While many of my songs are about Best Beloved, this one is not.
Although the lyrics reference any number of U.S. Presidents, the astute observer will note that it is not even remotely about politicians.
Without boring you with musicological details, the intro to this song is a challenge when we perform it live. While many of my other songs can be shifted up or down as much as a full key, those where I play the harmonica don’t have that luxury. Mostly because I don’t own enough harmonicas.
Someone called Ireland the land of happy wars and sad love songs. This song always feels like a little of both.
You should have married Andrew Jackson
I know that you think more of him than me
I’ll bet Ben Franklin would be fine with you
And that’s fine with me as far as I can see
Alexander Hamilton is only half as much
As Andrew Jackson in your twisted mind George Washington‘s just peanuts; Abe Lincoln‘s not much more
But Grover Cleveland would be quite a find
Too bad Woodrow Wilson don’t circulate no more
Got your hands on him he’d never leave
But gimme just one Roosevelt to call a cab
And I’ll be gone for good you’d best believe
My buddy Charlie Cheney stuffs his songs full of nouns. Every time I’d send him a set of lyrics and say hey, wanna put this to music? he’d respond “Where are all the nouns?” Yes, I tend to write ethereal touchy feely stuff. (You should note that Charlie has shared the stage with Jackson Browne and I have not. I know which of us is the better songwriter. Still, I soldier on.)
Charlie and some folks once put together a song made entirely of nouns. It was fun, but it didn’t make as much sense as Charlie’s Palmer Johnson Yacht.
I responded with this song: beautiful carelessly sultry.
It has no nouns. Zero. (You’re writers. You know what that means.)
Listening to David Gray while we made pancakes together I found myself wondering about some of the things he believes.
Which makes no sense because I know writers of all kinds have their characters or the voice of their song saying or doing things that aren’t necessarily aligned with their core beliefs. While Web Martin and Jake Calcutta are more like me than they ought to be, I know I’ve written things in my songs that aren’t beliefs I put into practice every day. In fact, the more I allow myself to put words in my character’s mouths or express opinions in my songs which aren’t my own, the more depth and breadth my writing will take on and possibly the more I will understand people who think and feel and say those things.