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Song of the Month #14 - “Chasin’ the Sun”

(Track #5 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 "Chasin’ the Sun."  You can listen to it for free (not available outside the USA).

                                 *Not being a techie, I use the term “Flash Player” loosely.

 

 

 

I believe, if we look carefully, we can find ourselves in almost all aspects of our surroundings.  For example, if we analyze the weather closely, we can see our own moods reflected in it.  Emotionally, we go through high pressure, low pressure, sunshine, clouds, fog, rain, tornados, blizzards, etc.  While most of us recognize our metaphorical connection to the weather, I am not sure many of us realize how beneficial it is to contemplate such an analogy.  For me, such ponderings bring great relief.  It comforts me to understand I am not alone in my journey through life.  The more I find myself in my surroundings, the less I feel alone, and the more I see us all interconnected as one big entity.

 

In the fall of 2006 and the winter of early 2007, Siobhan and I lost our two beautiful dogs, Riley and McMeyer.  Riley succumbed to a kidney disease, and McMeyer just died of old age.  Throughout the time they were with us, they, too, often reminded me how much we all are interrelated.  Their anger, frustration, jealousy, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, forgiveness, and unconditional love were all qualities I easily saw within my own character.  Of their many traits, their ability to persevere never ceased to amaze and inspire me, and it was their persistence that inspired the writing of “Chasin’ the Sun.”

 

Before I get into the event that stimulated the writing of the song, it is important to give you a feel for its setting.  Siobhan and I live on the east side of the city of Canandaigua, just outside the city limits.  Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens, a beautiful estate built in the late 1800s, and the VA Hospital lie about one half mile north of our house.  These properties are adjacent to each other, and they take up about 200 acres of land.  This land is filled with all kinds of critters, but squirrels and rabbits, Riley and McMeyer’s favorites, seem to dominate the territory.  So, needless to say, whenever Siobhan and I said the magic word, “Walk,” Riley and McMeyer’s ears shot up, and their tails started pounding the floor and the furniture. 

 

One summer night in the mid to late ‘90s, the four of us headed for Sonnenberg and the VA grounds.  It was a beautiful moon-lit evening, a perfect night for the rabbits to graze peacefully.  Nevertheless, this serene setting was short-lived with the arrival of Riley and McMeyer.  It was “game time” for them, and throughout the walk, several rabbit sightings stimulated some intense pursuits and passionate whining and barking.  Fortunately for Siobhan and me, the long leashes restraining these avid hunters never broke, and the rabbits managed to elude their pursuers every time.  While we were walking, I started thinking about how even though these dogs never caught any critters, their enthusiasm and energy remained steady during every chase.  For them, it seemed the joy was more in the chasing rather than the catching.  I thought a little more about this idea, and I realized the same condition existed for me as a teacher and musician.  To a certain extent, the instructing and playing appeared to be more important and pleasurable than the achieving.

 

As I reflected on the concept of the process being more important than the result, I also thought about us all having the constant ability to rebound and start over again.  It was at this time the chorus of “Chasin’ the Sun” began to emerge with these three words, “before, score, and more.”  I played around with these words, and I developed the three-line chorus by the time the walk was over.  At home, the chorus kept repeating itself over and over again in my head, and I knew it was not going to leave me alone until I finished the song.  So, with guitar in hand, I went to work.  Since the chorus generated the idea that bouncing back from any situation was inherent in all of us, the verses needed to reinforce this theme by illustrating that playing the game was more important than its outcome.  What unfolded was a little story about a dog chasing a rabbit, and a new song came to fruition.

 

“Chasin’ the Sun” is pure Americana.  It is a fast moving somewhat bluegrass-like country song that will easily bring a smile to your face.  With a guitar, a fiddle, a mandolin, a banjo, a harmonica, a bass, drums, and backup harmonies, John and Joe Dady and Tim Chaapel help Siobhan and me in creating one of those exhilarating tunes that restores the spirit.  The exquisite interplay of the instruments deftly allows the listener to feel and hear the action of the song’s story.  If you are thinking about giving up on one of your undertakings, this tune will bring you back into focus and keep you going.  It will remind you that the ride is more important than the destination.  Hope you enjoy the song!  I like it, and I hope you do too!

 

I dedicated this song to Riley and McMeyer.  While they were with Siobhan and me, they taught us many things.  They enhanced our ability to forgive, respect, understand, persevere, be patient, accept, and love.  Of these many qualities, the capacity to carry on despite the odds is the one I reflect on the most, and whenever I am considering giving up on some endeavor, I often hear them chasing a squirrel or rabbit in our back yard.  It cures me right away, and I am ready to get back in the game and start over again.

 

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-Mailed 5/18/08)

 

 

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