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Ah, Spring. New writing. New perspective. And a new video.

April 20, 2011

I’m behind on the other video project I promised to work on—the covers of songs by other songwriters from Baltimore—more lack of focus I guess!

I’ve previously noted that pretty much all the people in my songs are assholes. I’m not really making any beans about that. However, in general, people do what they think is right at any given time. And lots of songwriters focus on redemptive qualities of people who are in tragic circumstances. But I’m becoming increasingly interested in justification. It’s politics and another musician that got me thinking about this.

Well, I think supervillian extraordinaire Mr. Burns is real … but 20th Century Fox has sent me numerous letters assuring me hes not.

I usually describe myself as a moderate (I lean left, at least for an American), but it’s become increasingly difficult to understand people in certain areas of the political spectrum. But I think that it’s really, really important to understand peoples’ motives. Very, very few people are the cartoonish supervillains they’re made out to be (and no, this is not a rant against the press, which I think does a good job generally and also probably means well most of the time). This doesn’t mean that people can’t be wrong about things, but it’s important that we not become jaded cynics.

There’s a musician friend of mine, who I really respect as a musician and as an opinionated person who’s not afraid to speak his mind; but he’s really become so cynical in the past several years and at least gives the impression that any time someone disagrees with his morals or ethics that they’re actively evil. It makes it really hard to talk to him.

Going back over a lot of the songs from The Distance of the Moon at Daybreak, there are some people in them who do some awful things and tend to know that they’re awful but believe they’re necessary. There’s an aspect I didn’t really explore, though, and that’s when people do something awful but really honestly and truly think that it was the right thing to do. So I’ve written a song about that . . . which I’ll reveal sometime later, after I’ve worked on it more.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Klezmer and old jazz lately, and that unexpectedly came out in another song I’ve half finished this week.

The other thing I’ve done is to force myself to go back to narrative songwriting, which I think is still my strong suit, though it was certainly a lot of fun to explore purely sonic aspects of songwriting and stream of consciousness. More tools in the box, I suppose.

Today I decided to sit down and write something not just positive, but unserious, and fun. So I wrote a two-minute pop song about that fuzzy little guy in PA getting it wrong.

Whenever Lexa and I do gardening in the front yard, robins hang out with us and eat bugs from the dirt we turn over. European robins also hang out with gardeners, even though the birds aren’t related. We keep bird feeders, and snow birds (dark-eyed juncos) hang out in the winter. They migrate come spring, just after their plumage changes. It’s hard sometimes to catch them in their spring feathers before they go. (I wish I had some pictures of my own for these birds, but if I’ve ever taken them I didn’t put them online, so I’ve used pictures from Wikipedia.)

Our daffodils have also been slow to come up, even though the crocuses were early.


Here’s the lyrics:

Early Spring (Jon Patton)

There’s a robin
In the garden
Looking for a worm
And a daffodil
opening its eye
wondering when it’s gonna
be its turn

No it sure hasn’t been
anything like an
early spring

Snow birds (winter plumage). Arent they adorable?

Cherry flowers
Greener colors
Covering the block
And little snow birds
Are leaving as the flocks
change their coats for
red and black

No it sure hasn’t been
anything like an
early spring

Go lace up your shoe strings
The wind tugs my kite string
Don’t waste the sunny day
Who knows how long it’ll stay

No it sure hasn’t been
anything like an
early spring
No it sure hasn’t been
like an early spring

[Jen says I write too many lyrics. So this is me cutting back.]

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