March’s song – The Rain In Midwinter
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I don’t think my ukulele is talking to me any more. After February’s supposed-to-be-a-ukulele-song-but-ended-up-being-anything-else tune, I promised the instrument it would shine in March. Things didn’t work as planned.
Determined to to write a ukulele song, I brought the instrument with me on the last Birds and Arrows tour and, much to Pete and Andrea’s chagrin, played it every minute we were on the road. By the end of the trip, the entire song was worked out – I had chords, melodies and harmonies. Recording it was a snap. I even got far enough to add auxiliary percussion. With a drum stick, a wooden spoon and a butter knife, I tapped and rattled just about everything I could find in my kitchen. I discovered that I could play a a set of small glasses with the wooden spoon like a xylophone. And the butter knife sounded particularly cool when I banged it against the countertop. I had made an enormous amount of progress on this song; it was almost done. But then another melody came into my head.
I wanted to ignore the new song. I was very, very busy and I didn’t have time to work on something new. The first song was almost done, and only a few weekday evenings remained to get everything done. But I couldn’t shake the new tune. It was stuck in my head and wasn’t going anywhere until recorded.
The new song was intriguing. While the chords and melodies were fixed in my mind, every other aspect of the song changed when I thought about it. Sometimes it would be slow and soft, with a breathy, brushed snare drum in the background. Other times it was a loud, stadium sized anthem, with pounding bass drum beats. I wanted to record this tune to resolve these issues. The song needed to be defined, given a shape and form, or else it was going to haunt me forever (or at least until April).
As you can guess from the lyrics, it’s been a rainy winter in North Carolina. And when it rains, it pours. In this case, it also shakes. After auditioning table and kosher salts, the plain old variety made the cut.
This month’s song features stomps and claps, just like February’s song. This physical percussion is here to stay (unless I can master the kweeca, and then all bets are off); it’s cheap (no drum kit required) and easy (again, no drum kit required). But it also means I should ask my friend Amanda to choreograph melancholy line-dances to go along with these tunes. Who says country music get’s to have all the fun? I think a mellow, slightly-gloomy-but-very-pretty, acoustic line-dance craze needs to sweep the nation.
I hope you enjoy this month’s offering. If my ukulele gets its way, things will be very different in April!