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.

uku_frown

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.

salts

An aside – Back in the 80’s, you could call 1-800-SALT-TIP for advice on using Morton’s salt. Did anyone other than me call this number?

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!

16 thoughts on “March’s song – The Rain In Midwinter

  1. Again, another great song and another great write-up. I particularly liked hearing about the contest between Morton Salts. I bet it was a grueling matchup.

    1. Josh says:

      It was! And Kosher almost won, but table rallied at the end and took the prize.

  2. Choongha says:

    Josh, thanks for sending the link. I enjoyed it very much and the the behind story. All best!

    1. Josh says:

      I’m glad to hear you liked it!

  3. So what were the tips you got from the Morton Salt people back in the day. I’m amazed you called the number. How many other box tops and labels did you read?

    By the way, I’m loving it that your tunes are tunes. Things worth singing again. 🙂 And this one definitely sounds like rain. Let’s hope April showers will bring a few sunny flowers.

    Earle

    1. Josh says:

      I’m almost certain we’ll get April flowers this year.

  4. Aline and Geoff says:

    Nice! love the percussion!

    1. Josh says:

      Glad you like it! I think each month the percussion is going to get more and more interesting. And then we’re going to go to Brazil, and then who knows what will happen!

  5. Jon D. says:

    Do I need to register and do a bunch of pain in the neck crap to post a comment to this? If you are reading this, the answer was no.

    1. Jon D. says:

      It was not complicated! I am amazed! Also the song was good.

    2. Josh says:

      Yep, anyone can post a comment. They go through a spam filter, but, love or hate the song, feel free to write what ever you like.

  6. nancy edwards says:

    Another beautiful composition Josh!! I can feel the rain! Love it!

    1. Josh says:

      So glad you like it!

  7. Amanda says:

    I’m definitely up for a melancholic (but pretty) line dance craze. It could be the down-beat answer to the flash mob dance.

  8. Tara says:

    Starmer’s monthly song is like getting 12 deliciously blue Christmases a year. Thoroughly enjoyed this sweet and melancholy tune written while waiting on spring. Great rhythms.

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