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  • Apr 22

    Tuvalu Coffeehouse & Gallery

    Verona

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12. Over again

Track 12, "Over again" [listen here], was also written during a Fearless Songwriting week, and is the newest tune included on Journeyman. The song was written in response to the photograph pasted below. Sometimes our inspiration in the songwriting group comes from visuals rather than from text prompts. 

The first lyrics I wrote were: "In the meantime, I'll sit right here / My corner of moonlight, my sacred sphere..."

11. Still on the road

Track 11, "Still on the road" [listen here], captures the heart of the Journeyman theme. Travel, togetherness, saying goodbye, and moving ahead without knowing how you'll do what you need to do. And doing it anyway.

I can never be better than brave...

Some of the details in this song are true, and some are enhanced by wishful thinking and/or poetic license.

10. Tandem

Track 10, "Tandem" [listen here], is one of a few interrelated songs I've written -- some on Journeyman and some yet to be recorded -- having to do with addiction.

My goal is to keep moving steady...

I don't know anyone who hasn't been touched by addiction in some form, whether within themselves or witnessing a loved one going through it. Some of the most difficult experiences I've ever had have centered around trying to support someone who was dealing with an addiction, while also keeping my own emotional wellness in order. It's not easy. It may be impossible. This song is about the choice to let go, or stay on the ride and focus on the positive. 

9. Waking time

Track 9, "Waking time" [listen here], was definitely the most fun song to perform and record. It's about getting real - when someone puts on a mask or tells you what they want you to hear, it's as real (or unreal) as a dream. 

Every moment is not a motivation...

Sitting across from a new acquaintance (OK, a first date!) I remember thinking to myself: "every reason is not a revelation!" We don't need to explain all the fine details of our stories. We can just live them, here and now. That's the essence of this song. It doesn't have to be difficult to get to know one another. 

8. Tears I Could Not Cry

Track 8, "Tears I could not cry" [listen here], is a sister song with "Dream vessel". Both tunes were inspired by a friend who came into my life just when I needed a strong support. In "Dream Vessel" that sense of support is outlined in a mystical way. In "Tears..." it is more concrete; dealing with a health scare brought out the best in both of us. "Tears..." is an older song, originally planned for the album Dream Vessel, that later became Journeyman.

7. Carry

Track 7, "Carry" [listen here], was written in honor of my brother and his wife. They asked me to write and perform a song for their wedding ceremony, and I was honored to do so. I've written a few other wedding songs, and wanted this one to have its own unique sound and feeling.

Endless wonder…

I interviewed the bride and groom separately. Many of the lyrics in this song are direct quotes, or adapted from what they said about each other. They both talked about a sense of feeling free to be completely and authentically themselves with the other person. They both brought up laughter and humor more than once. They discussed feeling fearless, and a sense of wonder at the idea of starting a life and a family together. So, the song was very easy to put together. I had the music already started and the lyrics fit right in.

6. Sideliner

Track 6, "Sideliner" [listen here], is about feeling marginalized sometimes, and finding the acceptance where you feel most comfortable with yourself. Sometimes we send ourselves to the sidelines, and that's not a bad thing if we can enjoy the view from wherever we are. 

I always take the longer way around…

Some people prefer country roads, backstreets, and alternate routes, just for the sake of taking extra time and avoiding the need to "wrestle with a rushing crowd." Some people are shy and take their time getting to know others, as well. Even shy people have a special place where they shine -- on stage, for example, for someone who feels more confident singing to strangers than with small talk. The sidelines are where you can see the fuller picture.

5. I know beauty

Track 5, "I know beauty" [listen here], is one of the older songs on Journeyman. It was part of the original track listing for the first version of the album, and was retained because I love singing it. 

When you love a singer, you hear yourself in every song…

When I lived in Boston, I developed a habit of noticing a "beauty of the day." A person, a situation, a moment, a light pattern through windows--any of these could qualify as the day's highlight, passing fleetly and unrecorded, perhaps unnoticed by anyone except me. This was especially frequent when riding subway trains. The song is built around that idea, and compares the momentary beauty of a passerby to the momentary bliss of a relationship that won't last, yet is still worth exploring and enjoying.

4. When you go

Track 4, "When you go" [listen here]. was also written during a Fearless Songwriting week. Fearless Songwriting is an online community of songwriters who challenge each other to write 7 songs in 7 days based on prompts offered by the organizer. The prompt on the day I wrote this one was "you can't take it with you." I just finished the thought: "when you go." 

Accumulate to guard and then defend…

I was between jobs, between living situations, and between relationships. I had recently put all my possessions in storage, and was about to drive cross-country a number of times for a variety of reasons. So, I literally couldn't take some of it with me. That's the first verse ("all the treasures in your collection").

3. We were lions

Track 3, "We were lions" [listen here], is the title track with the mention of a “journeyman” in the bridge. On most of my albums, I have placed the title track third in the order, and this one fit right in that pattern.

When I kissed you in my mind, it never felt right…

The song was written with a simple fingerpicking pattern that repeats throughout, except for the bridge. The arrangement, by producer Michael Mood who also plays keyboards, fills out the song nicely without overpowering or crowding out the lyrics.

2. Dream vessel

SONGblog continues today with “Dream vessel” [listen here], the second track and original title of the album. After the new songs emerged and the idea for Journeyman started to crystallize, I moved “Dream vessel” to the second track and decided to name my podcast after it. Now I have a theme song for the podcast!

Let me rattle your reason. Let me shatter your cage…
This song was born as part of a songwriting project with Timmy Riordan, of Fearless Songwriting. We both used a bit of poetry by Rumi to write songs on the same day. Our prompt was:

“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.” ― Rumi

1. I am the ocean

Welcome to the SONGblog for Journeyman. This album was originally conceived with the title Dream Vessel, and about half the songs from that project were retained for Journeyman. Many friends have supported the recording through a Kickstarter campaign. I appreciate you all so much.

My inspiration for naming this project is rooted in the themes of travel and different ways of experiencing partnership, with others and with myself. A journeyman is one who is still learning. Inspired by one of my favorite albums, Joni Mitchell’s Hejira (1976), Journeyman traces a series of adventures that take place on external highways and internal pathways of the heart.

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