April – You Can Do It

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What do you do when you show up to work and The Boss says, “OK, it rained a lot in March.  I get it.  You wrote a song about rain.  Next month I want a song that’s upbeat!”

I’ll tell you what you do.  You freak out.  You start by tapping your finger on your desk.  The tempo is fast.  It has to be.  Then your toe joins in.  You keep the tempo quick till it’s lodged in your body.  With the rhythm set, you hum bass lines on the way to the break room (where you make your green tea extra strong).  When you’re alone in the elevator, you add melody to the rhythm that is pulsing in your head like a jackhammer.  When you leave work, you’re singing at the top of your lungs.  You’ve got a headache throbbing in sync with your song.  If you don’t record it NOW, you’re going to explode.  You power up the computer, the microphone and the metronome.  The rest is history.

april

Despite my writing and subsequent scratching my writing out, most of the lyrics were ad-libbed when I recorded.

At least, that’s what you do when you’re in a movie.  The whole thing, from The Boss walking into the office to the song sweeping the nation, takes about 4 to 5 minutes.

But that’s not what happened.  Instead, my quickly tapping finger got tired.  It slowed down and I thought about that sad melody I whistled for the abandoned March song.  Why not just finish that tune?  It was cool, it had a xylophone made of orange juice glasses, and it was so close to being done.  But it was so far from being what The Boss demanded.

After two weeks, I didn’t have a peppy song written, not to mention recorded.  This was troubling.  Free time in April was scarce because I moved to a new house.  Any downtime was spent packing, unpacking, making trips to the hardware store or staring at the wall, completely exhausted by it all.  My to-do list had no end in sight.

Fearing that I wouldn’t record a song for April, I told myself, “you can do it”.  And I said it over and over.  You can do it.  You can do it.  You can do it!  Before long, those words formed a melody.  It was slow, and not particularly upbeat, but it was catchy.  Would it still work if I jacked the tempo and made it faster?  It would.  It actually sounded better that way.  I had my chorus figured out.  I could do it!

Once I realized April wasn’t going to be a bust, all kinds of upbeat songs blossomed in my head.  It wasn’t a matter of trying to come up with something to work with, but a matter of picking the right pieces to put together.

“You can do it” is the finished puzzle.  Surprisingly, my cello stepped up to the plate and kept it peppy.  In fact, it totally hogged the plate.  Not only was my ukulele shunned for yet another month, but so was the mandolin.  This was all cello, all the time.  Plus stomps, hand-claps, my voice and morton (my trusty box of salt).  This might be the first cello “pep” song every written.

Desperate to shed it's "total downer" image, my cello insisted on playing all of the parts in this pep song.

Desperate to shed it’s “total downer” image, my cello insisted on playing all of the parts in this pep song.

You can try this song at home!  Here’s the chart!

27 thoughts on “April – You Can Do It

  1. Nice – very nice. Makes me think of the Beatles. Should it?

    1. Josh says:

      Excellent question! I’ll get back to you on that one.

  2. Tim & Barbara says:

    Loving it in London.

    1. Josh says:

      Glad to hear it made it all the way there! Have a safe trip!

  3. Fletcher says:

    Another awesome job Josh!! Love the build in this song. Much more Spring like than last month. Glad the weather is better in N.C. Not only do I love the song, but I always love your comments on your process.

    1. Josh says:

      Yep, it’s definitely more spring. We’ll have to see what happens when it really heats up in the summer!

  4. Hank says:

    This song is great. I think you should use it to replace the music for the training montage in “Rocky”.

    1. Josh says:

      Perhaps it would work best during that scene where Rocky makes the breakfast drink with 3 raw eggs and then chugs it down.

  5. Suzie Hosman says:

    You did it!
    I always enjoy your tunes and your commentary. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face…and congrats on the new house!

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks so much!

  6. gaspard says:

    This is good stuff man… thanks for sharing. Love it

    1. Josh says:

      Glad you like it! Some of those cello parts were “borrowed” from the piece I’m doing for your dance.

  7. Choong-ha says:

    Enjoyed it, Josh! Liked the ending very much.

    1. Josh says:

      That’s my favorite part, too.

  8. nancy edwards says:

    Another lovely piece Josh! Thanks for sending it. I listened as a big snow covered our early spring sproutings in Boulder.

    1. Josh says:

      Snow so late! I hope not all is lost in the garden.

  9. Yunjung says:

    Wonderful peice of music! I really enjoyed it. You are a great musician and singer.

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks so much!

  10. Mike Komives says:

    Love it! Always receptive to positive thoughts… Thanks for sharing your gift.

    Mike

    1. Josh says:

      Mike, so glad you like it. It was a blast to record.

  11. I love this! It totally belongs in a movie.

  12. Kally says:

    Nice! I may have heard just a little bit of emo cello in there too so it looks like it gets to both mope and pep about : )

    1. Josh says:

      The cello was the original emo instrument. It let’s you run in the big race while you stare at your shoes.

  13. Aline says:

    Awesome! I love it! Can’t wait to see you guys.

  14. Nancy West says:

    Well, I’ve been busy procrastinating….no longer. I know I can put together a talk for Saturday. Finish a lingering project. This must be my new psych song.

    1. Josh says:

      Hooray! You can do it!

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