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copyright 2009 Lee Barber

 

On Making Songs (Let us be animals!)

    I like making up songs because I don‘t understand them. I’ve been unable to sustain interest in much else, including the music business. I also love to paint pictures. I don‘t understand that either. When I ‘write’ a song, and it works, it’s like encountering something that‘s already there. I brush away dead leaves and there it is, a sky blue egg half buried in the ground. Dig carefully…
    When you go out hunting, you have to be very quiet and still before a song will reveal itself. You’re standing there in the tall grass. You’ve got your trombone. Binoculars hang around your neck. And you’re waiting for birds to disrobe. It is said that Johnny Mercer, the guy who penned ’Moon River’, ‘Skylark‘, and ’Someone to Watch Over Me’, would spend hours just laying on the couch with an unfinished song rolling around in his head. He was working, see! Friends of Townes Van Zandt say that no one could be as still as he could.
    What I want, I think, is a song that can’t be explained, but one that makes perfect sense, a song that carries an electrical current, a song that is self propelled, the kind of song that you capture in a jar and have to poke holes in the lid so that it can breathe. I want to sing something that my grandmother and her four brothers would recognize… not a throwback to an earlier time, mind you, but a thing that moves outside of time altogether… a gospel song without religion.
    I’m fascinated by the way a melody, a particular combination of sounds, can take you to a particular place… can make you feel sad or glad, or anything at all. You hear the familiar strains and suddenly you’re back in your girlfriend’s father’s LTD and the radio is playing, and it smells like it did, and it tastes like it did. That’s an amazing thing. Songs are wired to the emotions, emotions are wired to the passage of time. You get sad or excited when you notice time passing, when things change… at least, when you’re awake and breathing, you do. If you’re lucky, you cry in movie theatres. Nothing changes when you’re dead. For me, emotions and feelings are not sentimental bullshit but the difference between being dead and alive, the difference between being machines and animals. Let us be animals, I say! Let us make up songs and sing them to each other!
 

 
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  • seela

    seela austin

    i love this.

    i love this.

copyright 2009 Lee Barber