Behind the Songs for Show 2.

Behind the Songs Main Page.


If You Bypass My Heart (1998)

This one is based on the play on words resulting from the double meaning of "bypass my heart". (To go past, and to replace clogged arteries that supply blood to the heart). That's a joke son.

A Place to Play (1992)

This was the second song I wrote. When I started writing songs I had only one subject, the farm in Iowa where I grew up. As you might imagine I exhausted that subject pretty quickly. Although I have moved well beyond that subject I'm still nostalgic for the old place, every so often I have dreams about it.

Joe's Tree (1993)

This song is based on the old song "My Grandfather's Clock". In that chestnut the clock is bought the morning the baby boy is born and stops running the moment the old man dies. I got the idea of substituting a tree for the clock when a tree was blown down next to a house we pass every day on our way into town. I deliberately stepped away from the obvious ending so that "Joe's Tree" won't seem like a straight rip-off.

Love and Kisses

My now late Aunt Grace loved to write poetry as much as I love writing songs. A few of her poems were in regular meter making it possible to set them to music. She gave me permission and I did. this song is made of two of her poems "Chain Kisses" and "The Language of Love". I wrote two stanzas in the same form to connect the two. "Chain Kisses" makes up the first four verses of the song, the next two are my connecting verses and the last two are "The Language of Love". It started out as just the two original poems with an instrumental break between them It has evolved over time and is now known as "Love and Kisses".

He Plowed His Fields (1994)

This song is my tribute to my father who worked himself to death to make sure I would have the opportunity to have a better life than he had. These are debts many of us have and we can never repay them. This song is just a token but I hope as he looks down on me he will know that I understand what he did for me and appreciate it.

The Golden Vanity (Public Domain)

When I was in grade school we used a songbook titled "New Music Horizons". As far as I know there were 6 in the series for grades 1 through 6. Most or all of the songs in these books were in the public domain which made them inexpensive and easy to put together. I wish I had copies of each of them. Hmm. Think I'll look on eBay.

One of the favorites of my classmates and me was "The Golden Vanity". It told a good story and had a good beat. Almost every time I put it in a show I hear from someone who says, in so many words, "I sang that in school too".

Rocky River (1996)

1996 was an election year and the radio news program "All Things Considered" visited a suburb of Cleveland Ohio called Rocky River to talk with typical voters in the hart land. I fell in love with the name. For me it conjured up images not consistent with the suburbs of Cleveland. The images were so evocative that I couldn't resist writing a song called Rocky River. It has absolutely nothing to do with that Cleveland suburb.

River One Half Mile (1997)

This is a story that my oldest brother will tell at the drop of a hat. As a matter of fact you don't even have to own a hat to drop, he will tell it anyway. It seems he was lost while on a driving trip. He was so lost he didn't even know what state he was in. He used to tell it that he was in Tennessee. Along a country road he saw a sign saying "River one mile". A little farther along "River one half mile" and then "River 800 feet". He and his wife were still laughing when the river came in sight. Sure enough, there it was, a river. No bridge, just a river.

Since then he and I have discussed the event at length and we decided it took place at the Green River ferry in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Since he lived to tell the tail it's obvious that there were no watery consequences of the event.

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