Archive for August, 2015

“Burning Down Both Sides” is one of those songs that forced itself into my brain when I wanted to be asleep. One August night in 2012 I tossed and turned in bed with the 7/8 guitar riff going round and round in my head; finally, at 2 AM, I decided to get up and record it so it would leave me alone. By the time I did that, the beginning of the melody and the first two lines of the lyrics came to me. After that I was finally able to get some sleep; I finished the music later in the morning, and the lyrics in the afternoon.

“Your Doll” began in 1999 as a Nirvana-esque grunge song during a moment of pique with my then-girlfriend. I wrote down the words and chords, feeling sure I would remember the melody. I hadn’t yet learned that I never remember the melody for very long if I don’t record it; needless to say, I forgot it. Discouraged, I put the song aside.

Every once in a while, I would flip through my songwriting notebook and see the abandoned song there. Ten years passed. I was on my way back home from Asheville, North Carolina when, willy-nilly, a new melody popped into my head, along with new chords and the idea to remake the song in a reggae style. Even more astonishingly, I managed to remember the melody long enough to get home and record it.

The new melody did present a problem, though; whereas before the song was complete with two verses, now the two verses would have to be combined into one, necessitating that I write another. I took another six months to come up with the additional lyrics. Now, I thought, the song is complete.

I was never quite satisfied with the end result though. Finally, in April 2012, I took another look at the song. I ended up changing the key to make it easier to sing, modified the chorus to include new chords and backing vocals, and a bridge/solo section. I brought the song in to add to the Mother Zephyr repertoire, but that band ended before we could spend much time on it.