Monday, September 21, 2009

"A Boy Named Snommit" and other songs about my friends

"A Boy Named Snommit" feat. Debe Dalton on banjo (final mix, unmastered) - free mp3

One of the first songs I explicitly wrote about one of my friends was called "Jeanette Is Working". It's about a woman named Jeanette, and how she... you know... works and stuff.

Jeanette is one of my high school friends from Toledo, Ohio, and once that song was done, there was much clamor amongst my other high school friends to write songs about them. Nonetheless, I did nothing of the sort.

I did end up writing a song called "You Think It's Wrong", about people who are too afraid to sing along to songs because they are afraid to expose their less-than-perfect singing voices to the world. I was admittedly inspired to write this, in part, by watching some of my Toledo friends play Karaoke Revolution (if you are unfamiliar it's kind of a singing-only forbear to the likes of the current slew of Rock Band/Guitar Hero games). In fact, my friend Evelyn assumed the song was explicitly about her, despite my protestations that it's not about any single person.

Since then, her husband Steve -- one of my very best friends from high school -- has been on me to write a song about him. When Steve told me that he and Evelyn were going to have a baby -- making them the first couple in my direct circle of friends to procreate -- I figured I had something to write about.

The finished song, called "A Boy Named Snommit," is about 60% fact-based, 15% false but based on some sort of inside joke that makes it poetically true, and then 25% completely false probably just because I needed to make some rhymes.

It is the longest song I've written, taking up four pages of typewritten lyrics and lasting around 8 minutes, and it also probably took the longest to write of anything I've ever done. To give you an idea, I started the song when Evelyn was a couple months pregnant and I finished writing the song when the kid was nearly a year old. That is, of course, if you don't count the fact that I had to redo the final stanza AFTER I HAD ALREADY RECORDED THE SONG because I got some facts incorrect (if you listen carefully to the recording, you can hear that the last verse was recorded in a slightly different ambience).

Because of the fact that I was writing this song through most of the planning, recording, and so forth of this album, I thought it was fitting to end the album with it. So that's why it is the final track on disc 2.

However, I know it might be hard work, when you're listening to the album, to get all the way there in a timely fashion, so I'm providing you with an early listen at the link up at the top of this entry.

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