Meyer & McGuire
Song of the Month #10 - “Caught in the Middle”
(Track #3 on the Caught in the Middle CD)
Lyrics: If your web browser does not support the Flash Player* included with the Lyrics, or you are uncomfortable allowing/downloading the plug-in/add-on, you can still listen to this song while you read. Just go to our Downloads Page and click on the link, “Buy Caught in the Middle Songs from Napster”. Then, click on "Caught in the Middle." You can listen to it for free (not available outside the USA).
*Not being a techie, I use the term “Flash Player” loosely.
Reconstructing the history of my songs has made me aware of something I didn’t realize until recently. With some songs, I can remember exactly where I was and what specific incidents sparked them, but with others, I haven’t a clue. “Caught in the Middle” falls into this latter category. I know I wrote it sometime between 1993 and 1998 because these dates are the release dates of our Home Town and Caught in the Middle CDs. Since this is the only concrete detail I can offer you about the song’s history, I will focus on the song’s thematic development because I know exactly how this idea got started.
In the music world, performers can pursue a wide variety of venues. They can play concerts, festivals, coffee houses, restaurants, bars, private parties, street corners, etc. Some narrow their options to festivals, concerts, and coffee houses because they have a need for their audiences to be quiet and attentive. Others prefer the noisy atmosphere of a bar, restaurant, street, or private party because their music is just a vehicle they use to have fun with people. Finally, you have your “music whores.” These are the folks who do it all. For them, there is no such thing as a bad venue. They will play in any place, at any time, and for any audience. Siobhan and I best fall into this last group. We are those musicians who are “Caught in the Middle.”
Despite being accused of “aiming low” by some of our music colleagues, we have chosen to remain open to all venues because we enjoy playing, and most of all, we love meeting people and learning about them. This eclectic approach to venues has introduced us to people from all walks of life, and it has made us aware of the various ways people enjoy music. While some like to listen while they are talking, others like to listen carefully and analyze just about every note and word. We are comfortable with either approach because the end result is the same, fun for all.
The song actually developed as a response to musicians who are critical of the diverse approach to venues. For example, musicians who will only play for a quiet, attentive audience will often put down the noisy chaos of the bar scene. On the contrary, musicians who love the atmosphere of a loud tavern often loathe the snobbery generated by those who prefer the silence of the coffee house and concert scene.
Another catalyst for the song came from the audiences. Like musicians, audiences criticize each other too. Those concert goers who approach music on a more cerebral and intellectual level often feel the loud, beer-drinking rednecks do not know how to appreciate music properly. The rednecks are not bothered in the least by this criticism. They tend to fire back at the folkies in ways that would be too inappropriate to describe here.
Anyway, after struggling for years to determine what music venues to pursue, I gave up the fight because I like all audiences. This capitulation inspired the chorus to “Caught in the Middle,” and I was off and running with a new song. With the theme being clearly depicted in the chorus, I decided the best way to support the idea would be to have the first two verses reveal the contrasting behaviors of the rednecks and the folkies. After this was in place, in the final verse, I united the two groups with some of the transcending effects of music. For all audiences, music opens up the heart, drains it of its troubles, and soothes it, so it can continue its struggle with life. If you have a little time to take a look at the lyrics, this explanation will make much more sense to you.
“Caught in the Middle” is a country folk song that gets your toes tapping and your hands clapping regardless of whether you are drinking a cold beer or sipping a hot cup of coffee. With a guitar, a banjo, a mandolin, a harmonica, a bass, drums, and backup harmonies, John and Joe Dady and Tim Chaapel help Siobhan and me in creating one of those songs that brings a smile to your face whether you are a redneck or a folkie. I like it, and I hope you do, too.
I dedicated this song to all those people who appreciate and support our music. Our writing, arranging, rehearsing, recording, and performing would all be in vain if it were not for you. Your feedback, whether it be via the phone, email, or at our performances gives us the juice to keep doing what we do, and we are deeply grateful for it! We love you rednecks, and we love you folkies too!
We recorded this song in 1998 at The Garage, a little studio in Rochester, New York. The Garage, as I have told you before, is owned and operated by John and Joe Dady, two quintessential musicians. When you record with them, you can always count on great coffee, good stories, and an aching stomach from laughing. I highly recommend John and Joe if you are interested in recording. Also, The Dady Brothers, John and Joe’s group, have many recordings of their own, and they tour the United States and Ireland. Check them out on the web at www.dadybros.com.
Tim Chaapel owns Mobile Music, a great music store in Canandaigua, New York. If you think you might be interested in playing an instrument, stop in. Tim will get you off to a great start! He has guitars that make you look really sexy! Also, if your instrument has fallen on hard times, Tim will get it sounding like new in no time. Check him out on the web at http://www.mobilemusic.downtowncanandaigua.com.
Well, there you have it. I’ll have another song of the month for you next month. If you have any comments or suggestions, please pass them on to me. This is a work in progress, and I am always looking for new ways to improve it.
E-mail us at McRiley@Frontiernet.net