Anegada Caribbean Breeze
Caribbean Breeze "Caribbean Breeze" was written in Jamaica while touring the beaches and the countryside. I was struck by the slow, simple life in the Blue Mountain Range. A friend, who knows the Islands well, pointed out an avocado tree growing wild. It wasn't trimmed up, neat and accessible by ladder like the groves in California, but instead was huge and sprawling, and part of the canopy of the forest. The avocados were randomly growing throughout and routinely picked by small boys climbing as high as they could and shaking the trees like mad. Mangos were there, too. Standing on the peaks looking out at the sea with the breeze blowing, further inspired this song. Anegada Before I set eyes on this island, I wanted to write a song with it's poetic name. For two hours sailing on a close reach from North Sound, Virgin Gorda, everyone on the boat was singing the old rock hit, "Ine Gada de Vita," just to throw me off, I'm sure. Arriving at the waypoint, the cruiser's guide says "turn east to 50 degrees when you see the house with the white roof". It doesn't get any more complicated than that on Anegada. Our boat sat on a shallow, eight feet of crystal-clear water over a white sand floor. A fiery-red sunset and a few enormous lobsters further inspired this song. Cool Nights in Santa Cruz After one of my first sailing trips to the Islands, I took a short drive to Santa Cruz, south of San Francisco. I walked along the Boardwalk and soaked up the ambiance of this lively scene. A big clipper ship sailed across the mouth of Monterey Bay that afternoon. A few weeks passed and a friend invited me to a wine tour at the Byington Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After a look at the casks, we strolled through the pinot noir vineyards. The tour guide explained that this grape variety makes the best wine because of the "cool nights." With clipper ships and cool nights, this song was born. What a haunting descant that Georgia Glaze sings on the chorus! Beach Down in the Islands During a few days of downtime from a bad cold, I occupied myself by reading "The Pelican Brief" by John Grisham. The image of an escape plan to the Islands for the good guys in case their complicated intrigued failed, stuck in my mind all night, and images of living on a remote island turned around in my head. The next morning, I walked straight to the piano and wrote the whole song in one sitting. That Stone I was in the audience one night when Bay Area folk singer/songwriter, Steve Kritzer, sang his song about Irish stones. That started me thinking, "what if a stone could sing?" In my mind's eye, I saw an image of an old gypsy woman and a young boy on a beach and the magic of a stone that sings. I had met Steve Meckfessel recently at a songwriter's circle and I thought this was an idea right down his alley. Bingo! We sat down outdoors in Santa Cruz one morning, a block from the beach, and cranked this touching song out. The Purple River I had this eerie rock-ballad melody rolling around in my head for a couple of years. The first verse was all I could get out because I couldn't seem to fit a story or theme to the song. It felt like it should be a young adult, angst theme, but since I passed through that stage many years ago the song didn't get written. After I found a publisher for my first novel and the wheels were grinding to promote it, I decided to try using the story of this treacherous trip down a wild river, the setting of the novel, to finish the song. I am happy with the song and Kevin Harris produced it wonderfully. The only glitch is the publisher changed the title of the book from "The Purple River" to "The Middle Fork." Published May 1, 2009, Synergy Books. Nickel Beer One trick I learned from the songwriting pros in Nashville is to keep a "hook book" close by all the time. Good songs are about turning interesting, and sometimes unusual phrases. Many of these phrases come from regular people in everyday conversation. So, a "hook book" collects what you hear and becomes a source for ideas when you sit down to write a song. A member of my band, Greg Newlon, was coming over one Saturday morning to see if we could write a song together. He paged through my "hook book" and saw the phrase, Nickel Beer. Greg pulled out his guitar and wrote the first verse on the spot. We pulled in some Southern references on the bridge and I wrote the second verse the next day. Audiences love to sing along to this raucous drinking song. Virtual Love This song is on my first CD, "Silicon Cowboy." Co-writer, David Pace, and I were intrigued by the early efforts of internet enterprises to popularize online relationships and virtual dating. The practice has grown and is big business, but this song still tells the story. Creating a persona that may be a little better looking, a bit more interesting, and a lot more intriguing than you really are is the goal for many people trying to attract others. In this song you are "the chat room playboy of the internet," and you live in "the laptop of luxury." Imagine having Tom Cruise's eyes and Elvis's thighs. It doesn't get any better than that. A Mustang Is Cool A few years back it was getting time for a new car. The kids were all but out of the house and I wondered if I needed a "family" vehicle this time around. How about a two-seater or a convertible? I didn't know which direction to go. While on a couple of trips to Nashville and the Berkshires in Massachusetts, I had upgraded my rental car and found myself driving Mustang convertibles that zipped around just fine. Of all the choices, I thought the Mustang was really cool. It's a "drop-top, won't stop, girlfriend getter." Co-writer, David Pace, fell right into the groove on this up tempo rocker. Over What do sailors do when they stare quietly out onto the next new gorgeous setting in Anegada, Virgin Gorda, or English Harbor in Antigua? Well, a lot of them are digging deep into the meaning of life, the past or maybe the future. That's why this is a sailing song. It's one of my most introspective songs about middle age creeping up on you. A few years ago life had been keeping me busy enough to forget about songwriting. So I set a date with myself to write a song on a Saturday morning. I opened my "hook book" and stared at the pages filled with cleaver ideas. Nothing seemed to resonate. Then I closed the book and wrote this song. It's a poetic biography for me and it may be for you, too. Dumbarton Bridge In the year 2000, the technology bubble was in full bloom in Silicon Valley. Co-writer David Pace and I got together and began talking about traffic. You could hardly get anywhere on the roads, apartments for rent easily had 50 applicants, and the newspaper headlines plastered the number of new millionaires daily. Getting across the San Francisco Bay on the bridges was particularly onerous. I liked the poetry in the word "Dumbarton", one of the bridges, and David had been working on a jazzy Little Rock riff on guitar. So, we cranked out this rocker. It's for sailors because when they are off the boat, they have traffic just like everybody else. White Dove Sometimes heartfelt feelings lead songwriters to delve into topics that, most of the time, are kept quiet. It's like the elephant in the room that everybody can see, but nobody wants to talk about. There are bad people who get away with things that hurt other people. This song may remind you of situations you have experienced. I wish there were only peace and love in the world. Unfortunately it's not that way.