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The Ex ("So Long")

This week's edition of the story behind the song is brought to you by... your ex-partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/lover/friend/soulmate and it's called "So Long" - no, like really, please leave. Oh, you're not going to leave, then I'm going to kick you out... it's that kind of song. To be honest, I'm not really sure that I've had a "crazy ex"... I mean, slightly unstable? yes. Makes you want to want to pull your hair out sometimes? well sure. There are many people that I love, quite dearly, and I know they are not all meant to play a starring role in my life. Thank goodness for therapy. Anyway, I wrote this song from the perspective of someone who is totally in love AND has realized that it would likely be better/healthier/smarter to NOT be in a relationship with said person that they love. This was the first song that I finished writing on the banjo and it totally started as a joke... something about the banjo immediately accessed the somewhat corny/funny area of my brain - an area that I didn't feel like I could access on the guitar. Now, maybe this is all cerebral - maybe I never allowed myself to write funny songs on the guitar - or maybe, this unique 5-stringed instrument that is often the punchline of jokes in the folk world decided to take revenge at my guitar and help me write a funny song. In the first verse I mention 'Kalamazoo'... just for the record, I've never been there. I've never dated anyone from that particular city not whose parents live there... (And to be honest, I'm not sure if I could ever play this song in Kalamazoo proper, as it might be like referencing the crazy uncle in front of said crazy uncle. Maybe someday I'll find out...) ...but there is something about this place that feels so far away and that along with the fact that it has some funny sounds in it (and the word zoo) seemed entertaining just to have it in the song. After the first verse arrived I made it a game to see if I could actually finish this song as a happy/crazy breakup song. I started brainstorming all of the things that might make me slightly offended if my ex had done them... like packing up all of my belongings or calling a family member to tell them I was going to stay with them... and just kept rolling from there. Given that it was the first banjo song that I had ever written, I decided that in lieu of having a lyrical bridge, that it should have a musical bridge... and that I should do something fancy with the banjo... In the land of bluegrass, I believe they call this sort of musical bridge a "breakdown," but I can't really do many fancy things with the banjo, so someday, if this gets recorded again, I'm going to have some rad mandolin player play some awesomely good licks over that musical bridge. Or better yet, by the next time, I'll likely be a more proficient banjo player!! This is also the only song on the whole EP that has a second instrument on it. After recording the banjo and vocals, Neale and I walked away and had some dinner and when we came back to listen, he said that it was missing something (and given his ear, I usually trust him on matters like this)... and I was missing something myself: some water, so I went back upstairs to get some, and by the time I came back down, Neale had set up a new track in Pro Tools session to record bass and said "it needs low-end. So lay something down." And that, my friends is how this song came together. Next week, I'll be giving you the lo-down on the song "Bigger Prize." Until then, have a wonderful week!! -B So Long Better put on your jacket darlin’ Better tie up your boots, It’s a long way from here To Kalamazoo Let me see your scarf there darlin Looks a little loose Why don’t you come over here, Let me tighten it for you I’ve been waitin for this moment for so long, so long I’ve been counting down the days, counting up the ways to say I’ve been dreaming in full color since I decided Adios my love, fair the well, you gotta go away I changed the oil in the car there for ya, I checked the pressure in the tires You’ve got a full tank of gas And your dad knows you’re staying for a while I packed you bags up with care, my sweetheart, I called the moving company I don’t mean to rush you, But baby, there’s somewhere I’ve got to be I’ve been waitin for this moment for so long, so long I’ve been counting down the days, counting up the ways to say I’ve been dreaming in full color since I decided Adios my love, fair the well, you gotta go away Breakdown (aka musical bridge) I’ve been waitin for this moment for so long, so long I’ve been counting down the days, counting up the ways to say I’ve been dreaming in full color since I decided Adios my love, fair the well, you gotta go away


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Bethel Steele

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