The song of my band, Long Time Divided, that still resonates with me is our song Breaker. Not only was it one of the first songs that we ever wrote, but it also has a heartbreaking story to it that was born from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I just remember all the horrific news reports of all these people stuck on their roofs or fending for themselves in the streets but it wasn't until our band first formed and started writing the song in 2008 that I was able to put to words what I had seen day in and day out through all the broadcasts. To this day, Breaker is still the one song that we have requested at our shows over all the rest and I think it's because of the honesty of the lyrics coupled with the incredible guitar hooks.
The song "Want It All Tonight" is autobiographical. It is about a relationship in which two people fall completely in love and, as touring musicians, have to deal with the distance and separation interjected into the relationship. The song is about being willing to give up everything to, as the song states, "...spend my life in your arms". The lyrics are a reflection of my belief that if the passion is there, if the love is real, no distance can take that away.
Could any of us live without our cell phones? IPADS? Laptops? Have you ever stopped to think about how reliant we are on our digital devices for communication, information, connection, etc. A lot of people think that these devices connect us on a broader and more global scale, but I firmly believe that they disconnect us to reality. People seem to be losing the ability to have real, human conversations with each other in public. Kids text so much that their ability to emote and grow socially seems to be blunted. Now I may seem like a pessimist, but I'm not! I'm just stating my observations.
"Bomb in the Backseat" is a satirical rocker that shows how far we have really come to relying on technology and the endless amount of information that is available at our finger tips. The chorus states
"I got a bomb in the backseat waiting to explode, I learned how to make it from an app on my phone."
Though it may seem like an act of terror, the character is actually a symbol for the negative aspects of what can happen to us when attached to the digital world. it's a play on the fact that there are apps for almost anything these days, and why not a "bomb making app"???
Rock n' roll is without a doubt the most powerful vehicle to get a message across about society. Artists like The Stones, The Who, Guns N Roses, have all written songs about their views, and this is mine. Not to mention the song is really catchy!
At first listen, A Mayfield Affair's upbeat, banjo driven, almost country-ish song "Kansas" might conjure up sweet thoughts of the Wizard of Oz, with its many references to the Oz story, but the truth has a slightly sharper edge than you may think.
I wrote it as a reply to an argument in a recent romantic entanglement. I rarely talk about it, but once, in another universe, I was engaged to a woman who I thought was the one for me. She became close to my family (who all live in Kansas) and when things went south, the engagement ended. Yet she would still talk of wanting to go out to Kansas to visit them. It was her dream to sit on our front porch, drink sweet tea, and relax in my family's company. I sat down to write out my thoughts about this and a song was created. I was trying to make a point without turning the song into an "I Hate You" moment, and I wanted to explain that my family was a perk of being with me and that she couldn't get her dream of Kansas family moments without me, so if she still wanted that, then she needed to come to her senses, and come back to me.
Funnily enough, when she first heard the song, all she focused on was that it appeared that I was calling her a witch with the "You'll never get there riding brooms" line. With the writing of this song, it paved the way for me to write more metaphorically, in order to try and spare some feelings, as my writing style up to that point was always very literal. Those involved in situations I would choose to write about would have no trouble figuring out what I was talking about. Learning this has saved me a lot of trouble, and made the music I've been a part of creating much better.
Baby / I want to be
the one who makes you act crazy
Don't believe / what you see
I feel tired and lazy
I don't want to fail this Chemistry
I'm not going to change the air you breathe
I just want to make the most of the least amount of company
Lie to me / just be discreet
and don't offend me with integrity
I get mean / when you corner me
and I may seem more like an enemy
But I don't want to fail this Chemistry
I'm not going to change the air you breathe
I just want to make the most of the least amount of company
I don't want to fail this Chemistry
I'm not going to change the air you breathe
I just want to make the most of the least amount of company
I wrote this song about wanting to make a relationship work but not setting the bar unrealistically high. I'm more or less providing a disclaimer for a potential love interest in the verses. The chorus begins with a nostalgic reference to high school chemistry and then proceeds to deglamorize the idea of love in favor of a more pragmatic approach.
"Stilettos" is a female anthem for all the ladies who've gone through a bad break up with a certain "cheater" in their life. It's a sassy way of saying goodbye.
I'm the definition of a true girly-girl and in a situation like this, you get the chance to flaunt what that man will be missing by wearing your stilettos walking away from him.
Pull Out a Rabbit
Originally this song was part of a group of songs that were written in a tuning of my own devising. As first conceived, Pull out a Rabbit was just a simple, unusual melody and some soft backing organ, the chief inspiration being Elliot Smith's "Angeles". When I decided to present this song to the full band as part of our latest recording sessions, we all agreed that it worked well as a quiet song but something was missing. In a moment of rare inspiration we decided that what was missing was a full on rock out ending, a la The Flaming Lips or Granddaddy.
Lyrically the song draws from that place in each of us where we know something isn't right but we do it anyway. And from the feeling that you just want to give up on everything, but know in your heart you aren't that type of person and most likely you'll get out of bed even if you don't want to :)
The lyrics to our song "Monsters" is about our obsession, or really any artist's obsession with creating music and trying to become successful in the music business.
How much we all give, how much we all compromise, how much effort we exude to progress even an inch. The tough road of progress can feel like a visitation from a "monster" in a nightmare and at other times feel like the most wonderful dream. The "monsters" are not only in our dreams, they also are our dreams.
The "monsters" also symbolize the music and songs we create. Making music is one of the most exhilarating and wonderful experiences in our lives, however, questions like "Will the song be liked?", "Will anyone identify with this?", or "What life will this song lead?" have a tendency to arise. The song is also about how these fears, imaginary though they may be, can paralyze if we're not careful.
This song has been, and continues to be therapeutic when we play it live. It helps us re-focus on the reasons we make music and helps us overcome our fears in what we create and how to move forward.
Dueling pianos is one thing that never crossed my mind when I ventured out to create a career in music. Original music was all I did, and playing in bands was all I ever wanted to do. I quickly learned, however, that the average stranger would much rather give me a few dollar bills to play Tiny Dancer or Sweet Caroline than to hear me pour out my own emotions. This realization led me to a job playing dueling pianos in Chicago to help with the bills as I continued working on my singer/songwriter career.
Dueling piano players are absolute rock stars, for about 3 hours, and only in the bar they're playing in. As soon as the bar closes and all of the drunk fans who listened as if we were the greatest musicians ever go home, the dueling piano player is completely forgotten. You go from rock star to employee in sixty seconds. My song, Almost was born one night I finally started to realize that the glory I thought I had at the piano bar was worthless.
I was sitting in a booth by myself, waiting for the manager to finish paperwork with the servers so that I could get paid and get home before the sun rose when that first verse popped in my head - "The bar is closed but I'm still here/It ain't a glamorous life but the money's real..." I go on to write about the way I felt when the bar goes from ultimate party to hangover silence. Sitting there after such an emotional change would always get me thinking, and it would generally be about regrets - in this instance, a past love.
The chorus of the song evolves with each instance. The theme of the chorus is that I still think of this past love, and at first it blames my surroundings, revealing that "I think of you almost every night." Influences from the dueling pianos begins the second verse as well - "Take another drink just because I can/I'd rather drown in here than suffocate out there" - referencing the free drinks and how easy it is to want to drown your sorrows rather than face them.
The bridge describes the morning after, and how thoughts of the past love are still very apparent, leading the song to end with "I think of you almost all the time." It is a true regret, not simply an emotion triggered by alcohol.
I wanted Radio Waves to reach someone.
The whole idea for the song sprung out of a moment several years ago when I was torn up over an ended relationship. One of the things I hate most about painful break-ups is how difficult it can be to relate naturally to that person after it's over. I felt like a robot, saying what I was supposed to say, but never really what I wanted to say. The song was my way of saying what I needed to say, sincerely and unashamedly.
I wrote the song when I was home visiting my parents in the summer. I'm from the inland desert area in southern California so it was one of those hot, impossible to sleep summer nights, and I woke up in a sweat after a strange nightmare about a satellite falling from outer space in through the window and crushing me. I stayed up all night writing the song on an electric guitar.
The song was in a way, one of my sincerest confessions. I wanted to tell this person that I loved them, despite everything. It wasn't about getting them back, its not a song of desperation, it's simply my way of saying, wherever you are in the world, the universe, whatever, wherever you go in life, I love you, and I just want you to know that.
I imagined myself a mad scientist, crossing transmission wires, interrupting satellite signals, capturing my message in a sing-a-long style song and somehow feeding it into the radio station they had tuned into at the time.
The song didn't come together musically until later. I was living in Madrid at the time and had begun to play with a group of musicians there. We put the song together in the attic of my piano player at the time, Sergio Valdehita, and that's were it took on the sort of jazz old time feel at the beginning, and the musical builds that give the choruses their power. I didn't realize just how powerful the song was until we started playing out around Madrid at our live shows. We had built up a lot of momentum on the scene there, and I remember people getting teary-eyed, others singing along at the top of their lungs, couples wrapping their arms around each other or sometimes just a person staring up at me, like I had written the song for their ears only. It's one of my favorite songs to play live. When I first wrote it, the song was a tribute to something that was gone, but now it's taken on a more hopeful quality. When we play it around new york these days, I see the affect it has on people and I know its about something living, the beginning of a love story, between all of us.
Most Beautiful Thing
I grew up with an older sister and I also had many girls that I considered close friends. After years of observation, I noticed a trend. And a sad one at that. I've found that the majority of girls feel like they have to doctor their appearance in order to feel beautiful and they feel like they have to work for their worth.
Personally, I think beauty has nothing to do with the outward appear, but everything to do with the person underneath the skin. But as a society lead by pop culture, we have masked the truth behind true beauty. Now we find "beauty" in the face of a magazine cover, movie screen, computer, etc. So the message I wanted to relay behind my song "Most Beautiful Thing" is that there can't possibly be a more perfect and beautiful you. You don't have to work for your value and worth, because you are priceless just the way you are.
Ever feel lost in a cycle in a relationship where you should have a lot of catching up to do but yet the communication just isn't there or it has long ago faded? Ever feel like you're just treading water in a relationship and that all of a sudden the years have gone by and you have no idea who the person is you're with anymore? Well that's the story behind "Catching Up," the new single written by Tyler Mechem and recorded by Crowfield (Charleston, SC). Mechem has an uncanny knack for summing up the feelings and emotions that these uncertain times in a relationship can bring about. Mechem prefers for the listener to reach their own conclusions about what the song might mean.
Crowfield blends Infectious, charismatic rock with elements of Americana, alt-country, and pop and has been captivating audiences across the U.S. with an engaging stage presence and insightful and poignant lyrics. Frontman Tyler Mechem formed the band that would come to be known as Crowfield when he relocated to Charleston, SC in 2005 from Indiana. In 2008, they caught the ear of acclaimed producer Rick Beato (Shinedown, Needtobreathe, Crossfade, Trey Anastasio, Stuck Mojo, Charlie Mars). Crowfield's debut album "Goodbye, Goodnight, So Long Midwestern" (Ten Star Records) soon followed and won the band a legion of fans with it’s stripped down focus on rock and alt-country.
Crowfield’s third album The Diamond Sessions features a return closer to the band’s original sound. The album, also produced by Beato, features everything from ethereal acoustic solo numbers like “Measure of a Life” to soaring radio ready tracks full of horns and strings like “Catching Up” to the rock of “Mistake” and “Black Hills.” Formerly signed to Universal Records, Crowfield is full of broad commercial appeal and is currently on tour across the United States.
Rather than talk about just one song I've written, I'm going to write about the latest EP I released called If We Could See. I won't talk about each song obviously, but more so the main message/story about the album.
I grew up right outside Boston Massachusetts, then went to school at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. I never really thought about pursuing music full time as I graduated with an Economics as well as a Math degree then moved onto working on Wall st. in New York City. I would perform music on the side, but never really thought about going full time until a few years ago.
I was brought up in a very happy family who always taught us to think of others before ourselves. I was taught that being a good person, doing the right thing were paramount, but most of all be happy in life. After working on Wall st. for several years, I realized that I was not doing this. I had changed from the person I was raised to be and I didn't like it. So I started working with different charities including Musicians on Call (brings music to hospital patients' bedsides), Mid Atlantic Burn Camp (a camp for youths who are burn survivors), Music 4 More (an Org that helps raise money and donates musical instruments to schools around the country), and CHAP International (which is a group who travels to Africa each year to help build orphanages and help people of Liberia).
I started to think more and more about leaving Wall st. and pursuing music full time. After seeing children that I have worked with in these organizations accomplish so much, I became inspired to do the same. So a little over a year ago, I left New York City, moved to Los Angeles and have been pursuing music full time ever since. My message is simple, Be Happy & Help Others. Most of my music carries that message which is why I couldn't' really speak about one song, but rather the whole album. Each song has it's own small story, but the main message throughout the album is about enjoying life's journey but helping others along the way.
To give back to the organizations that brought me to the realization of what I should be doing with my music, I donate half my proceeds to them. I continue to work with them all and will also be traveling to Africa in June to Liberia.
"La Di Da" is a special song for us, primarily because it was the first song we wrote with a keyboard as the lead instrument. Prior to it, we had been a guitar/bass/drums-only band. But we made some discoveries, as we played with this new sound, that led us to prefer the keyboard-driven sound for the kind of music we were writing. We are now a mainly keyboard/piano-driven rock band, and we basically owe that metamorphosis to this song.
Lyrically, it tells the story of two people--Mary Johnson and Robert Brown--who meet and subsequently have their worlds changed. They fall in love and try to join their worlds together, which they find difficult to do in different ways. But throughout the song they learn that their differences do not pose threats to one another, and that whatever they chose to do about resolving their differences, the world still continued to turn.
The message behind the story was intended to be one of existentialism. Relationships and friendships have varying effects on the different people involved, and it is all dependent on the meanings assigned to the relationships by the participants. We get to choose whether or not the end of a relationship means the end of our world, or whether we can simply carry on with our heads high. We choose the lessons we take from mistakes made, and we choose whether we carry on the same as we have before, or whether we make significant changes to our behavior. Our lives and relationships are all upon our own shoulders, and no matter what, the Earth will keep spinning around the sun for us to have these little adventures upon.
Musically, we drew from old classic rock such as the Beach Boys, modern indie, pop-rock, some jazz, and even a healthy dose of Broadway music theater. This combination sums up Sun Ghost's sound, though we have our darker songs and our lighter songs. "La Di Da" is a light song, with a light message about some heavy things.
The story behind this song begins in the depths of a canyon. Far below the capabilities of a river is where we sat. The night was filled with desert air - thinner than paper and sharper than a knife. We had been touring for two months. We had just finished our Midwest and East Coast tour and we're parked at the Grand Canyon. Ansley began strumming the guitar as the band began dancing around the campfire like forgotten salamanders in island's cave. The melody began to channel the past - filled with nostalgia and excitement - like a turquoise ice ocean filled with pink fish - the song "uh oh" began to come to life. We spoke of Destruction and happiness and the inevitable demise of the universe. Afterall - it has to happen one day. Nothing lasts forever. However, Ansley began to question this in the song as she began to lay cryptic hidden messages within the lyrics of the song of the true meaning of life. Using an ancient coding device known to the Ubaids there is a hidden message of hope and unity amongst the living and the dead - - - thus, Uh Oh!
We Are Waiting is the title track to the debut EP by the Dallas-based band Always The Alibi. We usually close out our shows with this song to leave on an energetic high plus it has a great call-and-response thing going in the chorus. We love to get the crowd involved in this part and they always have a good time singing with u
This song was one of the most fun to record in the studio. It has a good energy and we love all of the texture added to the verses. Our producer, Bryan David, has such a knack for building little counter-melodies to the primary tracks. It gets interesting because you never know if what he's suggesting is going to work until you hear the final mix.
People have always asked what the song is about or the inspiration behind it, even a few of the band members. Like a lot of songwriters, I prefer to leave that up to the listener. It's not a political statement, just a call for every person to find their own voice to what matters to them.
What Ends Well is inspired by a tumultuous point in my life. My parents divorced and we had to foreclose on the house. I started living on my own because my parents were in a custody battle over the younger kids and neither had the means to support my older brother and me anymore. Inevitably, everyone has to jump into what is considered “adult life,” but the suddenness of the situation left me in a strange state. As a result of the bitter divorce, my younger brother started acting out, so my parents decided to ship him out to live with my aunt in Colorado for a while—it ended up being nine months. I only found out the day before he left that he was actually leaving; since I was working to pay rent I couldn’t afford to take off work suddenly to see him leave. The whole situation left me feeling shaken and detached from my family and friends. For a time I just went in and out of tune with myself. I felt lost, unbalanced, and angry at the world. The lyrics in the song represent these feelings of alienation and paranoia. The title gives a bit of dark humor to the story; Shakespeare said “All’s well that ends well.” I ask, “What ends well?”
“Wine & Excuses” is the oldest song that made the record. I know this because I was still living in Philadelphia when I wrote it, back in May 2010. Earlier that year, there was an enormous blizzard that dropped about three feet of snow in the city. As it happened, I got snowed in at my apartment with a few close friends and a girl that I had just started seeing. What followed was a really fun, but weird, two-week period where no one could get to class or work. Our cars were plowed in and public transportation was shutdown. We were all stuck hanging out with each other for every waking second, drinking far too much alcohol and playing a ton of Monopoly.
While that may sound more like a party than the inspiration for a love song, think again. Most relationships start gradually and take quite a bit of time before both parties are comfortable spending long, uninterrupted stretches of time with one another. Hell, some relationships never end up at that point at all. But when the situation is thrust upon you, it can definitely be a profound experience for both good and bad. It forces you to start going through the lifecycle of a relationship at an extremely accelerated pace – for better or worse.
For me, when Philadelphia finally thawed out and we had to return to our normal lives, it felt like I was waking up from a dream. Part of it might have been the hangover. But some of it resulted from having a very new relationship, and the unstable emotions that come with it, thrust upon me very quickly. It took on a much more serious vibe than I was expecting, due mostly to just the sheer proximity that was unavoidable due to the storm.
All of that freaked me out, and I did what my younger self always did when I felt freaked out – I ran away from the problem. When the wine ran dry and the excuse of being stuck together was no longer valid, I felt way too vulnerable and looked for a way out. It wasn’t until a number of months later that I looked back on things with a clearer head and realized my mistake. But as is often the case, it was too late to handle it differently.
The verses in the song refer to a lot of the details of that week, some more fictionalized than others. For example, the SEPTA regional rail train schedule and the bridge from City Avenue to Manayunk. My car was also plowed in so badly I never thought I’d see it again. (I eventually did, and immediately drove it to Atlantic City for one of our finer collegiate gambling sessions). The choruses are just about the girl getting frustrated with me for not being able to make up my mind. I don’t think they are actual quotes, as most of this was unspoken frustration. My mind probably made it out to be way more prevalent than it was in reality – I have a habit of romanticizing. Finally, the bridge is just about regretting how the whole thing was handled. “Should I figure it out, I hope you’re still waiting around – but I doubt that you will be” is a pretty self-explanatory quote.
The writing process for this one was pretty interesting, since it’s the first song that took on a collaborative feel from the rest of the band. When I first wrote the song, it was a quieter acoustic and piano number that I demoed on Garage Band. But when we were rehearsing up shows to support my solo EP Destinations, we needed a few more tunes to round out the set. We started jamming on the acoustic version of “Wine & Excuses”, leading Pete to suggest we try it in a more upbeat style. Then he laid down that glorious twang in the intro and I started grinning like an idiot. The rest was history.
I credit the song for really pushing us to become a real band that worked collaboratively to write songs. It was also instrumental in helping us find our sound. We jump around a lot, but I think the pop sensibility with some Americana twang and straight up rock and roll guitars shines through in a lot of what we do. We started to find the balance with “Wine & Excuses”.
While recording this song, we intentionally pushed the tempo a little bit since we knew it was going to be the first proper song on the record. Like most of the songs, we tracked bass, drums, and guitars live. I remember nailing this one very quickly and feeling good about it. But then later in the night, we all had a few cocktails and played it back and we thought it was so fast. I think it was just that our brains were fried from an 18-hour day of tracking and all the gin and Sierra Mist we drank slowed our reactions, because after sleep and coffee it sounded great in the morning. It was one of only a small few studio freak-outs that ensued during the sessions for Don’t Paint Your Days So Gray.
Also, for the record, the harmony on “smile right through all the sad, sad, songs that you sing” is a four-part. There was no Auto Tune involved. Meg nailed the super high note on the first or second try, because that’s what she does. It might be my favorite harmony on the record, after the seven-part on the intro
"Prove Me Wrong"
I don't know why I use the word "buddy" so much. This is the second time. The first was in Le Meu Le Purr's song "Celebrate". I guess I just like the ring of it. I remember writing the first few chords and the melody. Then, "The Hope For Man Is Gone" came out. I don't know from where. Maybe it's was everything on the news, my way of poking fun at myself, or just listening to "The Wall" too much. I've always been a sucker for hope; things can and will get better if you want them to. I thought I should write the song taking the point of view of a king, a tyrant, a president, big business, or even god. "Maybe one day someone will hear it and get pissed off enough to do something about their situation" I thought. Of corse this is 50% bull shit. I'm really just yelling at myself.
When I wrote "Big Fat Hissy Fit," the BP oil spill was happening. So the lines, "I like my coffee, like I like my Gulf Of Mexico: real expensive and all black," just came out. As a former resident of Florida, it was very sad news to hear. As I kept refining the lyrics, it started to evolve into this kind of social commentary about others and myself. The lyrics dive into the way our minds work when dealing with insecurities and mistakes we make over and over again due to human nature.
The main point the song tries to make is that we are all the heroes of a story that's going on in our heads. No one ever believes they are the bad guy, and with the exception of a few people in this world, no one is completely evil. Just ask any religious extremist group. A lot of people are against them, but they still believe in their hearts that they are doing the right thing! There is no right or wrong...just perceptions of right and wrong.
The song "Nothing" is story about the struggles of a local band. Anyone in an orginal band can relate to the hard work it takes to keep a band together, book and play shows, and try to build a following. "Nothing" is a song that highlites believing in the band and putting in hard work with little or no reward hoping that one day it will pay off. We are all nobodies trying to become somebodies and using our music as a vehicle to do so.
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