Sometimes — actually rather often — I hear a string of words that amuses me in its content and possesses a natural rhythm. Often the rhythm of the string of words suggests the possible rhythm of the entire song.
The string of words, in the present case found at the end of the third verse, instantly suggested both a preferred musical genre (country music), the feeling of the song (comedy), and it identified itself as the “hook” or “punchline” that might reward the listener for sticking with the song through the first two and most of the third verse. I knew early on that I wanted a vocal track and guitar, bass, solo violin and percussion, and later I added a backup violin, banjo and some oohs and aahs. At its core, this is a bit of a relationship song, in which the tolerant singer identifies the limits of his/her tolerance.
As for the title, I decided that rather than use the entire eight-word hook, which would prematurely disclose the joke, I’d shorten it to just one word: “Lips.” The short title does not telegraph what’s coming, and rather might suggest a sensual love song. Surprise!
Songwriting for me is a labor of love. So, as Labor Day celebrations occur early in September, it seems fitting to have a bit of musical fun. So, clap yer hands and flap yer “Lips”!
In June of every year for about the past decade, I’ve played live music as part of the festivities of “A Night in June”, a music celebration which takes place in Pinconning City Park, Pinconning, Michigan, during the month of June.
This year, while I was rehearsing with my fellow musicians, it occurred to me that the festival itself has no “signature song.” So, I set about trying to see if our performance group would be interested in playing a new original song for which I’d provide the lead sheets. The group was in favor, and we rehearsed the tune in anticipation of performance.
I then decided to share the song with CinemaSlice.com for to feature as part of my “Art Lives On” series, in which I’m providing one original song during each month of 2018.
The song is a simple 1950’s-style vintage cowboy or country waltz. The recorded arrangement features vocals, violin, guitar, bass, chorus, and percussion.
During the month of July, in which we celebrate Independence Day, community activities range from parades, fireworks, outdoor concerts and gatherings of families and friends. It’s also a great time for individual reflection about what’s important and to recommit to positive action to benefit self and others.
While I planned to write a song called “You Get My Goat,” I wrote this melody and decided, “This isn’t that song.” For no particular reason, I then changed the title to “Election Day.” After writing the lyrics to the tune, I again changed the title to “What It Is.” This is, in fact a meandering song, starting out as a reflection of frustrations of searching for work in a tight job market, then morphing to an expression of a wish to find meaning in life, then starting a diatribe, an ain’t-it-awful commentary about our culture, then a questioning of whether involvement in social problems is worth the effort, then a decision to embrace action, commitment and self-acceptance, then a wish for others to see their own value and how that value may be appreciated by others, and finally extolling the value and uniqueness of each individual who chooses to try to maximize their potential.
There are two versions of “What It Is” – a moderately slow lyrical version and a faster instrumental version. The addition of lyrics and change of speed tend to create different moods. It’s my hope that after listening, you’ll at least conclude, “It is ‘What It Is’”, and not “You get my goat!” 🙂
Back with another music piece to add to the “Art Lives On” project! And more directly, to release ART into the world!
When I recently became aware of the toxicity of the innards of a favorite children’s bath toy, the rubber duck, I set about writing a parody song, with different melody, lyrics and chord structure, yet reminiscent of a song that used to be quite popular.
My thanks to Jodi Pierson-Kraska who shared two photographs for this project.
I’m proud to present the 5th song in my CinemaSlice series, Art Lives On!
Recently, my wife asked me to come to the back livingroom window to identify the critter that was terrorizing our backyard squirrels and eating the sunflower seeds which she had set out for them. The critter turned out to be an opossum. As luck would have it, I had my camera set up in the living room and began filming our unexpected guest. While filming, I thought of a comedy country song that I had written in 2002 called “Possum on the Hill.”
After a search, realized that I still had the music track, but no vocals saved in my music software program or anywhere else. So, after our visiting opossum had his fill of sunflower seeds and left the backyard, I recorded a new vocal track. I then imported the camera footage and the music mixdown into my video program and created a music video for my YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/biloxiguy.
I’m already married. So, without further “I do,” I’m pleased to share the music video “Possum on the Hill” this month (May 2018) as part of my “Art LivesOn” series for CinemaSlice.com.
If you’re not a subscriber to both CinemaSlice.com and to my YouTube channel, please subscribe now so you won’t miss anything!
ART LIVES ON, in episode #4 of this musical series!
Sunday, April 22, 2018 is Earth Day this year. A bit of the history of Earth Day may be found HERE.
The preservation of the quality and availability of water is critical for health and for the survival of life on our planet.
Drinking water is one of those things that many people in the United States take for granted. One of the amazing things I love about the people in the Great Lakes region is that they have an acute sense of the value of clean water – likely instilled by their love of the Lakes upon which they live. However, it’s that very abundance of water that makes people in this region wonder why water conservation should be an issue. In actuality, water conservation and Great Lakes restoration go hand in hand; the less water we take out of the Great Lakes and consume, the more there is to support this amazing ecosystem. The Lakes are at some of the lowest levels in decades. Every drop counts.
I’m back to present the 3rd installment of his collection of original music, Art Lives On!
In February 2014, I set out to write an Irish song, in 12/8 rhythm, in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.
The first challenge was mastering the spelling of “Shillelagh.” Thanks to my daughter for the cellphone footage of the jumping jacks. The lyrics are fanciful and portray a fictional character created for the song. The reference to Old Bailey required a bit of poetic license.
“The Old Bailey, also known as Justice Hall, the Sessions House, and the Central Criminal Court, was named after the street in which it was located, just off Newgate Street and next to Newgate Prison, in the western part of the City of London.”
Song: “I Had an Old Shillelagh”, Lyrics and Music Copyright February 01, 2014 by David M. Waldman, All Rights Reserved.
Video: “I Had an Old Shillelagh”, Video Copyright February 13, 2014 by David M. Waldman, All Rights Reserved
On Halloween, 2017, CinemaSlice‘s Michael Welborn released a short film clip paying homage to the 1940 film The Devil Bat (starring Bela Lugosi) – also called The Devil Bat. I asked an old college friend (an avid film fan, and a classmate in Andrew Jefchak‘s Literature and Motion Pictures class at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan) for his input on the film before I wrote this.
Talking with Welborn, he mentioned that his intention was to cover what he felt was the main scene(s) in the original film – explaining the short length (a little over three minutes) of this project. He also had some ideas he’d like to try for an expanded homage – though to my knowledge those are still in the concept stage.
A horror film with a mix of humor and sadism. I feel this film is a lot longer than it needs to be. The opening itself running a slightly-past-tolerable 2 minutes, plus. I’m not sure if the background images really do much for setting up the story itself (rather, justifying the amount of time spent on them). It’s possible there’s some key element among them, but after a couple of viewings it still eludes me – other than establishing a medical-theme. The one nice thing though is the opening soundtrack (by AVZTN), which has a special creepiness to it – the classic haunting sounds do produce a chilling effect, causing uneasiness in the viewer (or at least to me).
The first shot is a close-up of an anesthesiologist (played by Michael Welborn), explaining to a patient who he is and what his duties are suppose to be. We then see the patient (Mr. Covington, played by Brandon Guiles). We quickly learn this is suppose to be an appendectomy. However the bedside manner of the physician is disturbing Covington a bit.
by David M. Waldman
Every now and then I come across a morsel of online media that grabs me in lower frontal lobes and makes me wonder where I’ve been and why I haven’t heard this gem of creativity before. I recently had such an experience. As a great fan of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack and of more parodists than I care to mention, I was excited to hear for the first time, and have subsequently returned on other occasions to listen to, “I GOT YOU (and you got me)” by Ferran Snotra (Rev. Spike Beasley). With prominent bass, drumset and a faint piano, it’s a sound to which you could lindy hop . But don’t! Instead, just kick back an enjoy “Ferran Snotra”, a.k.a. Thomas Ferranti’s send up of Ol’ Blue Eyes. Move over Swoonatra! Say welcome to the new Chairperson of the Board!
As is often the case, when one finds such gems, a greater exploration of Ferranti’s talents are not far away. Indeed, it turns out that he is multi-talented, as may be seen in this video of his voice acting skills, entitled “Thomas Ferranti: 16 Voices (out of 100+) and short acting demo reel.” Independent filmmakers should keep this guy in mind for challenging projects.
And finally, I LOVE this video that by Ferranti, entirely because it is ANNOYING!!
Submitted on Labor Day, 2017
About the Writer: David Waldman is a cinematographer, composer/arranger/performer, writer, and sometimes critic living on the back of his right hand where the 4 fingers meet the thumb. Michiganders will understand this.