Mar 192012
 

This is the second of 7 blog posts about the songs on my new CD “Big Texas Sky”. As part of this posting, ‘Anywhere But Here’ will be available as a FREE download for a limited time.

If there is a ‘single’ on this album I guess that the track ‘Anywhere But Here’ would be it. This song stands well on it’s own as a story and as having a world of it’s own yet it also serves as a foundation for the rest of the album. I even plucked the title of the CD from the lyrics when the main character says:

Oh God please
Help me up off my knees
…Oh God why
Was I born under this big Texas sky

All of this pours a lot of responsibility onto the song and I think it holds up pretty well under the strain.

This is the only track on the CD that you could say was written specifically for this album. The other 6 songs were already written and had been playing them at gigs for a long time.  But as I was trying to decide what this album was going to be about, I knew that a ‘lynch-pin’ type of song was needed. I was thinking that the CD had something to do with Texas or at least the common working class person that one usually associates with Texas, so the song needed to evoke those ideas and pull those emotional strings.

I knew that “that” song wasn’t something I had written already so I figured I’d go back to my notebooks and look for something that would spark an idea. I had been playing with some lyrics in my notebook that were about a girl running away from home because of an abusive father and they caught my eye as I mined my notebook for an idea for this lynch-pin song.

I started to flesh out the verses and I really liked the line about a big Texas sky that comes up in the first verse. I even tried to write it with the sky as the main idea, but it wasn’t working and so I rewrote the lyric from the stand point that this girl is running away, but will never really be able to escape her issues – different book, but same old story. I still clung to the sky image and so I made that line -big Texas sky- come back again in the bridge. In doing so, the phrase takes on a bigger meaning rather than just a casual observance of her surroundings as in the first verse.

After I wrote those lines and sat back to figure out what I wrote, I realized that the image of a big sky overhead made me think of God. At least God as the omnipresence, the spirit that is always there, watching as we live our lives. We either acknowledge it or not, but the fact remains that it is there. And for this girl it becomes a kind of metaphor for that aphorism that states: Anywhere you go, there you are…

No matter what the issue, the world keep spinning and the sun and moon and stars still spin over head and you’re still running or stopping to face the music. I guess that once a person realizes this and becomes aware of it, our problems seems a little less daunting. There are bigger things than our tiny lot here on this speck of dust. Ah well…

A quick note about revision. I had the song all written, orchestrated and recorded with a nice vocal take that I was happy with except

Ahh that ‘except’. A friend of mine always says to me that if I notice something’s wrong you can be sure that someone else will, so fix it! There was a word that was bugging me and it was in the first verse.

This was the original:

She’s gonna run far
From this broke down life
Her Daddy’s greasy hands
And his visits in the night
He ain’t gonna hold her down this time
She ain’t lookin’ back this time

This is the revision:

She’s gonna run far
From this broke down life
Step Daddy’s greasy hands
And his visits in the night
He ain’t gonna hold her down this time
She ain’t lookin’ back this time

The fact that she was being abused (and the lyrics imply sexual abuse) by her own father really bugged me. But if it was her step daddy that didn’t bug me as much. It nagged at me until I fixed it and re-recorded it. It’s still an icky image, but it works a little better for me than the original. A songwriter shouldn’t be afraid to rewrite even if it is during the process of recording.

Take a listen and let me know what you think. This song will be a FREE download until March 27th!