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A song and a sequel 

About a year ago, I release a song, "The Worst Thing", a song about mistakes and regrets. I almost hate to admit the autobiographical nature of this song,.but my art is about being real. Sometimes, you're lucky enough to get a second chance, and when you do, you have to make the most of it. So, I did something I've never done before is write a sequel song.

The song, "I Wanna Make You Happy" is a love song. It's an apology, a thank you, and a promise. I didn't want to it to be a happily ever after, ride off into the sunset fairy tale. I wanted it to be a promise I can keep.  It will be released on Aug. 30.

Like all of my recent songs, this is an entirely a DIY project. I wrote the words and music, performed all the parts, and did all the recording, mixing, and mastering. 

The evolution of a brand new song 

In Nashville, TN, it's really common for pro writers to sit down in a writing session and finish a complete song in 3 hours. Then, they're done and never go back to it unless their publisher asks for a rewrite. 

I've  done that at times when working with Nashville writers, but it's not the usual way I work. Especially now that I'm recording my own material instead of pitching it to other artists. Nashville staff writers write hundreds of songs a year. Most of them never see the light of day. There's a reason they do that. They're writing songs in hope that a major artist will record them. It's pretty much a wild guess what those artists might like, and there are thousands of writers competing for the few availble slots on a record. So, they come up with as much material as they can and hope that some of them hit the target.

I've never been good at the process of banging out a finished song in 3 hours, and I don't have to. I get to choose what I record. When I get an idea that I want to write about, I want to get it right. That's often a long process.

I just finished a new song. To say that it went through transformations is a bit of an understatement. It started out being about one thing and ended up being about something else. There are few words remaining in the finished product from the original. The title change a few times. The melody evolved. It took several days of continual re-writes. There were several times when I thought I was done, only to realize that there were still parts that weren't up to the standard I aim for.

Like my current single, "Thoughts and Prayers", this new one is a political song. I don't specialize in political songs, but I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and tweeting about politics. Sometimes I need to express my opinions through music.

I've been very distressed about the political situation in America and also around the world where there's a wave of authoritarianism undermining democracies. One thing that stands out to me is how certain media outlets work hard at turning people against each other and have deliberately made it hard for people to tell fact from fiction. This was the original topic I set out to write about.

That turned out to be a tricky thing to build a song around. I still want to do it, but in the process of writing it, the focus turned trom the media to the people ourselves who've been turned against each other. And the song turned into a plea for unity. In a strange twist of events, the new song said nothing about the media at all. But.after I finally got all the parts right, the song felt incomplete. So, the final step of the process was to go back to where I started from and add a section on the media.

The song is called "One Great Nation". I hope to record and release it in the not-too-distant future.

Sorry... 

...I had to cancel tonight's livestream. I started feeling dizziness yesterday so I went to the doctor. They decided to send me to the ER out of caution,  so here I am getting all kinds of tests.

They just gave me a pill for the dizziness. And a Covid test.

It's times like this when I realize how fortunate I am to have health insurance, when there are millions of Americans who don't have access to healthcare.

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Update: All the tests came back, and they didn't find anything wrong.  They suggested I stay in the hospital overnight for observation, but I had no desire to do that. So, they gave me medicine to help with the dizziness and sent me home.

It's now 2 days later, and I'm feeling good.

Guns... 

I have a song I was hoping never to have to sing again. It's called "Thoughts and Prayers", imploring American politicians to take action against gun violence in the United States. As you probably know bynow, yesterday outside Chicago marks another major mass shooting. 

I recorded a Youtube video of this song, which was featured in Country Music International. You can watch the video here

Because a gun law was recently passed, I thought it was time to retire this song. But now I'm not sure. I have another song I was getting ready to release as my next single, but now I'm thinking of releasing this one instead. 

I'd love to hear what you think. Should I go ahead with my original plan, or should I release "Thoughts and Prayers"?

Songwriting for the fun of it 

I signed up for a class on song arranging, and I needed a song for the first assignment. I had nothing. So, I decided to just create a "throwaway" song with silly lyrics just to have something. I came up with:

I wanna write a song/I need it for a class/Don't wanna make it long/Just wanna make it fast

Then I needed a chorus. What to say? The most obvious thing was, "So here it is!" Then what? Since it's here, I'm gonna sing it. And you can sing it with me.

Suddenly, I felt like I had something that could be a real song. Something really, really fun. So, I changed up those first few lines, and then I finished the whole thing up.

I love this song. It's a silly song, but it's pure fun. I'd even say it's the most pure fun song I've ever written. And it's a celebration of songs and the joy of songwriting. 

I also think it's cool that I wrote a song about itself. Songs about songs and songwriting aren't usually big  commercial successes, but that's the great thing about being an independent artist. I don't need the approval of a publisher or an A&R department. I just put out what I love, and I hope my fans will also like it.

This song, "Sing It With Me!" is my new single. I hope you will love it half as much as I do.