Friday, January 30, 2009

No new song

I spent last night sick as a dog in my hotel room. So, I was not able to release a new song this week. Tonight I am going to the Afterthoughts Cafe in Little Rock to play a few songs, so again the new song will just have to wait until next week.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Facts Versus Feelings

I have yet to write the Song of the Week, and I'm hoping to find inspiration on the road. I'm a fan of audio books, especially if I'm going to be driving alone, it really helps pass the time. Tomorrow I will be listening to Neil Gaiman's 'Graveyard Stories' as I make the six hour trek from Shelbyville to Cabot, Arkansas.

My goal for this week will be to focus on the story. As a rule I don't write songs that tell a very specific story overtly, quite opposite to writing a song for country music. In country music it is completely okay to construct a song in which it is very transparent as to what it is about.

The problem with writing so transparently, is that it narrows the audience that can relate to the story. A song about an angry female destroying her cheating boyfriend's truck, for instance, is more beloved by a scorned female than by a male who has never cheated or been cheated on. So for him, the story does nothing for him, though the music he might still appreciate.

I write with a theme or a story in mind, but I try to keep it vague enough that each person that listens can attach their own thoughts as to what the song means. Thus the song means something very personal to them. It tells not only my story, but their own. I find it is easiest to achieve this by focusing on how something feels after it happens, as opposed to what has happened itself. I will now coin this style of songwriting as 'Emotional Aftermath' writing, and you can quote me on that (or create a wiki about it).

A good mainstream example of this theory in work is 'Brick' by Ben Folds' Five. The song was indeed written about the experience of undergoing an abortion, but the song focuses more on how it feels to go through this than the process itself. So if you didn't know what the song was about, there are lines in the song like 'feeling more alone than I ever have before' that you might relate to though you may have never personally experienced an abortion.

The second nature to writing like this is it gives a song a second life. If you already like a song, and there are some intriguing elements to the song that make you guess what it is about, then when you find out from the artist what it is about then it makes you enjoy the song even more. Listening to the song now is as interesting as watching 'The Sixth Sense' a second time; all of the clues were there but the artist cleverly disguised them from you.

So onward with this quest, hopefully by Friday I will have a new song on the blog!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gangsta's Paradise

Well, what started out as a joke, turned into one of our favorite songs to play. We thought we'd share this fun with you. Careful... its infectious.

I don't know why it is clipping Jimmy out of the scene here. You can view it on youtube here to see a better version.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Julia: More on the Meaning

This was a very interesting song for me to write, and I'm on the fence about it really. But here is how it went down. I wrote the intro and the CODA this summer, sitting outside at the park waiting to meet a friend. I didn't really have a good place to put the few parts I liked and then this Monday I was writing a new song and the themes seemed similar so I attempted to mesh the two songs. However, I am not fully convinced that it worked.

As for the lyrics, pretty typical Chase stuff. I envision a childhood friend who you have a crush on but never tell. Then you both grow up and she gets married, and then one day you see her and miss her and play the 'what if' game. However, instead of being downtrodden about this, the song very simply states at the very end, "Wait for me next time."

The song is not indicative of any one person in my life, but rather the memories and feelings of several made into a cohesive, figurative person: Julia.

I will rate this song myself, so that tomorrow you will be able to tell me how you really feel. One a scale of one-ten (ten being the best song I could write) this is about a 3.5 for me. I feel like there are some good things about this song, but I feel like I can write a much better song than this. I am glad however, to complete my goal to write and video cast a new song this week, I feel good in accomplishing that goal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ava vs. the Sun

In this corner: Ava Perryman
Age: 3 years old
Special skills:
  • Surprisingly good at hide and seek (both hiding and seeking)
  • Eats like a champion
  • Good at getting under her sister's skin
  • Counts to 16 (loses it at 17 every time)

Favorite insults:
  • Poo Poo Head
  • Dirty Diaper Baby

And in this corner: The Sun
Age: 4.57 billion years old
Special skills:
  • Radiation
  • Giving tans

Favorite Attacks:
  • Solar flares
  • Skin cancer

The scenario:
Heading east towards the babysitter's house at 8 in the AM. Ava's car seat is facing the sun. The sun is all up in her eyes.

Round one:
She tries to shield her eyes with the hood from her coat, but gets mad when all she has accomplished is messing up her hair. In reference to her messed up hair, she exclaims, "I want it to look pretty." She curses the sun for having a hand in this, and continues to be blinded.

Round two:
Hannah tries putting her hand in front of Ava's eyes, but she can't reach far enough. Seeing this Ava tries using her own hands. As she covers up she says, "Get out of my face, Sun."

Round three:
The battle is over. We arrive at our destination, parked facing north. After wining and complaining about the sun all the way to Ms. Destiny's, the sun has won but not until Ava gets the last word: "I hate the Sun."


I have a new idea for the blog format, going to test it this week. Post a song and the lyrics one day. Then post my influences or any additional side notes about the writing of the song another day. Finally, the last day of my blogging a chance for readers to rate my current song. When I play in public I have applause and body language to help gauge the success of a song, I feel this will help me in getting better at writing as well as provide a format for songwriting fans that allows them to engage in this process with me.

Getting closer to the satellites;
We walk on hallowed ground.
How much further do you think we lack?
The moon keeps staring down.

We walk in silence,
Dream in violence,
Team in the shadows of
What once was love.

I hope that we will find a way
To beat them all at their own
Game some day.

I know there's bound to be a better way
To get from A to B
And back to A.

It's been a long time,
But please don't let it all
Slip out of your mind,

Is that a river or the passing light
From the freeway underneath?
Either way you try to jump the gap.
You stop my breath at least.

Stay the distance,
Save resistance,
Team in the shadows of
What once was love.

I hope that we will find a way
To beat them all at their own
Game some day.

I know there's bound to be a better way
To get from A to B
And back to A.

It's been a long time,
But please don't let it all
Slip out of your mind.

Lets keep it undefined,
As pure as the snow
That brightens our eyes,

I can see right through ya,
And its through ya
I feel so alive.

Can't you see I'm talking to ya,
And all ya do is
Just wait for me next time.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Plan

Instead of the Monday-Friday scheduled posts, I am going to make my goal each week to get a live performance on here. There will be other non-musical posts, but only as they arise. I may go back to the daily posts again, I liked that it challenged me to post everyday, and I liked the consistency. For now, however, I am just going to focus on songwriting.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Poetic Friday: "Three Times Twice"

This may be the last installment of Poetic Friday. I've had fun writing these poems, but I need to focus some more energy on the music, and just insert more poetry into my lyrics. I may come back in 6 months and do this again, but for now I'm done. Interesting tidbit about this last poem, I hear it in my head as a rap. Enjoy.

Three Times Twice

things with broken wings can't fly
you're wrapping string
with hurried hands
around threading spools
and why

we're as calm as bombs
we're as cold as hell
we're the crater, the ash,
but not the crash itself
we're the definition
of undefined
the center, the seed,
but never the rind

you brought thoughts without grounds
and words without sounds
surrounding like an army
or a funneling cloud
as I'm tunneling down
in the absence I'm lost
is this price of love:
three times twice the cost

my tenure at stake
an investment in pain
like a whipping crack snapping
the air pummeled in space
leaving all but your face
saving all but your grace
a bittersweet I can't taste
but rather remembered in haste

candle lights compete for light
dancing shadows behind
and for me and my comfort
they stand at a distance in time
as a checker boarded line
stretches out in my mind
the knight and the bishop
and the queen all decline

to finish, to start, to pause, and adjust
to be still of mind: one moment's request
to be more of yourself
requires less of your best

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Live on Thursday: "Restless Passenger"

Alright, two days of fun, now its back to the stuff I feel more comfortable doing. Get ready to see my forehead and Jimmy's large biceps! A huge thanks to Jimmy for participating with me on this. It was late and I can not play the piano -oh, that's why I keep looking down- but despite the hesitance I think it turned out okay.

You can read my lyrics from a previous post here.

Restless Passenger

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Words on Wednesday: Zombie Love

To catch anyone up to speed that didn't read last week's 'Words on Wednesday', I challenged myself to stop being so serious and deep all the time and write a song about being in love with a zombie. As promised...

A Love that Won't Die

Driving home alone;
I'm afraid.
As the sun sets,
Figures move in the shade.

Every shadow that moves,
I think it might be you.
Through my bullet proof glass
I dream of what I'd do.

Oh, just the chance to be alone,
If you'd stop gnawing on my bones.

Our love is like a flower,
But the petals refuse to die.
The grave can not hold you,
But neither can I.

We we're driven apart
By deadly biological wars.
You want to eat out my heart,
But it's already yours

The moonlight now
Fills your eyes.
Hunger drives you
Into the night.

Is it love that compels you,
Or a thirst for eating flesh?
I see beauty, as well as bones
Protruding out of your dress.

Oh, the chance to look into your eyes,
And you not munch on my insides.

Our love is like a sonnet,
That never runs out of lines.
The grave can not hold you,
But neither can I.

We we're driven apart
By deadly biological wars
You want to eat out my heart
But it's already yours

Can't you see what you to do me?
As I push the couch in front of the door,
I wish that there was something more.

Can't you see this is killing me?
It's all in the way I feel about you in
My heart, as you consume my lower abdomen.

Our love is like a river
That never reaches the sea.
The grave can not hold you,
And now it can't hold me.

We we're driven apart
But now you're all I adore.
You want to eat out my heart;
I want to eat out yours.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday's Photo Fun: G.I. Jesus

I give you "Nativity de la Army Men"

Clint and I made this with exacto knives, a glue gun, and three bags of plastic army men. We did this for a Christmas ornament contest at a holiday get together with friends. Just look at the attention to detail. Mary, for instance, her hair and bountiful womanliness do not come standard, we had to work a little extra for that.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday's Mutterings of One: "Changes"

Hang in there guys, I'm working on designing a new site integrated with my blog, youtube channel, and myspace page in effort to do a better job at promoting my music. I appreciate the support through this transition, and it should be very cool when I am done... if my ideas and the finished product mesh, that is.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Poetic Friday: "Write Down Some Words"

Write Down Some Words

A black bird abandons a brick roof
To perch above a traffic light
Do the words shape the world around you
Does the world change the words you recite

And the rain can not resemble your tears
The way that change can not resemble your heart
And the pain can disassemble your fears
The way the end represents where you start

You watch the sunset for the first time
It plummets down into a tree-faced earth
Some sights affect more than our eyes
Some words mean more than meaning's worth

You see the tail lights of a rusty truck
Disappear into the silvery sleet
You wish aloud, covet in silence,
Write down some words, and go to sleep

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Live on Thursday: "Over the Lattice"

I'm really using the blog to its full advantage on this song, because this is a song I wrote about three years ago and have never been that impressed with. Honestly, I was afraid if I didn't record it I would forget how to play it, and forever lose the song (whether its good or bad) like so many songs I've written before it.

I will say this about the song, it is the most intricate guitar I have ever attempted to write/play while singing. That being said, my grievance with the song is it has never felt that catchy to me, but after all this time I still enjoy all the guitar parts.

I've never said this before on here, I'm open to negative criticism as well. If you guys hear a song or see words you don't like, don't be afraid to say, "You know, I liked your other stuff better. This is to over the top, etc." Just giving you free reign. That's a little hard for a lot of us, because we live by the "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" mantra. This is art, however, and it is subjective. I never expect every person to like every song I write, and feedback one way or another has always been beneficial to my growth as a musician.

Over the Lattice

Over the lattice, she climbs,
And over the back gate.
Into the garden, he finds
Footprints from her escape.

The letters that you sent
Have all returned; she's gone.
Photos lie in pieces
Where you might as well belong.

From another man.

She thinks it's a different plan.

Somewhere her feet have now stopped.
The window her eyes retrace.
Out there he's bound to lie
Half empty, half that won't replace.

The letters that you sent
Have all returned; she's gone.
Photos lie in pieces
Where you might as well belong.

From another man.

She thinks it's a different plan.

Look how far she goes.
Look how far.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Words on Wednesday: "Inertia"

A simple song, but I wanted it to be. So we'll call it a success. I draw from personal situations, emotions, memories, etc, but my goal is always to present these ideas in a format people can relate to. Before I do an unwarranted pat on the back, what about you blog readers? Is this song something you can relate to? That's the theme for this week's 'Words on Wednesday', being able to relate.

Next week we'll take a break from my deep and dark side, and tackle writing a song about being in love with a zombie. You know you're intrigued :)


Should I want more?
Do I deserve less?
Should I explain?
Do I digress?

It's not that you're wrong,
It's just not that it's right.
It's not like I am strong
Enough to handle this fight.

The line that I walk,
Must it always be paper thin?
Should I give up?
Should I give in?

Is this blood on my hands,
A spot I can't clean?
Are you more than a name?
Is this more than a dream?

A life left spent to question,
'What might have been?'
Should I give up
When I want to give in?
Oh, should give up,
When this is the closest that I've been.

I always feel more
Than the rate at which I obtain.
And I always negate
What you give, inspite of my pain.

If you could read my mind,
Or just read between the lines therein.
Should I give up?
I should give in.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday's Photo Fun

"Well - as you all know - there is a reason we have brought you all together..."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday's Mutterings of One: Music vs. Words

What gets your attention more, the music of a song or the words?

I have always advocated that the most important part of a song is it's catchy-ness. Does it get stuck in your head? Take songs like the Macarina which has words most of us can't understand, yet that silly song gets stuck in your head (against your will).

Having said that, there are phrases that really leave impressions on us. They invoke emotions, or make us recall memories. "The way that light attaches to a girl" -Counting Crowes, Long December.

This quote comes from the film "Music and Lyrics," and I really like the way Sophie Fisher (played by Drew Barrymore) puts it here:
"A melody is like seeing someone for the first time. The physical attraction. Sex... But then, as you get to know the person, that's the lyrics. Their story. Who they are underneath. It's the combination of the two that makes it magical."
I couldn't agree more with this idea that the music is the physical attributes, and the lyrics are the personality.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Poetic Friday: "No Divisors"

This is my third poetic post (for Fridays anyways), and its becoming increasingly easier to just let it go. My latest thought on the subject of poetry is this: don't control it, let it happen, then see where it will take you. I am beginning to think this will help the words in my songwriting as well, though I would never be this abstract.

These poems are mine, by the way, I don't know if I have been clear on that yet. If anything speaks to you let me know, that's the whole point of this blog. Sharing and interacting.

No Divisors

wish the world
would stop
long enough
for me to get off

moments pause
fractions hang
on dividing lines
dividends afloat

love was once
now astoundingly
a hum

from other rooms
from underneath
from up above
and under thumb

close line pins
to hang it on

misread cues
to blame it on
self relenting

and overthrown
the skin we own
to keep us in

bones as bars
and eyes as locks
And waning clocks
And waning clocks