Oh, the things your parents say ("Words of Wisdom")
I thought it might be fun to write a bit about the songs on the new EP (Broken Record), just to give you folks a little background in how each song came to be or something unique about the song itself... So first up is "Words of Wisdom" the first track on the EP!!
This song started from a prompt that I gave myself after the North East Regional Folk Alliance meeting last November during a workshop session entitled "Wisdom of the Elders." Upon reflecting on the things that I heard from my parents... or from grandparents... or sayings that overheard that struck me at that particular time... I realized that there were a couple of stand-out phrases that I've built my life upon.
One of the idioms that my mother would always say is "don't grow up too fast." I grew up in a single parent home and I was an only child, so cooking my own dinner and keeping myself entertained was nothing unusual. "Entertainment" included having conversations with one of my pets, "composing" songs on the trombone or tuba or whatever instrument I was playing at the time and/or standing on a rock outside of my house and "conducting" the score of The Phantom of the Opera as the cornfield in front of me swayed back and forth. I was in my own land of Pan, a land that I want to be able to visit as an adult, so now this phrase is a mantra that I use to keep myself in the moment. Life flies by if you're not careful, and if you haven't noticed, the weeks and months and years all seem to go by faster as we get older...
Another phrase that was bestowed upon me that showed up in this song is Don't work too hard. Which is not to say do a poor job of whatever your doing, nor does it mean don't break a sweat... in the song I use these words to describe what this phrase means to me:
And life’s too short to let the man pull you under Get consumed by your working life, you will live no longer
After I moved to Boston, I started working a retail job for a big chain store - a job that limited the time that I could spend doing music... and working retail slowly took over that aspect of life for me. I went from doing 50 shows a year, to 30 then to 20. From writing a couple of songs a month, to barely writing at all. When I finally admitted I wasn't happy with that trajectory, the door opened for me to quit that retail job. Since that time, I've released Of Love & Whiskey, and now this EP, Broken Record and I'm back to playing more shows than when I first moved to Boston, and I'm traveling a lot more to perform.
That's not to say I've found my perfect happy medium, either. I currently have about four jobs... writing and performing music, all of the office side of music (booking, promotion, etc.) fixing bicycles at my local bike shop, and acting as an independant contractor for a scientist in Texas... and I would probably make even better music if I worked less with these other jobs and I would probably do better at these other jobs if I did less music, but the later is not going to cut it for my own personal growth or general appreciation of life.
What it comes down to is that I've still got some figuring out to do. But don't we all? I'll be honest, I don't want to have everything figured out all the time... because that's boring. So in the mean time, I'm going to lean on the mantras that are in this song and try to bask in the times that I can be here now and appreciate every moment that I've got.
That's all for now... next week is the third track on the album: "So Long." As a prelude, do you remember that one time that you dated that person (or your best friend dated that person) who was... well... crazy?! Yeah, this a song for that.
Words of Wisdom
Momma once said, momma once said Don’t try, and grow up too fast Don’t grow up too fast, grow up too fast You’ll surely be wishing for your innocence back These years will pass you by, like rushing water And the shifting sands of time, they will yield no longer
Oh, momma said, my momma said, Momma said, yeah momma said, Don’t grow up too fast
Poppa told me, poppa told me Don’t work too hard, you’ll be working for your life Don’t work too hard dear, You work too hard I can see it in your eyes, you are run by your 9 to 5 And life’s too short to let the man pull you under Get consumed by your working life, you will live no longer
Poppa said, yeah poppa said Poppa said, yeah poppa said Don’t work too hard
Ma and Pa, where are you now? I’m stuck in a rut and I can’t get out. Your words of wisdom I need them now
Don’t grow up fast, Don’t work to hard, Don’t die young