Hi friends – time for a brand new song and video!
I swear I keep thinking of Bill Withers when I start these free-form songs – simple, heartfelt and compelling are my picks for the strongest virtues a song can have (Woody Guthrie scored a ten on the same metrics). But as a lifelong autodidact, I have a weird and eccentric mix of influences and shall we say ‘mixed discipline’ at best.
So while in mid attempted Wither, I found myself lifting a smidge from Gary Numan, a bit from Pete Townshend, I pulled a half Mussorgsky (always my best wrestling move) added faux french horn for thickening and banjo for spice, and finished the whole pretty thing off with comically overdriven fretless bass and ragged vocals.
Now along with my seemingly un-keepable Withers resolution, I should probably add a second receding insight. As a young creator I was always interested in the gem I heard from so many older artists, that when they were young they tried to be fancy and impressive, but when they gained deeper mastery of both technique and intention, they tried instead to be effective.
This thought did keep me “Simple Simple” in some senses – purpose driven, but it also made me once again surprise myself with my vocals. I don’t know why I sung it like that, trust me – but I tried the lyric a few ways, and making it sound like I was bellowing into an SM58 while drunk at two in the morning just worked! ;o)
The freakiest thing is that trying to write a song about coming back out of our shells and feeling fully alive again, brought me back to some ideas I know from traditional black spirituals and from old Christian hymns. This will surprise some of my younger readers, but the black music which underpins the blues and jazz (and all American pop since) was taught to school-kids way back in the sixties and seventies. I know this for a fact, because my dad was a music teacher at the time and he often brought home the books, so we could learn those extraordinary and inspiring songs too (even though we didn’t really do the ‘school’ thing).
It is a very weird time when you feel a little bit nervous insisting on love and goodness, but this is a very weird time, and I figure the nerves are just a sign that it needs to be said even more than it usually (always) does.
So here is my Simple Simple hymn, toe-tapper, heartfelt heretical thing.
I hope it gives you a smile, and pray it brings a heart-lift as well.
Go full-screen (‘watch on Youtube’ will give more resolution) and crank up those ‘cans’ (headphones) to avail yourself of the full rich clash of saccharine, hoarse and ring-modulation (accept no substitutes). And no, a saccharine horse is not like a marzipan pig, just click play, will you? (̲̅ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°̲̅ )̲̅
I wish I could also take credit for the lovely video – but for that you will have to go have a look on the inspiring Pixabay.com website, where they offer some public domain stuff for zero budget creators like me (and you?) and also earn some money licensing footage for professional productions.
My sincere thanks to the camera-people (I listed all that I used in the end credits, and also a few I did not, because they were just so inspiring), and I also have to offer my sincere wonder gratitude and love for the billions of animals who are supposed to be entitled to share our planet. Several of them gave especially funky subtle and compelling performances in the video!
The things we do to one another are very often heartbreaking. But the things we do to our fellow planetary citizens, are not only heartless, ruthless and unrecoverable, but also entirely beneath our notice by long social habit.
We can do better. We’ve all had a nice long think. Let’s act like it!