Thursday, February 02, 2017

Confessions of the Aspiring Songwriter (and Collaborator)

A few days ago on Facebook, I mentioned a song that my cousin Jack and I wrote when we were twelve years old. He's one of four people with whom I've collaborated in creating songs, a grand total of one of which is copyrighted. (That's Gift in Our Arms, a baptismal hymn for which I wrote the words. The entry for it on the Copyright Encyclopedia web site is shown above. I looked it up for the nuts of it.)

I've always made up songs and constantly keep a fresh batch of new ideas on my smart phone. Some day, I may even get around to learning how to play them and record them.

One of the collaborations, only partially completed, was a song my brother and I wrote together on a cold night, walking on a blanket of snow in northern Ichigan (Ohio State fans will understand the spelling) a little over thirty-six years ago.

Unlike other songs I've written with others, both of us contributed to the whole melody and both of us contributed to all of the lyrics, to the point where I'm not sure what came from who. I'm sure that it was influenced by the Eagles, as it's kind of a country rock tune. Lyrically, it's a lament for a relationship gone bad. (I once heard that the more men involved in writing together, the more syrupy, sad songs you'll get out of the deal.)

Anyway, just for fun, here are the lyrics as best I remember them.
Times used to be we were all that we had
And what we had was enough
But now I don't know, 'cause it's starting to show
That maybe our love isn't tough
Tough enough to take the bad times
Tough enough to hang on
Tough enough to take the sad times
Tough to admit we're wrong

I'm wondering
I'm wondering
On this cold, dark night
If the sky should fall
And we call it off
Would it make our two lives right?
Pull out the handkerchiefs!

I haven't seen or talked with my brother for more than six years and I miss him. If I ever get to see him again, maybe we can finish this song together.

[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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