Week 3: Cowrite

The cowrite was a challenge for sure. It’s not that I haven’t cowritten before, but that I took on the challenge of adding music/melody to existing lyrics, which is pretty much backwards to how I write. I, normally, either get the lyrics and melody simultaneously, or form lyrics around an existing melody. I welcome new approaches to songwriting as a way to grow as a songwriter, since I believe songwriting is life long learning.

I played with a lot of melodies, but it was over the course of a week more full of  distraction than anticipated, so getting down to the task of completing it was a challenge. Aren’t all of life’s complications just future song material, though? I appreciate more than ever the importance of the marriage of melody to lyrics, in terms of the lyrics having a natural fit and feel with the melody. No doubt, having someone else’s lyrics made it especially complicated, since we all have our own sort of natural rhythm or meter that we tend to defer to. These lyrics came from someone else’s natural rhythm and meter, so I had to step outside my natural tendencies to find a fit that didn’t feel or sound awkward.

I decided to approach it by attempting to get a feel for my cowriter’s natural rhythm and meter. I did actually, audibly talking the lines out, in an almost exaggerated form of reciting poetry, repeatedly, until the flow felt natural. Now, that was a welcome epiphany! From there, it was easier to sense how I should be strumming my guitar, rhythmically. Then I played with some chord structures until something felt right, and a general melody idea just sort of emerged from there. I tweaked it a bit, and flip flopped between a couple of melodies for a while, still undecided.

When I thought I’d settled on one, I went to tweak some wording a little bit, thinking that was all I had to do… But in classic songwriting fashion, something else came to me just as I thought I was almost finished.  I had to make a judgment call, at a time of day a bit too late to discuss with my partner, to make greater changes to the lyrics and song structure than I had initially intended, in order for it to fit with my new idea. Basically, I decided to expand on a theme touched on in the original lyrics, where the love story was referred to, metaphorically, as a book.

After some technical difficulties with my computer, I realized I’d have to record with Garage Band on my iPhone, which actually did an adequate job last time. Time constraints due to family commitments meant I didn’t have the time to be as picky with the recording as I might normally be, plus I’ve got a bit of a scratchy throat, but I think it still turned out okay. I hope my cowriter is happy with what I came up with…

 

The Book of You and Me

By Gordon Gow and Shauna Specht

 

All our better days won’t go forgotten

They’ve been etched across my mind

Our love has been our sanctuary

Even in our darkest times

 

Our story changed direction

Not that we don’t care

We grew in ways that found us miles apart

 

We’re not a tale of woe, just lovers letting go

Leave that for the broken hearted

The chronicles of us have all been written now

From the magic to the day we parted

In the book of you and me

The book of you and me

 

Just look at all our love created

We built a family and a home

And the years we gave weren’t all for nothing

I’m still proud of us, you know

 

I hope your new direction

Finds you love and joy

And even as we journey miles apart

 

We’re not a tale of woe, just lovers letting go

Leave that for the broken hearted

The chronicles of us have all been written now

From the magic to the day we parted

In the book of you and me

The book of you and me

 

Spare the sadness-

Spare the tears

spare the anger-

there was always something good

 

We’re not a tale of woe, just lovers letting go

Leave that for the broken hearted

The chronicles of us have all been written now

From the magic till the day we parted

In the book of you and me

In the book of you and me

In the book of you and me

The book of you and me

 

Every story has to have an end

The book of you and me

 

We’re bound forever more

In the book of you and me

 

We’ll put it on the shelf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAC Challenge 2016 #1

My second year doing this challenge! Last year was a great experience and I learned a lot, so it’s great to do this again. Last time, I found the recording a bit of a learning curve. This time, the recording is a challenge again, but more, this time, due to timing. We’re in the middle of a household project of upheaval proportions, and I don’t have a suitable space set up for recording. Then I discovered that when my computer recently went in for servicing and they were forced to wipe my memory, the updated OS they put on it did not seem to include GarageBand. (I can actually download it though, I’ve learned)

But guess what? I have GarageBand on my iPhone, and I’ve been meaning to play with it, anyway, so see how it works and if it is something useful to me. Looks like it could be  super handy songwriting tool when I’m on the go. I really didn’t expect it to be half as good as it is, especially the vocals. I am pleasantly surprised! Time constraints means recording #1 didn’t get the time and care I intended, but I think it gets the gist of the song across well enough.

I immediately knew when I saw our choices for the challenge that the 2 chord option was for me. The very simple chorus kind of popped out of thin air as soon as I started playing the chords, and I knew it was a keeper. The verses I have visited and revisited over the course of the week.

I definitely knew I wanted to begin with a strong sense of place and imagery. I find that when I have strong mental images from which to draw when I’m writing a song, it gives me a place to revisit in my mind when I get stuck. I can go back to that place again, and explore my senses to see what else might emerge. A vivid imagination is a valuable tool.

I’ve struggled a bit with the melody, which is not where I usually struggle. I guess this is the challenge of a 2 chord song…it would be too easy to fall into a repetitive melody throughout, and I am consciously striving to avoid that. To me, that means a great learning opportunity.

I consider this song to be, still, a work in progress, and look forward to the feedback on what I have so far. Maybe I will have time to work on a better recording before the challenge is over. Here are the lyrics:

 

Talk to Me

On the edge of night, the light through the trees outside

Reveals just a piece of the sky, but I want more

I want clarity, the truth about everything

The blatant reality of open doors

So talk to me, I wish you would talk to me

I wish you would talk to me, ’cause I let you down

I’m all tied up in strings, obsessing on everything

I hang on the walls in the wings, but you just walk on

But just stop and turn, say it all even if it hurts

The darkness is worth the brand new dawn

So talk to me, I wish you would talk to me

I wish you would talk to me, ’cause I let you down

The sun is on the edge, the sun is on the edge

The sun is on the edge, I’m waiting on the edge

To break through, to break through

So talk to me, I wish you would talk to me

I wish you would talk to me, ’cause I let you down