Categories
Behind The Song

NEW SONG: The Kindest Person I Know

Your mercy burnt bright in the darkness
She’s a keeper
Download     mp3 demo      Chords (pdf)      Lyrics (pdf)

I’ve been married 23 years. Want to know my secret? I found an amazing woman and married her. Easy. One of her many good points is she’s so kind. And I think kindness is underrated today. I was going to write her a note saying as much but the note turned into a poem and the poem turned into a song. The bridges betray the poetic origin as they’re just verses sung to a different tune but I think (hope) the words do enough of the heavy lifting for it not to matter. I think the image of love going to the vanishing point might appear in The Message translation of the Bible.

Having written the song on acoustic guitar with top E dropped to D (and then everything dropped a semitone to suit my vocal range) I didn’t know to how to arrange it. So I used it as a lab experiment on my menagerie of instruments. I dug out the uke and cymbala and violined (volume swelled) a fuzz bass (through a Mesa Boogie Sans Amp). I also used my sister’s old accordion and my godfather’s alpine zither. I’ll never be able to play the latter properly but, holy moley! What incredible bass notes you can get.

I was drowning the day that you found me
Embraced in death’s dark undertow
You held onto me for dear life, dear
You’re the kindest person I know

Never once did I wear out your patience
Or your flame of compassion burn low
Your mercy burnt bright in the darkness
You’re the kindest person I know

There is love that can touch the horizon
That will follow wherever I go
Your care keeping pace to the vanishing point
The kindest person I know

Through channels of sister and motherhood
To strangers both highborn and low
To creatures and children and elderly
You’re the kindest person I know

Wouldn’t trade for a much younger model
I don’t care how fast newer ones go
They don’t make em now like they used to
You’re the kindest person I know

There is love that descends many fathoms
To the depths that can crush a man’s bones
Where the air and the light cannot reach me at all
Your kindness will reach me I know

From what boundless underground river
Does the life-giving fountainhead flow
The source of your stream undiscovered
I bless for the kindness you show
You’re the kindest person I know

 

Categories
A Blog's Life

A Week In The Life

What does a freelance music teacher do? I thought I’d give a week in the life – this week was busier than normal (but then there isn’t really such a thing as normal)

Sunday

On the way back from Church I get a call from Rich the guitarist from Balkan Gypsy wedding band Aistaguca – their soprano sax player has gone on holiday at short notice and they have 2 gigs next weekend. If I can fill in on guitar he reckons he can cover bass and or sax parts. I depped for Rich once before and know 14 of their songs so I’m in!

I spend several hours filling music away from the 200 guitar magazines a pupil gave me and loading up my mp3 player with all the tracks I need to learn for this coming week.

Monday

Teaching guitar all day at a Junior school (8-11 yr olds). At lunch time I go next door to the Infants and run a ukelele club for a bunch of 6 year olds. They’re having a coronation party this week and wanted me to play God Save The Queen on a union jack uke one of them has brought in. Then I just have time to eat a sandwich while I edit a backing track that one of my guitar groups is going to use for a concert on Wed.

After school I teach a rock band of 10-11 year olds. Today we start recording the drums and guitar of a song they’ve written on garageband.

At 5 I grab a taxi to cellist Rachel’s house and we head over to Old Library Studios to record her parts for my upcoming mini album Let’s Build An Airport. While producer Mark is setting up I upload the backing track I edited earlier to a pupil page where they can download it to practice to. Apart from the odd issues with semitone clashes in my arrangements and phantom xylophone parts appearing we get everything recorded the right side of ten o’clock and head home brain fried but happy. Rachel introduces me to the music of Amanda Palmer on the way home and she goes on my ‘music to check out’ list.

I send out late invites to the monthly songwriting I’m hosting next week via Facebook.

Tuesday

Head out to my first school to record a 10 year old pupil with autism. He has perfect pitch and an endless supply of ideas. But he’s off school ill. So I do some editing and go to junior school number two. I teach there for 3 hours, doing more editing in the lunch break. I also have a first try at the song Catrin wants me to sing with the choir at a school gig on Thurs. It’s in 7/8 and in macedonian. I hope my bass droning isn’t freaking out anyone within earshot. After school I had planned to record some tubular bells that the school have for my album, but didn’t have to time to pack mics, audio interface and all.

After a couple of hours at home I head for my practice space for a couple of private lessons.

Wednesday

Off to another school to set up all the PA for their big annual music night tomorrow. Once I got round the fact that there were 2 electric sockets in the hall and the dinner ladies wanted em both we were OK. The head sorted me out with a free roast dinner. Then teaching two groups at another school. Easy day.

Thursday

Long trip to Mansfield to teach at a secondary school. Not everyone could make it due to a Coronation picnic being organised. One pupil brought in Carry On Wayward Son to learn. That’s one ‘Carry On’ film I haven’t seen but it’s still a cool tune.

I get a taxi to another junior school for a very special music event. The food and drink flows freely, the place is packed and the staff are fully involved too. So much fun that I’m sure there’s all kinds of rules against it. As well as 3 songs with my guitar pupils, I played bass on a Tennessee Ernie Ford song with the staff band, played Djun Djun on a drumming piece and sung the aforementioned Macedonian song with the choir. None of which had any rehearsal. As a finale the whole school, plus audience, sang a slightly cleaned up version of Jessie J‘s Price Tag. Realising the song has 4 chords I taught the bass line to a 10 year old guitarist and got him to perform it 5 minutes later while I covered the guitar part. Having previously seen Catrin, the music teacher, direct choirs of hundreds of kids with only 10 minutes rehearsal I know that tonight was all in a days work for her. She is one of the most amazing musicians I have ever worked with. The head sends me on my way with a bottle of wine and Catrin invites me to a Klezmer jam session.

On the downside, I’m starting to become aware that a pain I’ve got in my right thumb is turning into pins and needle in my whole hand and forearm.

Friday

I have a day off. Pins and needles in both hands and forearms. Very worried about the weekend gigs knowing that the last time I played with Aistaguca I played so hard my finger bled. My brain is fast forwarding through RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome and other life/career threatening possibilities. I soak my arms in hot water to ease the discomfort and take my daughter to see Prometheus.

Saturday

The pins and needles are still bad. I take Ibuprofen and consult Dr Google. (I know that’s bad, but whenever I visit my real GP that’s all he does and I can type much faster than him, even with pins and needle). Most of the bad stuff seems to be ruled out and a trapped nerve in the shoulder may be the culprit. I remember pulling a muscle in my back last week quite badly due to rucksack full of music and macbook. Then I remember easing the pressure on my back by holding the strap with my right thumb. Someone online recommends ‘waving your arms like a mad thing’. I do it and the pins and needles recede as the original pain in my back reappears. I go to the gig.

As is common with Aistaguca there is a new member I’ve never met (Abel on alto sax), someone is filling in (Pete from Satnam’s Tash) and someone gets up to jam who I’ve never seen before (Irene from Muha). We have a great time playing for the coronation party and by the end all the reserved English villagers are up and dancing on the village green. Although we are playing Balkan gypsy wedding music people are doing the Macarena, pogoing, jumping around with their children or just throwing together any moves they’ve picked up from Strictly Come Dancing. The weather stays dry but my ears are frozen and I resolve to wear long trousers tomorrow.

Sunday

Rich picks me up around 11. We head off to buy a new capo after his last one went M.I.A. then to a cattle shed near Radcliffe for another coronation party. Today we have lost Pete on bass but gained Belinda on violin. During the break I buy a roast pork and stuffing baguette from the local pub and get back only to find the band has started without me. The second set ends with wild applause as once again these English villagers discover their inner gypsy.

Coming home to an empty house I watch almost the whole of Casino with Robert De Niro before I thaw out.

Next week is the half term holiday. I need to write a song to share at the songwriting group, do a few private lessons and maybe visit a chiropractor at Nottingham Sports Injury Clinic. Should be a bit more relaxing.

Categories
Showing Up Writing With Kids

Day 212: I Came To Surf

At last I’ve made a start on 50/90! I’ve posted 2 songs – I Came To Surf which I wrote on Friday and recorded on Saturday. I’m not sure about the tone of the lyrics whether I crossed the line of irreverance or not, let me know (the file is a little slow to stream/download – sorry).

And song two is a tune I wrote with a couple of 6 year olds at Ukelele Club! It’s called Big Ben.

Enjoy!

More songs by Matt Blick