My New Original Song: Half Sisters (Long & Short Versions)

I’ve finished another song on my songwriting journey. Four of my six original songs are message songs. This is one of them. And for every hundred people that might take umbrage over the message, there will be one who will say, “Hey, that’s my life.” (That’s who I’m writing for, assuming these people find my song).

The other two songs I’ve written are more in the direction I hope to pursue in the future – love, romance, dance, attitude, etc. So now I get to work on the next one that might take me down that path.  

Half Sisters (Short Version)

Half Sisters (Full Version)

Half Sisters: Inspired by Your Sister Cried

I’m working on two songs – one for me as Singer/Songwriter and the commercial song I received some positive feedback on. Half Sisters is the singer/songwriter song I’m hoping to finish up this week. The style is inspired by Your Sister Cried, although Half Sisters is in 3/4 time with more of a waltz rhythm.

What I love about songs written by singer/songwriters is that you can break the rules! And you can bring your own vocal style to it, adding character. No wonder that kind of songwriting appeals to me far more than commercial songwriting.

For example, every commercial feedback session I’ve been in, well, it’s very clear they want certain things: Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus. One night nobody had a bridge in their song and the mentor insisted we all have a bridge.

The meaning of every line and the identity of who is talking and who the song is about must be clear. Because it would be such a shame should anybody listening to radio have to stop and think! That’s the kiss of death! And that’s another reason I love singer/songwriter songs  – songs that touch you and make you think about life.

So check out Mary Gauthier’s post about the story behind “Your Sister Cried.” Obviously, if you’re going to break the rules, you need to know the rules and be very good at breaking them. This song inspires me as I work on “Half Sisters.”

(by Fred Eaglesmith)

I stared out of the windshield into the rain so light
I turned on my dims and somebody flashed me their brights
And I reached over and turned the radio way down low
Your sister cried all the way home 

Lightening crashed and the road shone like a mirror
A dog came out of the ditch then he disappeared
I remembered a conversation we once had on the phone
Your sister cried all the way home

I’ll never know how you got into such a mess

Why do the bridesmaids all have to wear the same dress?
Everybody said you looked real good
But I think you looked stoned
Your sister cried all the way home

This song floored me this first time I heard it, with its brilliant combination of humor and sadness. The dialogue is fantastic; we don’t know who is speaking, or to whom they are talking, but it works perfectly- against all odds. This song is a true rule breaker. It has so much mystery in it!

Who is saying your sister cried all the way home?  Who is the  “your” in your sister? We can’t know, and it doesn’t matter because we are right there with him/her anyway. It could be anyone, a family member a, friend, insert any two people in that car talking to each other and the dialogue words works beautifully. Amazing. Insert yourself into that story, and watch the genius of the writing become become clear. This seemingly simple song is the work of  a master.

Who just got married? Is the bride in trouble, or is it the groom? For that matter, are there two brides? Two grooms? No way to know from the lyrics, but the songs work brilliantly for every scenario you insert. Doesn’t seem possible to wrote a song like this, but Fred Eaglesmith has a way of pulling rabbits out of his hat. Most of us have been to a wedding where we wondered if it was a such a great idea for the couple to be tying the knot, and this song captures that queasy feeling of “I hope I’m wrong about this, but…..”

This is brilliant songwriting- a fantastic song. Fred Eaglesmith is a master songwriter and story teller, and if you’ve not heard his songs before, I encourage you to check him out. His mastery of the craft in undeniable. He has been a mentor to me for over a decade, and I have recorded more of his songs than anyone else’s other than my own.

I love this one! – From Mary Gauthier’s web site.

Bourbon in Your Eyes (Rehearsal Vocals)

Inspired by sultry songs often heard in piano bars, I decided to record Bourbon in Your Eyes for today’s rehearsal vocals. Or maybe I’m just practicing for the piano bar on my cruise. Last time we cruised, this guy from Iowa asked if I was the singer. Next time I’d like to say, “Yes!”