into my mind from some interesting trigger. This one came from thinking about statements of wisdom my Grandmothers use to make that somehow I absorbed for reflection some 30 years later. One such statement was "here today, gone tomorrow". It was something my Grandma Brown use to say when we heard about someone losing their life. It was her way of saying at anytime we can be taken from this world. Another classic was one most children probably hear when your are impatient about being young and want to get out there and live your life; "Don't wish your life away". It is such a simple annoying statement to a child/teen, but yet isn't that what we do, even as adults? We always yearn for tomorrow, or wish for the past. Utopia is never in the present, but the present is all we have. The meaning of those words translated into a song about reflecting on how as a young man, life seemed so simple and clear. I had no doubt that I could and would live the life I set out to do so many years ago. Yet, here I am today caught up in the 9-5 like most others feeling less than complete. Should I chase the dreams of my younger mind? Perhaps a common mid-life question.The title doesn't really fit that description, but hopefully it makes sense when you hear the context within the song. Maybe it is a derived piece of wisdom that I have gleaned from my own life experience to become another's little tidbit of reflective guidance to not miss out on one of life's most important treasures; Love.
To be continued...