May 3, 2020, when my last blog was published seems a long time ago. In fact, every month now seems like two months or more. Living through a time that is chaos-filled warps time. Normal is out the window. When we experience something normal-like, it feels more wonderful than it should be. When finally we get to experience that the pandemic is in the past and racial unrest is going there also and we are listening and seeing with our ears and eyes fully open and trying to earnestly help others and we’ve figured out how to deal with the possibility of future big disruptions to world health and how to live with total equality, all of those accomplishments in totality will be the defining moment and our collective mental health will shoot upward. Though I’m hopeful, I see that those are big goals and the totality seems far into the future coming only with different leadership. I began writing a song about changes in thinking and acting I see in myself and others as we all move on a slower path connecting the days counting up during our pandemic. Then May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a policeman in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks on June 12, 2020, died in Atlanta, shot in his back with 2 bullets from a policeman’s gun. Now lots of feelings are thrown together in a single pot to be sorted and mingled. How about too many not respecting minorities properly. How about people including our leaders not protecting the health of each of us.. not doing enough for too many to keep us all from being exposed to the coronavirus and having to experience an impossible medical dilemma that has no current medical solution where death can be the result.
I wrote Alive And Freer while FDR’s speak softly but carry a big stick was taking up residence in my head. The ecclesiastical sound of church bells became important to the sound of the song as I played with notes at the piano while composing. The sound of those bells ringing became a call to act just as they are for many hurrying to the call of church bells every Sunday. I created a strong convincing percussion section using the bass section of my piano assisted by some good mic-ing and mixing. When I finished the song it felt that the song should be the first part of a several song work because I am overwhelmed daily by how much more there is to say. The last line of the first verse, What’s next?, expresses that exactly. Alive And Freer brought together two powerful experiences that everyone is living through globally. When singing and playing the song, I feel that it is part spiritual and part ecclesiastical and part personal journal. The music is in B flat major. This song sings from deep inside addressing what we are experiencing daily, hoping the end of our pandemic and the end of racial inequality will arrive and be permanent. The word NOW in each of the 3 choruses is amplified by the voice to emphasize that this moment in time and our experience with it is painful NOW in the places where each of us lives. I used a E flat minor7/the lowest C as the chord to punctuate NOW, the most important word in the chorus. The world is a NEW OLD place including more who demonstrate draws the song to NOW. Verse 2 opens with It’s Time To Fix This Place and ends with the desire to Push Away Those Who Lead And Would Ruin Our Way Of Life Inside This Space. Next the bridge with a contrasting sound in places using lower vocal sounds and many lower tones in the chords encourages everyone to find their voice and demonstrate softly but with a big stick and put their own wise words down on paper To Light The Night like those who did that eloquently pre-1776 and in 1812 and others since. The third verse sings of unplanned miracles, recognizing that even when things get bad some good things can happen and be a harbinger of hope. Five times the bass sound of church bells ring out during the song and its closing to keep our attention focused while driving firmly to Surviving Needs Smart Thinking From Real Leaders Who Want Us To Stay Alive To Become Freer. Today I heard that our leaders want to avoid counting Covid-19 tests and avoid counting confirmed cases and deaths to deceive us into believing that life with this virus is getting better. They think that will happen if we do not hear the numbers. With clarity we can see the President of our country and his people really do not want us to be Alive And Freer. So the song ends and church bells are heard but drawn out, ending with a soft version of fireworks on piano, a hopeful display pointing to our freedom to choose. We must inspire each other to stay steady and keep going while we search for a leader who can inspire us and keep us all Alive and Freer.
Please listen to Alive And Freer NOW. Use earphones. You will enjoy it more.
This is a different year in every way including how we will celebrate the coming Father’s Day. We have more time to think about how we feel because there are few distractions available. We understand more than ever that our words should never be replaced by something bought. I appreciate as always your loyalty and thank you for telling your friends and family about my music and where to listen to it. I write pop, jazz, comedy and also songs that discuss the political moment. If you are lucky to be a father, why not share some of it with your kids?
Everyone is tired of our life being so limited. Still it is very important to be productive, using productivity to express our feelings. Being mentally healthy as well as being physically healthy will assist our getting through this. Listen to music. It is cathartic. I would be honored if any of my music helped you feel better or helped you to understand more.
Sincerely and my wish for all fathers to enjoy what it feels like to be a father to a son or daughter or both and to feel your kids love and admiration.
June 16, 2020
As of June 23, 2020 there is 133 days before November 3. Think about finding a way to use the 133 days to make a difference that everyone can feel and benefit from.