Looking Up: Sweet By & By, plus other rambling trivia about un-official c 2007 album art, and more

I found myself talking about windows and thinking about windows today, (1/30/18). The weather started out snowy, then turned windy first carrying a white-out squall, then sending it elsewhere revealing a beautiful clear blue sky. The sun is shining through my windows into my very soul. I know someday I will look back and think of the times I stayed in my nightgown all day writing songs or writing blog posts because they were the first things on my mind and I didn’t want to waste any time getting down to work. I’m thanking God I could stay inside my house all day. yet be diligent and productive. I’m gonna miss this.

I am attracted to windows, all the time. Mainly ones that I can look OUT of and see the world. My first album produced by friends, privately released to friends and family, was Titled Out of my window, and featured family of my husband and my kids had activities going on centered around the windows of our big old house. One was of my husband rehanging shutters he had just painted, while my 7 year of daughter looked out smiling, and on the back was a picture of my older 2 sons when they were tweenagers, practicing how to attach a rope ladder out an upper story window and climb down. The meaning of the tile was derived from a line in one of the songs citing a time in my childhood when the nurse taking care of the elderly neighbors next door would sit in her bedroom window, about ten feet away from my bedroom window, to listen to me singing myself to sleep at night. Sadly, when I found out, it stopped, because I became self-conscious…too bad. Later in life, when I was rocking my 4 babies to sleep, living on houses with no air conditioning, I am sure that a few songs could be heard from “Out of My Window.”

But today, the line that came out of me, was that I love my big old house with lots of windows. I found myself saying that I need to look out of windows at the world, otherwise i might look so intensely inwardly as to tear myself apart. How many times a song is born out of my rambling thoughts. I knew that sounded like a Phrase form a piece I wrote, but also as I contemplated a getting full-time job in order to self-fund my art. The thought of it is hard because, in the past, I chose work which stole time and energy form my writing. I was self-employed and able to set my own hours, but I becauseย  I was the boos and the worker and the scheduler etc…it became all-consuming and a big pitfall to my natural drift into perfectionism, I killed parts of my skeletal system. But the job I am considering now has windows and a clear start time and a targeted finsih time each day. Best of all it has windows, and rain or shine, those windows will look out on things I love to see.

So, once upon a time when I was experiencing my first two music losses, first of many, I will add, because to be involved on any level of music production means you have to learn how to lose …people. In my first months of having made music, and feeling the nudge to share it, I lost tow people who I thought would always be with me. One died and the other relocated. Cosquesnlty, I did not start sharing the 15 songs I’d recorded for another 3 years. Then, every time one of my volunteer musicians would understandably need to shift their priorities elsewhere, I would be up-ended and though I was smiling and giving my sincerest blessings, I was a quivering sobbing mas on the inside. If anyone wants to choose to make music as a career, get ready because people of art need to be people who are free to come and go and pursue interests other than yours…Can you imagine that? I am pretty sure many good writers have choked on that bone and suffocated. But I have fallen many times, and have stood back up, eventually. if you love them, you must set the free…I am dependant on musicians, but I can’t take prisoners.

Looking up was written as a potential personalized, maybe even public goodbye to the musician who relocated, because this person breathed the idea of singing in public to me, and then 15 years later, after a doctor thought I was going to die (but I wasn’t going to die) I fessed up years worth of songs only my babies in arms knew, and would have forgotten if that doctor had been right. I was friends with the whole family and was sad to see them go, but glad for them too. I started 2 songs, and then they turned into about a half of a song, and not sounding at all like it was about saying goodbye, more like how hard it is to focus on the things we are called to do, because we get distracted by trying to make a living and by too much morbid introspection. The line was “looking to my heart until I tore myself apart” and there’s no end to all that I know I should” [be getting done.] Leave it to an indie singer songwriter to follow that stream of consciousness…The half son was all over the map, then something happened too attached it to some more stable moorings. it never was presented to the friend, when I read the words it seems now Like it had little to do with that event at all, it has become a “happy little song” {aka ‘Bob Ross’ inflection}

Somewhere in the process, I was looking on a website that told the back stories to old hymns, and stumbled across the story behind the song sweet by and by. I was captivated. The story goes that there was a violin player who was often melancholy. He stopped in to the druggist one day, and the druggist in his concern for how low the violinist was feeling, told him to go home and get his violin. When he returned, this was the song they accidentally and oh so wonderfully co-wrote, “The Sweet By and By.” While the lrics indicated the sting of this present reality of and the hope of the future, and meeting again. After reading the story, I sat right down and wrote what has now become a “preamble” to my own arrangement of the good old hymn, often used as the last number for some of my live events for which it would be appropriate. My musicians Love to play it, their good work is showcased in a way that highlights their talent and passion for playing their instrument, and the arrangement is upbeat of “goodbye.” I hate goodbyes.

I only have one recording of this song, and it does not contain the piano lines, because my pianist was out that night, but it is good, and I hope with $ I earn from my day job, that I will have the time and energy to see many of the songs in my now about 80 song catalog, through to production on a level that I can at least share them with family and friends.

Done right a full-length album cost 20K to produce. if you are cheap and poor, and your friend helps you, it costs them large chunks of their life which goes unpaid. That can’t happen anymore. I am aiming toward the former, not because I like to drop money like nervous sweat, but because in the world of the work of music, it is the right thing to do.






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