This post (click here) from the end of last year marked a dramatic shift in topic material for my blog. I wrote about the experience of a relationship that ended and the lessons that I learned. I decided to share this experience for many reasons, not the least of which was the need to give a creative outlet for the strong feelings I was having at the time. It was an exercise in vulnerability to stretch the boundaries of my comfort zone in order to heal and connect with people, whether friends or strangers; whoever happens upon my blog. That post, by the way, was the most popular and most visited of any post I wrote in 2017. I guess in the end, it is human emotion that trumps over nature, travel, beer, and art.
Of course I won’t turn my blog into one about psychology, but I definitely see the benefit for myself to once in a while come back on the topic of my own self awareness and vulnerability. Thus I have decided to do something that I have never done in my life and that is to post a couple songs that I made while I was going thru the breakup discussed in the aforementioned post.
As I mentioned in the post, having a relationship end in the blink of an eye pushed me to turn to something for comfort that I hadn’t even touched in over 7 years, and that was my guitar. I never was even a remotely polished guitar player and 7 years of rust was clearly evident the moment my callous-free fingers touched the strings. I discovered that there was a pretty cool music shop within a five minute walk of my apartment that I had no idea was there, so the first thing I did was go buy new sets of strings, new picks, and a Marshall amplifier for my 1983 Fender Strat, much to the chagrin of my neighbors I’m sure.
Getting reacquainted with my guitars was not about the guitars themselves. It was about giving myself a vehicle to express the messages I wanted to send to my girlfriend in a more powerful and thoughtful way and to channel all of this emotional energy into something positive. I wasn’t about to set out on a mission to write guitar songs though. I wanted to create basically background music to sing the words that I wanted her to hear. Which brings me to my singing voice. I am not going to pretend at all that I can sing. I am sure my neighbors can attest to that and they know damn well every time I unsuccessfully go for the Steve Perry or Bruce Dickinson high-notes when I am trying to sing in the shower. But nevertheless, I still go for it. And the low notes aren’t much better.
For those of you who know me, I am a complete metalhead. I listen to bands such as Symphony X, Iron Maiden, Volbeat, Five Finger Death Punch, and so on. These songs I made were not born out of the music I love to listen to. They are maybe closer to a really awful, untalented, 1970’s version of Ed Sheeran on a bad day. In fact, there is no inspiration for these songs except for the emotions that I was feeling. I don’t know how they were created or which of the million songs I have heard in my life got dredged up from my subconscious. I simply started strumming some chord progressions and humming over them until I had a vocal melody. Then I wrote down the words that came to my head and sang them into the Voice Recorder app of my Samsung Galaxy. Nothing fancy at all.
For the purpose of this post, I gave the songs titles, but to me they will always be Recording 4 and Recording 5. That is the name that they defaulted to in the app. Before you get to them, I am happy to say that the last few months have brought a lot of healing. So why am I posting these now? Well, because in a way, I don’t want them to just fade away as some meaningless forgotten token of love. I rediscovered them today as I was clearing memory on my phone. These songs helped me heal. They remind me of being alive and of appreciating the experience of life in its ups and downs. I don’t care if they are good or bad. They exist and are part of my life’s travels. And along with that, I will probably never know if she ever actually listened to them. So unless someone else hears them, how do I know they really exist? They are all one take folks, warts and all. So I ask you kindly to imagine orchestras, drums bringing emphasis to dramatic moments, harmony vocals, and real musicianship. Without further ado. My exercise in vulnerability part two… The Musical.
You Save Me (Recording 4)
The first thing you’ll notice is that I am using my Fender Strat with a very outer-spacy setting on my Marshall amp with tons of reverb. It sounds very tinny, I know, but again this is not Pro-Tools, this is strumming into the Voice Recorder app. Of course I deliberately added lyrics with a bit of outer-space touch to them. My apologies to David Bowie for mucking up that genre. In any case, this song is about that moment when you realize the empty space someone has left inside of you and you wish you had appreciated them more.
This Could Be… (Recording 5)
This is the song that I mentioned in the other post. We had a video call arranged one evening and it was going to be about whether she would still feel something and want to give us another chance or whether she was truly ready to move on. It was a work day and when I got home from work, I still had a 45-minute wait until the appointed time. I immediately decided to strum my acoustic guitar to make the time go by more easily. Out of that heartache and anticipation came this song. I need to point out that I do not consider that I am playing the guitar. I am just strumming some basic chords and trying to sing over them. There is only one verse which I sing twice and that’s it. The three dots in the title are deliberate I guess because the outcome of the video call could have gone either of the two ways mentioned in the chorus. However, I knew in my heart which way it would go and after recording this into my phone, I had one of the most gut-wrenching snotfests in my life. Hard to believe I am a metal-head.
Now to click Publish and wait for the cold sweats….