My dear friend Angela Philastre Atkinson was married on the last day of the Mayan calendar, 12/21/2012. I ascribe to the belief that that was a day of great significance to the world because it marked the beginning of The Golden Age, The Age of Aquarius. Five years ago I would have considered such concepts to be rubbish, but I experienced a shift in consciousness on 6/12/2009 and life hasn’t been the same since. There is now nothing so far out that I won’t believe it. Through concerted study of spiritual and metaphysical matters, I have come to learn of the wonders of the invisible world, which truly makes life magical and miraculous. Plus, I believe that is where the truth of reality lies.
Angela wanted to sing the U2 song “All I Want Is You” to her husband at the reception. She needed accompaniment plus she also needed a band to play at her wedding. I very rarely learn covers. I find it extremely tedious to learn songs and much more fun and rewarding to engage in the discovery process of writing songs. However, for my friend, I was willing to do this.
Enough of gash gold vermilion, the all female progressive folk band I founded in 2009, was still together that we could meet Angela’s need. So, the two guitarists and bassist from that band performed at the wedding. It was my singing debut. As the guests were arriving for the wedding, I performed a song I had written for my son called “Every Good Gift.”
It was important to me to perform that day. I wanted to express my intention for the path of my future on that day, the first day of the new age of the Earth. Energetically and spiritually it was a very important day. I was pleased that the performance went well musically.
The U2 song is a very pretty three chord song, G, C and E minor. A couple of weeks after the wedding, I was hanging out playing and started playing the U2 song again. As I played it, I started exploring, using the G and C chords. What I created came out with a very different sound. The melody that came to me was entirely different. I don’t know much about music theory so I don’t know the names of the chords I added; all I can say is it wound up being a very different song with no trace of E minor–a bunch of other things I don’t know the names of instead.
The lyrics came readily. Certain features of them I like a lot. When I was growing up in the seventies, a brother (Richard) and sister (Karen) duo called The Carpenters was very popular and wrote some of the sweetest songs out there. A song called “Close To You” was huge and everybody who grew up then knows this song. Very sugary, very sweet, a great slow dance at the prom type song. One of my all time favorite love songs: it is nectar.
Sadly, Karen Carpenter met a tragic end. She had received negative press about her weight and became anorexic. She died young, of complications from anorexia. I don’t really know why, but something about her spirit speaks so strongly to me to this day. She had one of the loveliest, strongest voices I ever heard and I know her spirit lives on in the earth realm in my thoughts and the thoughts of other fans. I still feel sad when I think about what became of her.
“Close To You” is among the best love songs ever written and I wanted to acknowledge Karen Carpenter, so I included a reminder of a lyric from “Close To You.” The line from “Evermore” is “Close to you, birds suddenly appear, every time you’re near.” This lyric was a natural fit to the music, a perfect and humble way for me to acknowledge and tip my hat to the great talent of The Carpenters.
To hear The Carpenters song, you can visit YouTube and search on Carpenters Close To You. I also love “We’ve Only Just Begun,” and “Hurting Each Other.” Karen’s voice is absolutely amazing, period, but especially on the latter song. It’s like perfect coffee going down, rich and powerful.
Also, I don’t really know why, but I wound up with Alice In Wonderland references. They just flowed right in. (“It’s as though, I’ve fallen down a hole, stepped through the glass to evermore.”) It may be because new love can cause one to feel a shift into a new dimension, as Alice experienced when she fell down the rabbit hole. It also could be because I started listening to Alice In Chains in 2012 pretty much to the exclusion of all else for about twelve to eighteen months. Maybe it’s both.
What I have come to learn is if I ever bother to learn a cover song, which is rare, I apparently have to use it as a jumping off place from which I will dive off into the unknown and see what I pluck out of the void–find my own path, my own thing. I seem to have been born to this: doing my own thing musically. Hence, shortly after I learned “Man in the Box,” (long story on why I put the effort into that) I wrote a song called “Insect” in which I turned the man in the box into a fairy (actually, a “fairy thing”). More about that later, when I get that song recorded professionally, post it, and write a song story about it.