This is the seventh of 7 blog posts about the songs on my new CD “Big Texas Sky”. As part of this posting, ‘Prayer & Hallelujah’ will be available as a FREE download for a limited time.
This song began with a prayer. There is a Buddhist prayer that I had been using in my meditation that goes something like this:
May the pure light of Bodhicitta dawn in each and every heart and mind
Dispelling the darkness of suffering and confusion
Unstoppable until all sentient beings are fully illuminated
I had been trying to rewrite this prayer into a lyric for some time but really couldn’t find the right way to do it without sounding too Sunday school-ish. I had this little snippet of something floating around my journal in different usages.
Give me peace in my soul
Give me love
Let me rock-n-roll
It had been in the middle of a song that went nowhere and I had tried it in other ideas but to no avail. But this is the way things work in the creative world. All of those bits and pieces of some future whole work is floating around inside my brain. My wife refers to it as a kind of Tetris game. You remember that old video game where different shaped pieces float down and you have to manipulate them into the correct place. Well I think that’s what is going on subconsciously as I eat, walk, work out, sleep etc.
Also, in my head, Tetrising around, was the idea of writing my Hallelujah song (everyone has one from Cohen to Springsteen). I wanted to write a celebration of life with a lyric that ended in the singer shouting Hallelujah! In my search for where to begin with that idea, I stumbled upon that snippet and began to think of the prayer I say almost everyday. How could I combine the two?
Here’s the first verse with the snippet:
Give me peace
In my soul
Give me love
Let me rock-n-roll
I’m gonna reach up into heaven
And touch the light of an angel’s wing
Bring it all back to my heart
So the world can hear me sing
Here’s the second verse with more of the prayer concept intertwined:
May compasion light my way
Through these dark uncertain times
An irresistable call
Illuminates my heart and mind
All that I have taken in
I will spill out to those in need
The more I give from my treasure
The more I will receive and sing
These two verses are played slowly and I thought it would be cool to throw in a little raucous gospel breakdown just to give a bit more life. The song then breaks into a rousing gospel section with a repeating refrain:
May we all feel the light of a brilliant love
I always get a great response from the audience when I play this section and they usually end up clapping along, just like in church! Love it? You can also get this phrase on a T-Shirt!
I put this song at the end of the album to sum it all up by saying that we all need some spiritual connection to get through all that life hands us. It’s the connection to family and friends that allows us to sing a Hallelujah every now and then.
When I began writing this song, the guitar part in the beginning prayer section reminded me of Led Zeppelin’s song “Ramble On”. The more I played it the more it touched that musical memory so much so that I almost abandoned the song entirely. But I loved the way it grooved with the lyrics and so I kept at it and it found it’s way onto the album. I do tip my hat to the mighty Zeppelin song by emulating that great bass line of John Paul Jones that stands out as a melodic counterpoint against the voice and guitar.
Take a listen and let me know what you think!