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Song of the Month #24 - “Saturday Morning”

(Track #2 on The Road Less Traveled CD)

 

RLT Album Cover                                       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 The Road Less Traveled Songs from Napster”.  Then, click on "Saturday Morning."  You can listen to it for free (not available outside the USA).

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

 

 

As I see it, taking some time out for reflective thinking is one of the key ingredients to living a happy and fulfilled life.  I innately adopted this process years ago, and I highly recommend it to those who see value in rejuvenating themselves.  Identifying what has worked for me, realizing what is working for me now, and speculating what will work for me in the future restores my spirits, and it gives me the juice to keep going!

 

Although I practice this exercise privately, it took on a new dimension in the early 1980s when I met Siobhan.  From that point, in addition to having my own time for reflective thinking, we developed a time for reflection and dialogue.  The only difference between the two is obvious; the reflection and dialogue sessions contain conversation.  These talks have no boundaries.  Some sessions can simply focus on planning out our day, while others can drift into some deep philosophical discussions, possibly resulting in us making some major changes to our lives.  Nevertheless, we more often than not usually emerge from these talks refreshed and ready to go with the day.

 

Now that we no longer have day-jobs, these reflection and dialogue sessions have few limitations on them regarding time and place, but back during the years when we were teaching during the day and playing music at night, they primarily took place on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  In the winter months, we would sit in the comfort of our living room and sip coffee as we bounced ideas off one another, but once the nice weather rolled around, we moved our sessions to either our front porch or our back deck.  Both are great spots, but we tend to favor the deck because it is protected from street noise, and it overlooks some woods and the back yards of our neighbors, a much quieter and more peaceful setting.

 

One Saturday morning late in the spring of 2000, I put on the coffee and went out on our deck to sit with our dogs, the real gurus of reflective thinking.  As I sat facing the south, the sun started hitting my neck as it broke the horizon in the east, and all of Nature’s finest started greeting the day.  The birds chirped, the insects hummed, and Mick and Riley sportingly gave chase to a few squirrels who invaded their territory.  Along with this, the soothing aroma of coffee drifted out on the deck from the kitchen, and as I absorbed all this imagery, the seeds of the first verse of “Saturday Morning” were planted.

 

I got my first cup of coffee, and as I sat sipping it, I played around with some imagery and rhyme schemes, searching for a melody that would reflect the ease of a Saturday morning.  It eventually came to me, and I hummed the first verse over and over again in my head.  When Siobhan joined me for coffee, I put the song on the back burner.  As with all my songs, I knew if it was a keeper, it would easily return again.  Siobhan and I sat quietly taking in the day, and then, slowly, as usual, we started bringing up ideas that entered our minds.  I can’t remember everything we talked about that day, but I know our music was one of the topics because it appears in the second verse of the song.  The lyrics suggest we discussed new ideas for our music, which is often one of the major focuses of our discussions.

 

When the coffee pot was empty and the sun was high in the sky, we concluded our session and started getting into the day.  I retreated to my computer because “Saturday Morning” came back into my mind.  I wrote the second and third verse, a recap of what just had occurred on our deck, and then I concentrated on the chorus.  Since the reflection and dialogue meetings always allowed me to be completely free and totally me, I depicted these thoughts in the chorus, and brought “Saturday Morning” to fruition.

 

“Saturday Morning” is pure Americana.  It is a free-flowing upbeat tune describing an approach to life that will enrich it.  The song encourages you to take some time out for reflective thinking, a process of assessing your past, present, and future.  Such a practice, the song suggests, will rejuvenate your soul and give it the juice it needs to keep going.  In addition to promoting reflective thinking, the song also reinforces the importance of sucking the marrow out of every possible moment you can.  The more you can do this, the more fulfilled your life will be.  By the request of many, Siobhan and I recorded this song without the help of any studio musicians.  In addition to our basic sound of the guitar, harmonica, vocals, and bass, I gave the recording some depth by dubbing in some additional harmonies, an electric guitar, and blending harmonicas.  Pop this one in your CD player when you are sipping your coffee in the morning.  If you are not already a reflective thinker, it just may send you down a new road.  I hope so!  This course of action has contributed a great deal to making my life complete, and I highly recommend it!  Hope you have time to check out the song!  I like it, and I hope you do, too!

 

I dedicated this song to Steve Austin and Ryan Smith, two guys who always want to hear it.  Steve, a former friend and teaching colleague of mine, passed away in 2001 after a tough battle with cancer.  He was a master at sucking the marrow out of every moment he had, and he demonstrated this by continuing to come out to our gigs during the last months of his life.  At this time, Siobhan and I had just started playing “Saturday Morning,” and Steve always requested it.  He loved the tune.  Siobhan and I played the song at his memorial service, a moment neither of us will ever forget.  I still think about him when I play the song, and I know he still is somewhere out there smiling and enjoying it with the rest of the crowd.

 

I met Ryan Smith several years ago at Wally’s, a bar where Siobhan and I have been the house band for at least the past ten years.  In addition to being the short-order cook on the nights when we work at Wally’s, Ryan is a counselor for the Association for Retarded Citizens and an independent contractor.  Yes, he really does all this and even more.  He married Angela Speers, one of my former students, a few years ago, and they have two terrific little kids, Dylan and Maddie.  He takes care of our house and property, and truly, if we had a son, we would want him to be just like Ryan.  If you come to Wally’s when we are playing there, you just might catch him “playing the coolers” with us (he’s also a drummer) when he is done with his food orders.  “Saturday Morning” is one of his favorite songs, and I love playing it for him.

 

“Saturday Morning” was inspired by the setting of our backyard.  There is nothing unusual about this place.  However, for me it is extraordinary.  Here, I have seen thousands of vistas, traveled thousands of miles, and dreamed thousands of dreams, activities I plan to continue as long as I can.  Many of you reading this article have been part of my dreams and influenced my songwriting, and for this, I am indebted to you!

 

We recorded this song in 2008 at Rich Cooley Studios, a little studio in Canandaigua, New York.  Rich Cooley Studios is owned and operated by Rich Cooley, an excellent singer/songwriter, music teacher, and recording engineer.  When you record with Rich, you can always count on him for a relaxed recording session with a genuine and sincere effort to produce the best recording possible.  I highly recommend Rich if you are interested in doing some recording on a small scale level.  Rich is most comfortable when he is recording a solo artist or a duo.  Check him out if this is what you need!

 

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 3/18/09)

 

 

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