Meyer & McGuire
Song of the Month #7 - “Set Yourself Free”
(Track #2 on the Home Town 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 Home Town Songs from Napster”. Then, click on "Set Yourself Free." You can listen to it for free (not available outside the USA).
*Not being a techie, I use the term “Flash Player” loosely.
Ok, here’s the big question that often arises when discussing a song like this. Do we fall out of love with our partner, or do we discover our developing identities are no longer compatible enough to sustain the relationship? If you are a person who believes that love and identity have little to do with each other, this might not be a song for you. On the other hand, this will be a song for those of you who feel a couple needs to share some common philosophical ground in order to enjoy a healthy and happy relationship.
From the mid 1960’s up until 1982, when Siobhan and I started “living in sin,” I, like many young people, drifted in and out of love relationships. Rebounding from these relationships was not easy, regardless of whether the decision to leave was mine or my partner’s. During the time I spent healing from the loss of these lovers, I found great solace in music, especially song lyrics. Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice,” Jim Croce’s “Lover’s Cross,” Dave Mason’s “We Just Disagree,” and Dave Loggins’ “Please Come to Boston” are just a few of the classics I wore out on my turntable as I recovered from the loss of each lover. (Did I say turntable? You younger readers will have to look up this term.)
Anyway, as these songs, and others like them, imprinted their themes into my soul, I took great comfort in becoming aware that falling out of love was not really the reason for relationships not working. They simply do not work if you are not on the “same page” with your lover. There has to be some common denominators that will hold a relationship together. Living simply or extravagantly, having or not having kids, traveling or staying at home, integrating with others or isolating yourselves from them, are just a few issues that can cause problems if you and your partner do not feel the same way. These issues, along with many others, are the ones I confronted with my lovers until I got lucky and met Siobhan in the early 1980’s. Ironically, I wrote “Set Yourself Free” after I met Siobhan.
In the mid 1980’s, a close friend of mine was watching his marriage of fifteen years fall apart. I knew him and his wife very well, and they were both great people. As Dave Mason puts it so well, “There ain’t no good guy; there ain’t no bad guy; there’s only you and me, and we just disagree.” These lines, and others like them, were the ones I would introduce to him as he struggled to find out the reasons for his failing marriage. I worked at trying to get him to see that love was not the issue at stake here. He and his wife were merely discovering that they were not the same people they were when they were teenagers. The philosophies developing in their souls had been kept dormant by those attractive joys of youth, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. While some couples are fortunate to emerge from the pleasures of youth with compatible philosophies, many, like my friend, do not. If you are one of the unfortunate ones, you are confronted with the tough question. Do I live in quiet desperation, or do I set myself free? My friend chose to set himself free.
Arriving at this decision was not easy for him. It took many beers and many hours of discussion. It was during many of our long conversations that the lyrics of “Set Yourself Free” developed. In fact, I merely took words from our talks and put them into a meter and rhyme scheme. As you look over the lyrics, you will see that my friend was a guy who preferred a simplistic approach to living, while his wife discovered that she wanted extravagance. Was either of them wrong? Of course not! They learned more about who they were and moved on to better lives. Here’s something I’d like to run by you. Try viewing divorce as an indication of growth rather than a sign of failure. After all, isn’t that what it really is?
Because of the nature of the topic of the song, I chose a sensitive delivery. With a guitar, fiddle, and bass, John and Joe Dady help me create an atmosphere that deftly enhances the mood evoked by the narrator as he describes his feelings. It’s far from being comparable to Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, Dave Mason, or Dave Loggins, but I like it, and I hope you do, too.
I dedicated this song to all the women who allowed me to discover me. Wherever you are out there, I want you to know that I still love each of you after all these years, perhaps even more than I did when we were together. My relationships with you forced me to refine my ever developing identity, and although this process was painful at times, it brought me to the happiness I experience today. I hope all of you are experiencing this same happiness. Thank you for being you, because it helped me to become me!
I recorded this song in 1993 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.
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