monday song #16: lowe valley high
[show note: see you all tonight at the pub at Vios (65th st. and 20th ave; below third place books in north seattle). i’ll be going on around 7pm. as usual, it’s free, kids are welcome, and there is excellent food served there.]
this is one of the darker songs i’ve done. as with “bells” last week, the song parts came pretty spontaneously. i named the sound file “ollivander high” for no particular reason (i did not have the choruses fleshed out yet). the high school focus of the random title sent me deep into the heart of darkness.
as i worked on the song, i realized i was borrowing from some billie burke estate material (it’s legal to steal from yourself, right?). the structure of the tune, the melodic and harmonic repetition in the verses, and the refrain “another day in” parallel “99 liberty lane” (the opening cut off “let your heart break”). the slice of life tone is also similar to that song.
this song also stands as the thematic opposite of “charlie patience” (the opening cut off “give it all away”): whereas “charlie” looks back on the pain of a tough adolescence as a right of passage that didn’t define him, “lowe valley” is not so forgiving. the pov is very much that of a teenager, while “charlie” has the luxury of an adult understanding the pains of growing up after the fact.
i am often asked whether my songs are autobiographical. only indirectly, with a handful of exceptions. the characters are usually spun spontaneously as i write, but the details are often informed by experience.
this was a very fun tune on the piano. i didn’t realize i would do the breaks until i played the bed track for the first time and found that the words demanded the blues bursts. i was listening to billy preston today (“music is my life”), and his playing inspired some of the passages.