Days of brain-work, chord-chuckin’, singing and wording came to fruition today at the Liberty Bell Shrine in Allentown. I was commissioned to write a song back in the spring by Pastor Bob Stevens, and it hung over me for months, taking time here and there on researching and assembling the story. We were aiming for the Fourth of July Celebration at the museum.
A couple of weeks, I hit the pedal and I worked out a ‘minor’ chord progression, a la a classical Euro-American mode, but it wasn’t working, and I chucked it for a nice progression in A, one of my favorite new keys, wrote a very simple chorus and put it together. The song started to fall in place, with some minor hang-ups in some of the verses. I send it off to Bob ten days ago, and he (being a sermon-writer) provided some nice changes and I was glad to have his advice.
The last couple of days were spent trying to get the words fit the music, get my voice to fit the music, figure out a hook, and create a nice ending, all of which fell into place for today.
Every live show is a laboratory, and today I learned a few things. The key of A was a little too low for the audience (though they tried mightily), and a little low for me in front of people (tension and projection differences between the kitchen table and the stage).
I played some tunes before the 2pm bell-ringing and the song’s premiere, so I played Grand Ole Flag, Yankee Doodle Dandy, This Land is your Land (with kids up with me, doing hand movements), Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and Center Field. Frankly I was stretching, and as I finished up before 2 pm, I broke a string. My luck…. Luckily, I had 2 minutes to change a string, got back up and tuned in front of the folks, and played the song. The words were printed so the audience sang along, as best they could.
Nice moments before and after with folks who connected with various moments of past gigs, family events, etc. Still questions about, “weren’t you living up in Maine?” It gets tiresome repeating the story of returning to the LV, if not in so many words, but always in my mind.
All in all, a very nice and challenging project, and a nice day in the community.