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Started writing when I was ten

And singing when I was four.

Played all kinds of music since then

And listened to a whole lot more.

 

Never had very much money

Yet a lot of life is free.

Reaching for the milk and honey

But it never bothered me.

 

Grew up fast and got wise slowly

But practiced what I believed.

Too often I paid my debts and fees

For things I never received.

 

Kicked around so I hit the road

It all feels the same to me.

Started walking with an easy load

Searching for Infinity.

 

Some people when they call you friend

They’ll stay that way for life.

They’ll stick with you until the end

To make sure that you survive.

 

Give them a chance they give you two

No fear; no hate inside.

Not easy to live that way too

At least I can say I tried.

 

So much older than I was then

I won’t be singing much more.

Placed my bets again and again

But never managed to score.

 

What I wanted was what I had

Knew it eventually.

Though life doesn’t seem so bad

It was out of focus to me.

There have been many memorable events in my life to date and many more to come.  It might not be apparent at the time the impact any one of them would have at the time.  I have never been diagnosed or treated professionally but I find myself dealing with depression from time to time.  It is impossible to know what triggers those feelings and more difficult to see your way out. On one of those times I could not break the cycle.  I had no motivation or inspiration.  In fact, I did not care at all.  About anything.  I had been through similar situations before so for weeks I kept telling myself it would pass in its own time.  I would get through this one as well.  But that was the only positive thought I had.  Life not worth living.  Nothing made me happy or sad. I forced myself through motions and obligations by shear routine.   I seemed like this would go on forever.  It felt unbearable even though most of my friends had no idea what I was dealing with.

I had tickets to see an amazing show under any circumstances, so I went to see Cirque du Soleil.  It is funny how this affected me.  I watched human beings do what seemed impossible even if you could think of the skills in the first place.  Art and amazing physical prowess seamlessly blended together to tell a story with few words.  Strength and perfection only achieved with years and years of unrelenting practice and sacrifice.  It again showed me the potential of mankind.  Dedication, creativity, trust, respect were all required to make this amazing performance happen.  I realized watching each scene that we are incredible beings when we try. That night I started trying again.  I saw the end of the funk that was created by myself – for myself.  I could see again the beauty of life and the result of hard work when things seem impossible.

History sometimes repeats itself. Funny to think of this after my recent event at a concert to see my musical mentor and hero – Peter Gabriel, performing on tour with Sting.  It is so refreshing to know there are others in the world that struggle to be good.  That work every day to promote peace love and all that corny stuff I could not live without.  In their music and through their lives they can impact so many.  I thought I would never be able to see Gabriel perform.  I have come close, but things did not work out. They almost did not work out this time either.  Of all the artists/people in the world, his music, words and projects affect me like no other person on this earth.  I am who I am with his unknowing help and guidance.  I struggle to be better knowing it is possible.

I grew up listening to Genesis and following his solo career.  I am not obsessed and do not own everything he has.  I do not know every detail of his personal life or career.  But I do think I ‘know the man’.  I understand him as a man and not an idol.  We are growing old together.

Sting was also amazing and sang a number of Peter’s songs, and performing his own tunes and some from the days of The Police.  For me, it was precious, unforgettable and one of the greatest musical experiences I have had.

Heart-of-Stone

Where you live do the stars shine bright.

Is music played throughout the night?

Does the river run to the sea

Are there lands where animals run free?

 

Where you live are there golden beaches

Great halls where the poet teaches?

Are there fields of crops  

Can you see snow on mountain tops?

 

Laws of nature are always the same.

Universal rules that never change.

I wish those were the ways of man.

But we’ve broken them since time began.

 

Do lonely men beat their lover

Do some justify killing another?

Believe what they see they own

Lie and cheat with hearts of stone?

 

Are prisons full of innocents

Banks that hide how your money’s spent?

Barren lands and tortured skies

Silence forced to hide the lies?

The following is version two of the song I posted titled: “Some People”.  See the following link to review the post: https://midimike.com/2016/04/12/co-write-a-song-with-me/.

I do want to thank the brave participants and hope I reflected your thoughts for each verse.  I added as needed and took out as little as possible to fit the melody, but much of your thoughts are intact.  The first two verses and one other verse are in the original release.  If you have not sent in your submissions there is still time, and I will add them in a final version.  Everyone knows “Some People” LOL!

To re-cap, I posted the song and video for Some People asking fellow bloggers to write verses for a new version of the song based on the format of the original lyrics.  Each submission blogger is credited for their writings above each verse as co-authors!  Who knows, maybe another video is in order and authors could submit pictures for their verses.

 

bino32 says:

Some people are happy
A smile or two to spread
Some people, they feel blue
With cold steel pressed against their heads
Trembling like me?
Or dancing like you?

 

Charles G. says:

Some say it’s not their place
Others misuse the day
The faithful will say grace
Some have too much to say
A wonderful spot
To watch it revolve

 

None Other Then Hannah says:

Some beings are kind,
Generous to others.
While many are glued,
Haunt victims to the ache.
Countless overcome,
And show way of escape.

 

Ancient Skies says:

Some people are just people

not me but you –

longing for a reason to

not to be blue –

hey my brother hang in,

you can sing again –

 

it’s all about the tune you see –

but this life just ain’t free.

Some people are just people,

not me but you.

So sing that tune

to chase the blues.

 

tracihalpin says:

Some people are real
Some people pretend
Some people don’t feel
Which one are you?

 

atribeuntangled says:

Some people say they spread the love,

believe like them and rise above.

But if you stray and use your mind

you fall so fast and ties unbind.

As we moved the song “My Heart is Silent” forward, I wanted to give you an update in the process.  New chord structure keeping some of the vibe from the first version and new vocals and you can see how quickly songs can change from the original concept.  The last version had a female vocalist and this time we hear from a friend of Mack.  His name is Carlos and he has a smooth ballad vocal style. Again, this is the first vocal attempt to give us an idea how the song feels with a male vocalist and more of a structured feel to the verses. 

 We decided to go with a spoken intro for the first verse.  I like the way it opens the song and allows us to build the vocals as the song progresses.  Oddly enough, a lot of the lyrics went back to the original as the song structure fit the words a bit easier.  We also considered doing a male-female duet.  No final decision yet and we are still thinking about back-up vocals to enhance some of the lines from each verse to drive the end of the song as it builds up.   

 I added MIDI string parts after the piano intro.  The drum parts and bass guitar are also all MIDI generated coming from the computer.  I added a low-key rhythm guitar part during the chorus and later verses.  Once we have the vocal parts finalized we may add other instruments as the song progresses toward the end.   

 So what do you think?  Male vocalist, female or duet?   

 What other instruments do you ‘hear’ in the final version?  Saxophone?   Brass? Orchestral?  Lead guitar? 

 Do you like the spoken opening verse rather than jumping straight into the melody? 

 Here is the latest rough mix of “My Heart Is Silent”. 

A Song in the Making Part III

A Song in the Making Part II

A Song in the Making

On this Mother’s Day, I would like to give you flowers.  Well, pictures of them anyway!  Each year our local Zoo and Botanical Garden has a tulip display that is quite beautiful.  The varieties and colors are just dazzling and the background landscape of the Cincinnati Zoo is hard to beat.  We go almost every year and as usual I bring my camera.  It is difficult to say if one flower is prettier than the other so I will let you pick your own.

So for Mother’s Day, have a few flowers from me, and enjoy your day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In many cities and small towns throughout the globe, there are places where the living take comfort by visiting the dead.  Cemeteries provide a common burial place for relatives, ancestors and the unknown traveler.  Many believe these to be sacred grounds, spaces to reconnect and remember those before us.  For some a look ahead to our own mortality.  The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had a line I often think of from one of their songs called “Buy for Me the Rain”.  It looks at this from a slightly different angle; “Gravestones cheer the living, dear, they’re no use to the dead“.  All are valid thoughts and should be respected regardless of your personal views.   

 In my town there is a beautiful cemetery.  My wife and I have gone there for years to walk, watch spring take back the landscape and follow the seasons as winter inevitably returns. I often bring my camera as I cannot deny the beauty. People come there to paint, jog, stroll, get married and seek a type of peace hard to capture in the surrounding city.  The trees, surrounding lakes and flowers keep demanding our return.  Over the years I have taken many pictures and I would like to share a small sample with you.  This is where my mother and younger brother had their ashes placed, so it is a special place for me in so many ways.  While not intending to capture gravestones or monuments, they are a big part of its beauty.  Tourist attractions often include Spring Grove Cemetery for travelers and those not familiar with the city.  Fall is gorgeous there.  Peace can be felt there.  I hope some of these pictures will give you an idea why it draws so many people again and again. 

 

I was playing acoustic guitar in the living room the other night and I was playing a piece that I had written decades ago. My good friend Tom Robinson added some chords to the structure and it became a favorite instrumental of ours called “Lurker”. I think the name fit as the instrumental piece has a LOT of intentional dissonance and it keeps repeating the pattern over an over, though it changes feeling as the piece is played. I thought about doing something with this guitar piece (there were never other instruments, just the guitar parts) and headed up to the studio. In my computer I found a file called “Lurker” and I opened it up not knowing what it was.

As it turned out a couple years ago I had worked on some drum patterns to go with the guitar part – which like other things, got put on the to do list as I went on to other projects. Funny how many simultaneous projects I have going at any given time. I like the feeling the drums added and thought I would record the guitar piece and play with the tune. As I worked with it I naturally started to think about lyrics for it. Then it hit me – the instrumental piece is repetitious as I mentioned and really doesn’t change ( no Chorus, Bridge or Break or alternate chord arrangement, etc.) The post “Some People” is the same way. It was not structured like a normal “commercial” song. (not that I have ever written one of those!)

So I have been working on the two and I thought this is still going to work as a blogger project. I may add other instruments going forward as it still has just the guitar and drum parts and I toyed with a spooky synth sound for the solo.

I also put up a video on my you tube channel with color pictures I have taken over the years. Some black and white pictures courtesy of Tom Robinson.

I make music and take pictures, but my wife is the creative half of the team.  She does it all.  I have threatened to list her abilities here before but none of us have that much time!  She loves to carve pumpkins during the Halloween season and would other times if pumpkins were around.  We would have the kids and grand kids come over and carve pumpkins in the back yard.  It was so much fun and the kids really loved it too.  She made the mistake of telling a few friends and the next year they invited themselves.  We all had a blast.  I am not great in the carving department so I would gut them for the little kids, make sure music was playing and everyone had a hot drink and a perfect pumpkin to work on.  It was a great family event and each year we looked forward to pumpkin carving time.

It seemed like a harmless mistake.  Friends told other friends.  Each year we had more and more people coming over.  We provided the pumpkins and you could take yours home after showing them off to everyone.  The carving tools got more elaborate.  The patterns and artwork more challenging and the carved pumpkins were AWESOME.  I served more hot drinks, gutted more pumpkins than I could count.

Soon we had more events; we had a screaming contest to see who had the most blood-curdling ear-piercing screams (the little kids were unbeatable!).  We had walnut trees and as a result a walnut throwing contest.  Haunted trails through the woods.

Then came the hay rides!  Not to be outdone, we had a haunted house the next year using lights, fog machines and other equipment from the bands I played in.  People started bringing soup and chili to share so we had contests for the best dish.  We started buying pumpkins by the skid!   It now took almost a month to plan the events and get masks, haunted house, hay rides and everything else ready for the big day.

My wife and I were so busy entertaining that she could no longer take the time to carve pumpkins!  This is why the whole thing started and now she could not carve any of her own.  WE were exhausted by the end of the day and even though we had a great time and everyone loved the event, we looked around and decided not to do it next year.  Or the year after.

Fortunately, friends of ours started their own carving events and we went over to theirs to carve pumpkins for a few years until they moved out of state!

With that in mind, here are just a few of the pictures.  Maybe one day close to Halloween I will post the winners of the screaming contest!

Last September I posted an article with some lyrics/poetry that I had written a while ago called “Some People” using lyrics from a poem called “Some People Are”.  I left out some of the verses for the post but for a refresher to the article use the following link:   https://midimike.com/2015/09/21/some-people/

I did not have music for it at the time and it sat for a while but I really liked some of the verses.   Then I thought about asking readers to submit their own verses because you are so creative and I would come up with some music for it and post it as a shared song written by fellow bloggers.  As things in life happen as they can – not as I plan or want them to – I put it on the list and worked on a few other things like finding a job and other projects.  But things on my list usually get done.  One way or another ……….. in one form or another.

The structure of the lyrics changed a little, so the submissions will need to fit the meter of the new lyrics below.  I can’t guarantee that I will add every submission, but I will take select submissions and post the song.  I think it would be fun and entries will be credited as co-authors.  The new song is titled: “Some People”.

  “Some People Are”                   Lyrics by MSK © 2-22-2016  

 Some people are humans 

 Trying to get their kicks 

 Some people are animals 

 Able to learn new tricks. 

Are you somebody? 

 Show me.  Show me. 

 

Some people are clever 

 They know just what to do 

 Some people are sneaky 

 And always out of view. 

  Are you different? 

 Different than me?  

 

  Most people are decent 

 And give you the time of day 

 Most people are ignorant 

 Of debts they should have paid. 

 Do you know these people? 

  Do they know you? 

 

Most people are honest  

Till they tell their first lie 

 Most people are lonely 

 And will never say good bye. 

Does it matter? 

 Does it matter to me? 

 

  More people are angry 

Seeing things in black and white 

More people are dreaming 

 Something wrong that should be right. 

 Where are the people? 

 Have you seen the people? 

 

Poor people are proven guilty 

More often than not 

Poor people are givers 

And they’ll share what they’ve got. 

 More poor people 

 Would help a lot. 

 

You tried to tell me something 

I could never understand. 

Wouldn’t know how to follow 

 If you guided me by the hand. 

 Tell me. 

 Tell me something. 

 

  So many wrong directions 

In my ever-changing past. 

 Can’t guarantee to be there first, but 

 I have never been the last. 

 Another wrong direction 

 Forgotten so fast. 

 

Your people are crazy 

 Going out all the time 

 Your people are busy 

 But they’ll stop to pick up a dime. 

 It’s not worth it. 

 Not worth it to me. 

 

Your people are active 

 Found the right ass to kick 

 Your people are saying  

 That’s the nature of politics. 

 That’s the nature 

 The nature of politics