Posts Tagged ‘#poetry’

                                                                                                              MSK ©  9-12-2018

Faded jeans and worn-out shoes

You gotta dress right when you sing the Blues.

Down trodden with a broken heart

Don’t even try unless you look the part.

 

You Gotta Dress Right

Gotta-haves that go on forever.

You Gotta Dress Right

Come in every size, shape and flavor.

You Gotta Dress Right

No place for losers kid; be all you can be.

You Gotta Dress Right

If you want to sing the Blues like me.

 

Million dollar suit and ties

On thousands of rehearsed handshakes and smiles.

Each one willing to beat the rest

No excuses, no failure: this is no test.

 

You Gotta Dress Right

Gotta-haves that go on forever

You Gotta Dress Right

Come in every size, shape and flavor.

You Gotta Dress Right

No place for losers kid; be all you can be

You Gotta Dress Right

If you want to sing the Blues like me.

 

© MSK 6-13-11 from notes on 3-7-93

 

        From the middle, each end is far away

        Somewhere in-between, we learn how to pray.

 

        In every story there is a hint of truth

        Behind every lie is a mountain of proof.

 

                It’s always during the cold lonely nights

                That you find out what you’re missing.

                        I am missing you.

 

        If you think of leaving or sticking around

        It’s better to know what lives underground.

© MSK 8/31/2018

How many faces can you see every day

Before you start forgetting their names?

When do the streets you drive all look the same?

 

Who can remember all the great people you’ve met

And still function throughout the day?

Do the songs you keep writing all sound the same?

 

It’s not that things aren’t fun

But it gets a little old.

Looking for a rainbow won’t help you find gold

No matter what you were told.

 

How many repetitions can one person perform

Without their thoughts wandering everywhere else?

When do we notice we’re not even there?

 

It’s not that things aren’t fun

But it gets a little old.

There is no rainbow and no pot of gold

No matter what you were told.

 

 

 

                      “(Waves of Alcohol)”                                                                   © MSK 5-23-2018

 

In a refreshing wave of alcohol

Warmth flowing down my throat.

The glow continues on

While the tension seems to float.

 

It’s a wave of alcohol

Regret and guilt jump in

Reflections fade with each sip

It’s a game I never win.

 

The next wave of alcohol

Life feels pretty silly

 

The tallest wave of alcohol

Begins to numb the senses

 

The tsunami of alcohol

Puts depression on a hi boil

 

After an ocean of alcohol

The angry man just comes out

 

            It will all be better

           If I have another drink

           I can handle it

           Doesn’t matter what you think.

 

Following the flood of alcohol

Awake but not aware

Doesn’t matter who gets hurt

Long past the point I care

 

Wake in a desert with a driving thirst

Never again, never again

Can’t remember what I did

Friends look away and pretend.

 

            It will all be better

            If I have another drink

            I deserve it

            No matter what you think.

I have had a similar conversation with so many children over the years.  Often the conversations were within my own family.  There are far too many broken families struggling to get to the next day.  The children involved are unable to see the why.  No explanation makes it acceptable or understandable.  Fathers leave.

But leaving is not the full story of abandonment.  Years and years of doubt turned to guilt, anger, frustration and loneliness.  No phone call.  No letter.  No birthday gift.            Silence.

It may take a long time for a ‘step-father’ to become part of this new family, but so precious!

 

My Father                                               (C) MSK 7-4-2018

Birthdays have come and gone

Life’s challenges at every turn.

I wanted you to be there so much

Just to see if I lost or if I won.

 

Mother made excuses

I kept expecting you to show.

Abandoning us was as cruel

As all the other abuses.

 

You haven’t come around

Since I was four.

I will always be your son

But you’re not my father any more.

 

But it’s alright, I survived

I have a great family.

Mother met a really good man

Got much better after he arrived.

 

He takes care of me as his own

Promises he’ll always be there.

Teaching me things you never could

And laughing at how much I’ve grown.

 

You are still my dad

And I’m your daughter.

But I know now

You were never my father.

 

You haven’t come around

Since I was four.

I will always be your son

But you’re not my father any more.

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Here is another song my brother David recorded at a studio years ago as part of his Studio Ways project.  My brother wrote the lyrics and is the vocalist on these tracks.  Terry Boehm played keyboards.  Tom Collier wrote the music and played guitar.  This one is called, “Focus On Your Feet”.  A fun toe-tapping song that sticks in your head!

The songs were being finalized in the studio as each came up to record.  The rhythm tracks were recorded first, with lead instruments and vocals added later that day.  A lot of people ‘freeze up’ their first time in a studio with the tape rolling (yes, this was back in the days when they used tape!) so recording can be very stressful – but with a bit of focus you can come out with great memories.

Greg Stern

MSK Studio

Part of the challenge in writing songs is how difficult it might be to convey a particular feeling or message to studio musicians.  All players should be heading in the same direction, playing the same tune, moving at the same tempo and so on.  Creating soundscapes must be a lot like painting.  Drawing the lines and forms are one thing, but which color is best?  There are so many available yet each one conveys a unique mood or feeling.  Sounds can be like that.  We asked a guitar player/friend of ours to come up with guitar tracks for a project I was working on.   This was for a cable TV project looking for sound tracks for an automotive enthusiast series.  We wanted to give the guitar parts a bit of mood setting so we asked him to create tracks that would generate the feeling of …

an engine or racing car, crunchy, powerful

drive – movement – acceleration, fast, fluid

Using basically no more than the above “instructions” he gathered toys and used the word imagery to shape the sound and the playing style for these tracks.  We used the same list to come up with the basic tracks for the song.  This song is an adaptation of a song I wrote a long time ago and we called it The Big D Jam.  I originally composed this song using the Arp Odyssey synthesizer.  I programmed a pretty cool sounding bass patch and came up with the bass line and skeleton of the song.  This song in its original version was performed when I was with The Personal Touch years ago.  If it was a rockin’ crowd we would let Ric Ahlers jam a bit on the solo parts.  I put some simple lyrics to it and it was a really fun song to play out.  Recently I pulled it out of the song closet and re-wrote the chorus.  I also used new software plug-ins from my computer for all the sounds.  This was amazing for me because I have all this fancy gear with cool sounds and I am not using them at all.  In this post, I wanted to give you an idea how the song progressed. The new sounds are just amazingly clear and natural.  I will post in the near future the complete mix with vocals and effects.  When the sounds and the performance match the request or target, the song seems like it was made to order.

Some of you may notice right away that this song is a little different.  The beat is not the same as many other songs.  I enjoy playing in different time signatures.  Not too weird, but I like different beats and even tempo changes if done right.  This song is played in 3/4 time rather than the more traditional 4/4 time. It gives it more of a waltz kind of feel to the measures.  This is a straight forward recording with me and my Ovation 12 string guitar.  There is a hint of a long reverb.

Castles     To me, this is a rather sad song.  I have seen many relationships that should last forever crumble in front of me.  People that were dedicated and adored each other turned to bitter enemies.  Mutual friends and family stuck with unpleasant decisions.  Broken hearts and lives.  Sometimes there are innocent and guilty, but not as often as you would think.  The rooms themselves seem to whisper a sad tale.  Even the pictures are affected by the loneliness and help tell the tragic but all too familiar tale.  Using common excuses as cliche’s the chorus sums it up fairly well while the verses bounce from past to present.

This is not about the relationships that start out with lies or Jekyll/Hyde waiting for you.  This is more about someone wanting to mold you.  Over powering or just with  persistence.  These extreme situations would quickly spin out of control.  Some that begin with love turn vicious.  And as a reminder these are people that professed they loved each other not long ago.  I don’t know how that is possible, frankly.   Best wishes to you if you have ever had to deal with this situation.

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I have been planning to pull out songs I wrote years ago that have never been recorded before (other than live jams in living room sessions…) and record them.  I have been doing a bit of that lately and here is a song I posted the lyrics to earlier called “The Wrong Reply

For a number of these songs it is difficult for me to imagine hearing the songs in any other way than with acoustic guitars and vocalists.  I often think of harmonies, but adding instrumentation really opens up the choices of how the song is transformed. Many people are not aware that the popular Jimi Hendrix song, “All Along The Watch Tower”, was written by Bob Dylan!  If you listen to both versions you can see how much the instrumentation and interpretation of the song can change it dramatically.  There are many other examples, of course, but this is a good one as I appreciate both artists.  This also demonstrates the power of doing a ‘cover tune’ someone else wrote, but that is a subject for a different article.

As with many of my recordings I play all the instruments – sometimes performing in the studio and sometimes using sounds stored on my computer.  The drums are usually triggered sounds using MIDI controllers (like my keyboard or drum pads). Sometimes I will use drum loops that are pre-recorded drum patterns that you can pick and choose to match your song.  My songs usually have a twist or odd groove to them and do not always lend themselves well to existing drum beats.  I wanted something other than the standard drum kit sounds for this song and used other familiar percussion instruments. The bass guitar is recorded using the keyboard as MIDI triggers.

I made up the instrumental part as I forgot what I usually play there and may add a solo instrument of kind in the future.

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I may have some free time for a little bit and I would like to catch up on a bunch of things that have been on the back-burner for a while.  I also hope to pull up old band and other video projects and push them hard into the hi-def age.  It will be a lot harder than it sounds as some of my media is very old tech.  We shall see.

I also wanted to share with you some of the songs my older brother David did in a studio years ago.  I was not involved in writing or recording these songs.  My home studio was meager by today’s standards and I was only set up for one-man songwriting stuff.  I was not able to record an entire band at one time back then.

My brother’s band was doing some original songs and jamming pretty often.  Tom Collins and David had an inspired writing session for a couple of hours before practice.  The band mates were so excited with the new material they made calls and booked time in a recording studio the next week!!##!!

I will detail the studio experience and give the band members and authors their due in future blogs.  Here is a tune from the Studio Ways session that will kick things off well.  “My Dog Loves You Too” is a heart-warming love song with a pleasant twist of humor.  David was faced with a challenge to write a funny love song.  His ex-wife Cynthia came up with a few guitar parts and the song writing took off!  Like this one, all the songs were literally finished and arranged in the studio the day they were recorded.  It gives a great live feel to the collection.  Tom Collins wrote most of the music for this recording and my brother wrote the lyrics.

Please enjoy “My Dog Loves You Too”.