I thought I'd start the year out with one of my favorite songs that I wrote, and with it talk about something many artists and I have in common. Presenting idea's. Sometimes ideas come quick and fast, so fast in fact that we literally forget them within an hour if we don't document them. Other times they linger and ferment until we are ready to create them.
We think about those ideas and shape them in our minds until we are ready to give them birth. Then as we start to shape them, they change and become real. We try to keep them as close as we can to what we originally envision, and the closer we get to that vision the greater the internal reward. However as any parent knows you must give your children the freedom to grow and evolve. As an artist those choices can stop and kill a song so we are always guarding our ideas to protect our precious works of art. However we should never be afraid to try changes or listen to constructive critiques. Knowing what to change is what makes us artists. Listening to the universe around us and using it's synchronicity often takes us to new and greater visions.
The great thing about songwriting is that a song continues to evolve beyond its initial recordings as other artists present their versions of our vision. A perfect example is the song All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan and then reworked by Jimmy Hendrix, wow that idea takes off in a direction that no one ever suspected it could go. Another great example of how a song evolves is Strawberry Fields Forever by Lennon and McCartney. You can now listen to the various takes and recordings and witness the growth of one of the greatest modern songs. This growth is an inspiration to all struggling artists and I highly recommend a listen. listen as an idea becomes a masterpiece over a series of seventeen takes
I'm not sure of the where or when I had the idea for A Ghost of the City. What I can tell you is that the Idea sat in my brain for a very long time, over a decade. It's a story of the old west overlaid upon current times. A story of human nature never changing, and that the roles we played 100 years ago are the same roles we play today, and they will be the same roles we play 100 years from now.
A Ghost of the City is a complete story set to music. When I finally sat down to write it, I spent a morning, and then came back to it several times. I showed it to a friend who thought it was great. We talked for a while and then later after he left I found inspiration for a better ending through a rhyme he jokingly used. That rhyme inspired me to rewrite the last couple of verses and give the song a cycle of completion it lacked.
I still needed music to go with the words and felt like I had written something on par with the Hotel California by the Eagles(hey it's my ego, my song so I can dream if I want) so I used that song as a starting place, a great story needs great music.
I started to sing the words and the chords slowly fell into place. I went into the studio and recorded everything as you hear it and listened and rerecorded, and listened, made changes, and rerecorded the piece 4 times until I ended up with the version you hear now. I hope you enjoy this modern tale about the outlaws of the old west living in the modern age.
Thanks again for all the support