SONGS AND WRITERS

To the “faithful few” who regularly read this blog I apologize for not posting for several days. There are a few reasons for that; I’ve been preoccupied with some other things that I was finishing up and I’ve been preoccupied with hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I think I mentioned that I have relatives in the Houston area and some friends as well, but I have a daughter and son-in-law in St. Pete so the weather conditions have been my focus for a few days. In an earlier post I discussed The Eagles’ song “After the Thrill is Gone”; one line in the song refers to “empty pages and a frozen pen” and that’s another reason for not posting. I do enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts and feelings, but sometimes, I just sit and stare at the computer screen with nothing to say. I suppose everyone who has written anything knows that feeling well.

I’m always fascinated to hear songwriters talk about the inspiration for a particular song and how it “came together”. Sometimes, they say, they wrote the song in a few minutes and it became a big hit. Others seem to be a struggle. One interesting story came from Ray Stevens and his big hit “Misty” (check out “Ray Stevens Misty live” on YouTube and hear him tell the story). Basically he said they were in the studio rehearsing for a show (not to record) and during a break they started fooling around with an old love ballad. But it started sounding pretty good so they miked everyone and recorded it; it took two takes and won a Grammy for best arrangement of the year.

Kerry Livgren, founding member of the group Kansas, wrote two songs that are high on my list of favorites: “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind”. I didn’t realize for a long time that these songs were so tied to his faith, but it is kind of obvious when you listen to the lyrics. I think he wrote “Dust in the Wind” overnight during the time Kansas was recording an album and it started as a finger exercise; but his wife casually mentioned that he should do something with that song. So immediately after he had written “Carry On” he wrote “Dust” and the two songs put Kansas on the charts. If you would like to hear Livgren talk about his faith here is a ten-minute clip. https://youtu.be/qmdQGLsBtPw

In 1989 Kathy Mattea released “Where’ve You Been”; the song was co-written by her husband Jon Vezner and Don Henry and was based on Vezner’s grandparents. I had the privilege of hearing him tell the story of the song a few years ago; you can hear him tell the story and sing the song here: https://youtu.be/sCwAsztQiOU

I could do this for hours, but I think this is probably sufficient to express my great admiration for anyone who can write, sing and record beautiful songs.

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