Diesel is out and it's doing really well, for which I'm happy but that doesn't mean momentum has slowed or stopped on my other projects. (And let's face it, it usually does cause I can be L-A-Z-Y.) An upcoming, nearly finished manuscript is awaiting edits, while I'm halfway through the rough draft on a new one. For the moment this halfway project is called "Songs in the Key of Life" and I'll tell you why.
There's a few reasons why that title keeps circling my brain in regards to this particular soon to be book. The first is Stevie Wonder. His album Songs In the Key of Life was released in September 1975 on the actual day I was born. Pretty cool, but what makes it even cooler is the songs on that album were some of my all time favorites BEFORE I even knew when it hit the market. There was just something about it that called to me in the lyrics and of course, anyone who knows me, knows I'm also a sucker for funk and piano music.
That said, the second is Eric Church. I wasn't much of a Church fan when he debuted however long ago it was. I don't remember the year but I can remember watching the CMA's with my parents and family the night he gave a performance of "Drink in My Hand." Between the ball cap, the aviators and the red solo cup, it just seemed a little too in keeping with the other country music circulating out there, like Luke Bryan, who I also wasn't originally a fan of either because of the same CMA awards where he performed "Shake it for Me", with all those scantily clad women dancing back up. Before you think I'm throwing down on either of these guys, or the women in LB's performance that night, you need to know I'm not. That's not where I'm going with this; not even close. I might be straight, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a nice booty on a chick.... Anyway-
Music has always been a key part of my life and at one time, it was more important than writing ever was or could have been. For as long as I can remember, before I was writing stories, I wrote songs. In high school I sang with a girl in her father's band and we had a chance to go somewhere with it, but she chose a guy over the music and that was that. Back then, I didn't have the confidence in myself to go it alone and then well, a guy happened to me, too. Later on, after my daughter was born, maybe a year or so, I had the opportunity to sing with another band who seemed to be on the up and coming. But after a few practices, I quickly realized they were more interested in trashing their wives and their livers (guilty of abusing my own liver, so totally not judging them for that) than they were seriously playing music. Throughout the years, I had other opportunities with other bands that fell through and eventually, I decided maybe the music path wasn't one I was meant to travel. But that doesn't mean I quit loving it, appreciating it or taking it seriously, which brings me back to Eric Church.
In my opinion back then, when I watched him perform for the very first time, my initial thought was, "Here we go, another guy writing for a niche market just to get radio play." So I rolled my eyes and changed the station any time his music came on. I'll be fair in admitting, after watching him that one and only time on the CMA's, I never gave him a chance again until a few years ago.
I was riding in my then (now scrapped) old truck when I heard Record Year for the first time. I had no idea who sang it, but I'm a lyrics person and the words of that song grabbed a hold of me the way none have in a long time. Since it was on the radio, I couldn't rewind it, so I spent the majority of the rest of my drive scanning radio stations to find it again. A few days later, I was cleaning, had my phone hooked up to Pandora and I heard it again. I dropped the mop I was holding before running to look at the display to see who the artist was. I gave a sorta groan when I realized it was Eric Church, but the song once again grabbed me, so I kept listening. And listening... and listening... and listening. Soon, I decided I had to check out some of his other music just to see if by some chance, Record Year was a fluke hit. I mean, it's happened. There's maybe one Taylor Swift song I like, but she lost me before and after it, so I'm just sayin'. It wasn't like that with Record Year. Because of this particular song, I discovered a whole other world of song writing with his music; a world I've since come to love and appreciate the genius that is wholly Church.
While Kill A Word might make me weepy and there are plenty others I love, too, Record Year remained my favorite of his because not only did it reference Stevie's Songs in the Key of life album (you had me at hello, with that one, Eric), but it also referenced other artists as well. Ones I'd loved my entire life, like New Grass Revival.
I have decidedly eclectic taste in music to put it mildly and when I say that, I mean it. Like I said, I'm a lyrics person. Tupac's Dear Mama will sit right next to Bill Wither's Ain't No Sunshine, which sits next to Garth Brooks' When There's No One Around before falling right into Jackson Browne or Jim Croce. And Lord help me, how I love some Jerry Lee Lewis. Especially when he does gospel and since I'm a Pagan, that should say something about how much I love Jerry. The point is, I could sit here all day and name off those people who turned my head with their song writing ability, but I'll spare you. Suffice it to say the genius in Record Year's lyrics had my head turning around like Linda Blair's in the Exorcist. Yeah, for me, it was that good.
I think we can all relate to finding a coping mechanism when our hearts get broken and that's what this song is all about. Falling back on music when you feel like you've lost everything and rediscovering those parts of yourself, which fell to the wayside before said heartbreak occurred. For me, music is where I've always gone for consolation. It's never failed me; even if it was nothing more than standing in the kitchen belting out Sam Cooke because shit just went awry and I needed to release some pent up frustration. Because music is my method of madness when I'm hurt or angry (that'll get you an earful of NWA at my house) and I have found myself in the position more than once where alcohol went hand in hand with listening to it, Record Year rang true for me. Probably more true than any other song I can think of.
As I continued to listen to those lyrics though, a story began to play out in my head. Unlike Diesel which just kind of organically wrote itself from some unknown place, this new project, "Songs in the Key of Life" was inspired completely by Eric Church's writing ability. I'm not positive I'll keep the title but for now, that's what I'm calling it. I'm pretty excited about it and I hope (fingers crossed) it keeps developing the way it's been so I can eventually share it with you readers. Until then, check out Record Year's Lyrics.
As always, thanks for reading my brain vomit. <3
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