These songs were written in 2020 – 2021 and are my debut recordings of original music with my own lyrics. I’ve written other songs with the lyrics by Ron English but these are my first completely from myself. It’s been a lifetime of performance of great music from the heights of classical art song to the best of rock and roll but writing my own melodies and capturing my own thoughts is something that is unexpected at this point in my life, in my sixth decade! It’s never too late.
The image on the SKY HIGH Cover is a photograph I took one evening driving home on my country road. It’s farmland with cows and eagles and wild turkeys and is my paradise. I left my Manhattan apartment behind and moved here full time after I found a community of artists and musicians that recognized me and gave me a new home.
2019 was a difficult time as my body was diagnosed with anemia. I couldn’t sleep at all for a few months, without knowing why. I was up most nights and that’s when I turned to writing my thoughts in a little notebook beside the bed. 2020 turned the corner and we were all hit with an unprecedented pandemic. The first song I wrote was “Duality”, about the goodness of the world and the mystery of life. In the Bible when God creates the earth “He saw that it was good”. I took that line for myself as I believe God inhabits each of us. So when I say “She saw that it was good” God becomes me and is looking through my eyes. We see the world as we choose to see it. She saw that it was good.
“Sleeping Outside” was a poem I wrote in 1997 as I was travelling home to NY from a gathering in Missouri. When I camp in the woods I usually sleep in a tent. But we were driving home at night and got very tired. So we stopped at a State Park and laid down on the ground under the starry sky to rest. I relaxed into the ground and stared at the stars but was astounded because it looked like they were moving around! I was confused, what was happening? Then I realized there was a large swarm of fire flies overhead and they were so bright that they blended into the shinning stars overhead. You couldn’t tell their lights from the stars. It was so beautiful that I drifted off to dreamland without a care. “And if tomorrow never gets here we’ll never know the difference.” If I died right then it would be alright. I think the guitar music captures the beauty of that night. It’s an alternative tuning I got from a Michael Hedges song “Fusion of the Five Elements” DAEFAE. Notice the half step in the middle of the tuning. Magical. I wrote the guitar part first then laid in the words.
“Heaven Is” is a poem by the artist Ron English. He sent it to me in March of 2020 right after he had come down with Covid. This was the first person I knew who had it and none of us had vaccines. His words are deep with layers of meaning and I didn’t change a word. However I did rearrange the verses and left many of them out to create the song. The first two lines hit me hard “Heaven is the life after the death. Heaven is the air after your last breath.” It’s a complicated structure as a Rondo form in A B A C A D, the A section repeats three times with two alternate parts in between. For me it clarifies the meaning of the verses and follows the emotions of the ideas. The last two lines give me shivers “For those who believe in redemption, get to sin again and again. And walk on water, even when the waters are so deep and the ice is too thin.” This echoes a line from one of Ron’s earlier poems “Thin Ice” – Jesus never walked on water but he was always on thin ice”. Brilliant man.
“When I’m Awake” is about a dream I had of my first husband. I love him dearly still, but it was a lifetime ago. Dreamland is powerful and mysterious.
My cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” is based on a performance she did on the “Miles of Aisles” album from a tour through the US. She has done different versions of this iconic song and I was inspired to use her tuning EBDGAD. She has been ever present in my life, in my mind with her astonishing songwriting and lyricism.