Metropolis, November 14, 2011
I was challenged in October (Friday, 10/14) to write a new song by some folks who were sitting and listening to me play at Metropolis. The gist of the song is “I’m a big wuss and I’m afraid of my wife so I have to get home.” This was long after I was scheduled to have stopped playing, but there I was, still playing because people were still listening. I made their attendance at my next Metropolis show (Monday, 11/14) for the grand unveiling of the new song a condition and they agreed. So, the challenge was on.
I thought they might expect something cute and funny. I thought I would try to write some over-the-top, gut-wrenching, heart-on-my-sleeve thing, but the song decided it wanted to be a blues. So, “Fright’nin’ Blues” (or is it “Cellphone on my Trail”) was born. I promise, it’s a blues, but it’s a completely tongue-in-cheek blues. Something Restless Legs Johnson would write.
I played at Metropolis last night. Three hours in, the folks still hadn’t shown, so I played the song to start closing the night. There was a witness to the original challenge there, so he can confirm that I held up my part of the bargain. While I was playing it, there was a woman at the bar madly operating her smartphone. When I was done, she caught on to the whole challenge thing and that I had written the song. She was disappointed, because she’d been trying to find the song online and figure out whose song it was so she could download it. But then she was impressed that it was I who had written it. Huh. That doesn’t exactly happen every day.
I had also learned a cover tune for the same group of people. They had requested it and we had discussed it and how I had trouble playing it because it had too many syllables in some of the lines, so it’s tough for me to sing. I concede that people do it all the time; it’s just me. The cover tune will have to wait for my next performance.
The upshot of all this is, “I wrote a song in a month because I do what I’m told.” Also, “I can write a song in a month when challenged.” That’s kinda cool. I also wrote another song this past week because it occurred to me and I just sat down and wrote it. So, I’ve got two new tunes to road-test and get comfortable with. Sweet!