I do not write as often or as much as I once did. This isn't a bad thing. I have notebooks full of ideas and even finished songs. Editing, polishing, and getting comfortable performing take time.
There was a lot of time that passed between my initial phase of song writing when I was in my teens and twenties and my current phase of performing and recording those songs. Twenty plus years erases other people's memories of any negative events that may have inspired some of the lyrics. When I was in my twenties I had someone ask me to never write a song about him. It was too late. Some people write happy, optimistic songs. I am only very occasionally some people.
My current writing habits mimic the scribbling of my younger self. Words scattered about. Fragments of thoughts. Complete songs popping into existence in a couple days or even hours. I don't have much luck penning epic tales. That doesn't keep me from trying every now and again.
I look at highly organized individuals and wonder how much more I could accomplish even as I know I have accomplished more than I ever imagined. The audience I've acquired well exceeds what this introvert ever anticipated. I do not write as often or as much as I once did, but I write, create, and inspire.
The final track on Sometimes There's a Way is "Sometimes Eyes".
Back in my early songwriting days I had a preference for short titles. “Sometimes in the Darkness” and “Sometimes Eyes” ended up both having the title “Sometimes” so I had to rename them. Since I picked both of them to be on my first release, I decided to go with Sometimes There’s A Way for the album title.
“Sometimes Eyes” was one of those songs that went through some editing. There is repetition and a definite structure to the verses. The chorus was added later. I had to craft a smooth transition and merge them into one song. Looking at the song now it seems so simple. The time and effort I put into it was well worth it.
I put a lot of thought into which songs would start and end the album. “Sometimes in the Darkness” is about fooling yourself that a relationship is better than it is. Ending the album with “Sometimes Eyes”, a song about clearly knowing it is better for a relationship to be over, brings the theme of broken relationships full circle.
The 11th track on Sometimes There's a Way is "Gathering Stones".
“Gathering Stones” is all about feeling isolated, alone, and hopeless. It’s about trying to protect yourself from rejection and ending up cutting yourself off from the world. Sometimes, even when you are at your best, reaching out doesn’t relieve the deep ache of loneliness. It serves as a reminder that others know that feeling of loneliness. It is a common ground that is often obscured by the busyness of everyday life.
The 10th track on Sometimes There's a Way is "I Guess I Thought".
“I Guess I Thought” came about because I wanted to write a song that used the same chord progression throughout the entire song. That sticks in my head because it seems a strange inspiration, but inspiration can be found everywhere. Music and art are especially wonderful for trying out ‘concepts’, even when those concepts aren’t ground breaking or are just new to you.
This song contains some of my favorite lines that I’ve written: “...faster than anyone I’ve ever had the pleasure to know”, “away from the safety of its arms and left you to grieve”, and so forth. The result is a not-quite-standard melody that I personally really enjoy.
The 9th track on Sometimes There's a Way is "Journey From Nowhere".
Since many songs I write relate to romantic relationships in some way, I set out to write a story without even a hint of romance. The result was the pied piper type tale of "Journey from Nowhere". It is a story about how easily misled people are by meaningless phrases and how they can be lulled into becoming accomplices by refusing to hear anything other than what they want to hear. It is a clear warning that not everyone will heed.
Many of my songs capture a moment or express a feeling. This is one that tells a story. Initially I was unsure about this song. It was really a stepping stone from on-the-fly, intuitive songwriting to coming up with a concept and developing a song around that. This song has come to be one of my favorites, and I am so happy to be able to share it.
The 8th track on Sometimes There's a Way is "Let Me Believe".
The many ways relationships can end offer songwriters endless possibilities to express love lost. “Let Me Believe” is all about moving on from a relationship before you are ready to face that it is over. The song starts with a steady bounce from one chord to the next. There is a hint of lightheartedness and feeling of moving forward even as the lyrics point to denial. “Just walk away and Let Me Believe.”
As with many of my songs, this was written at a time when I was producing massive amounts of poetry and lyrics. All the music I wrote then felt to me like it was easy to write. The main reason for this is that I just ignored all the less formed and incomplete pieces. There is definitely a bit of denial involved when I start thinking songwriting was easier for me in the past.
The 7th track on Sometimes There's a Way is "Miss Me".
Some songs take a lot of finessing and rewriting to feel finished. Other songs just seem to spring forth fully formed. Part of why “Miss Me” is so short is because it was written in one go. No agonizing over word choice or chord progression. Just a rush of cool sounding music and lyrics that perfectly captured the feeling that I would be missed when the relationship was over. Even being so short the song felt complete.
The 5th and 6th tracks on Sometimes There's a Way are "One Thing True" and "Breathe".
During performances, I usually play "Breathe" right after "One Thing True" as if they were one song. They were written about two months apart with no intention of one being paired with the other. It was by accident that I discovered one song blended quite nicely into the other.
"One Thing True" came about because of the title of a book I hadn’t read and knew only the title: One True Thing by Anna Quindlen. The song has absolutely nothing to do with the book beyond the similar title. It was just the spark that got me writing. What I wrote was a sad song full of longing, aching, and wanting to give up. It evokes feelings of despair and depression. Obviously, the answer to “I know I care but do you?” is "No, you don’t care."
I always think of "Breathe" as a much more uplifting song that they lyrics might initially make it seem. It’s a song tinged with anger and yet filled with the reality of being much better off by not wasting time on someone who doesn’t care. I imagine it as the beginning of healing after a bad relationship.
Pairing the two songs together works in more than just an acoustically pleasing way. It creates the story of longing and depression turning into anger and acceptance.
The fourth track on Sometimes There's a Way is "Remember Me"
"Remember Me" is one of the few songs I’ve written solely from direct experience. It describes exactly what I felt the moment I wrote it, and it was written with one person in mind. Most of my songs start with a line or two about a certain person or event and then I find inspiration from other sources to flesh the idea out.
This is one of the sweeter songs I’ve written. It is more about romantic love not blossoming than love lost. The heart of the song is wanting to know you made enough of an impact to be remembered. People can relate to not wanting to be forgotten.
When I was asking what songs to record this song came up a few times. It was a definite on a list of maybes.
The third track on Sometimes There's a Way is "When It Comes to Love"
"When It Comes to Love" is a song that encompasses the realism of how relationships aren’t perfect and sometimes end as well as the optimism that there is more love to experience. It’s very much a song about being hopeful even though things don’t ever seem to work out quite right. It might seem counter-intuitive to call this one of the happy songs I’ve written, but that is definitely how I see it.
Society views relationships ending as a negative thing. Hence the having no luck in love aspect of the lyrics. When I wrote the song I had not had much luck in long term relationships. What I did have was plenty of wondering if a romantic interest would become more. Even after thinking I would never feel that way again, I would meet someone and feel that way again. Eventually I learned that relationships coming to an end could be a very good thing. Occasionally the end was better than the beginning.
"When It Comes to Love" was a last minute addition to the album. It was one of the songs I recorded just because I had some extra time one day. Now I couldn’t imagine the album without it.