Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Gracefully Blog.

Ok. So here it is. The long awaited, maybe too long awaited that you forgot you even wanted it, blog entry about the song Gracefully.

This may be a bit of a blabber blog, too...all over the place. Prepare for take off.

Warning: If you don't like knowing what songs are really about, if you like to interpret them for yourselves and keep it that way, then don't read this blog. Ok? ok. Here we go:

When we entered the studio to record 23 Red, it was initially going to be a 5 song EP. That's right. 5 songs. We asked Gary Philips, our producer, to help us pick the best 5 from about 18 or 19 songs. I believe the initial top 5 songs were No Remedy, Everywhere is Home, Borrowed Time...and...I can't remember what the other 2 were now. But then we did the Kickstarter Fundraiser and suddenly we had a real budget. One that would allow us to record 8 we added 3 more from the list.

Then we wrote Gracefully by accident and had to add it to the CD as the 9th song. And it just didn't make any sense to go in and record only one song. I mean, all that set up and rigamarole (really a word, go ahead and google it like I just did). So we ended up recording Gracefully and Say You Want to Leave. 10 songs. Full length CD. We went a little over the budget there. But we figured all our fans donated so graciously, we couldn't possibly put out an 8 song CD. I mean. Who does that?

So Gracefully...the song. It came about because Nini thought the CD needed a song with a tempo change on it. All the songs on the CD were in 4/4 time. You know. Tap your foot along and count to 4. She thought the CD needed a song in 6/8 time...or 3/4 time. I'm not totally sure what the difference is between those two time signatures. But tap your foot along to Gracefully. Or Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway. Or Goo Goo Dolls Iris. You'll see. It's in 6...or 3. Go ahead. Tap your foot and count. The 1 comes after the 3 or 6. Not after the 4.

So that was Nini's objective for writing it.

My objective was a little different. Mine was based on a conversation I had with my neighbor the night before we wrote the song. She was at my house and told me a really sad story about someone we both knew who had just been re-diagnosed with cancer. And the friend had kids. And the diagnosis was very grim. My heart sank...and I knew I was going to make Nini write another depressing song with me the next day.

**Good spoiler alert**The friend beat it again and is totally fine. Yay. Phew. Why can't I ever write a song about that? Hmm. Note to self. Write a song about that for once.

Now back to the story of writing the song.

So I show up at Gracewood to write with Nini, and she's strumming a chord progression in 6/8 getting ready for the task at hand...I lay the story on her about my neighbor's friend and we end up talking about our own kids and how that's our worst nightmare come true...I mean, anyone's worst nightmare come true...Nini starts singing placeholder words like fall with the fall, all in the all...and I tell her they're not placeholders, and we debate that for a few minutes...and then I say Gracefully at the end of those "placeholder" words...probably because we were writing at Gracewood...and then we realize we have the start of a real song.

(the ...'s are starting to get on my nerves too...)

So we decide the song is about teaching your kids one final lesson. Even if you were dying, you can still teach them one final lesson. Whatever it is you have to do in life, no matter how hard or difficult, do it gracefully.

Fall with the fall. You know. Sometimes you just have to go with it. There comes a time when you just have to accept it and go with it. And always remember, it's all in the all. You know, give it your all, even when you're falling with the fall. Make the most out of everything you do. Even dying. Wring every little drop out of life while you still have it. This stuff makes total sense to Nini and me, if nobody else.

Just hold your person's hand, and both of you, do it gracefully.

I'm a great believer that blog posts should never be too long. But I haven't even touched upon the intensity of the recording session when we tracked Nini's lead vocal. The session was so intense we had to stop a few times. It was making our stoic producer, literally, cry. And we sent Nini on the most intense roller coaster ride of emotions in the vocal booth. You should go read Nini's blog post about it. She blogged immediately after the session. Read it here: Worktape: In The Studio, Gracefully. It's the 3rd post down.

Alright. Nap time is over for the babies. I don't even have time to spell check. I'm just going live.