Who He Has

Who he has is a girl I’ve known since grade school
We met each other when we were about eight
I asked her one night when we were out playing
If I could kiss her but she said: “We should wait.”

Who he has is someone very special to me
I remember just about everything she likes to do
And stuff nobody else will ever know about her
Stuff I’m sure he really wishes that he knew

She loves walks on the beach at Midnight
She loves sweet southern tea on a hot day
She loves just kickin’ back on the front porch
And a special place to her is Morro Bay
She loves her Venti Mocha in the cool mornings
Her taste in music ranges from Country to Jazz
The girl who I took to our first high school dance
That’s who he has

She broke it off with me last Summer
She said it just wasn’t working with me
I already knew all of her little secrets
but I wasn’t the man she wanted to be

I looked into her brown eyes that evening
And let her say what she needed to say
I didn’t challenge her, I stayed silent
Now I regret watching her walk away

But I still remember
She loved our walks on the beach at Midnight
She loved that sweet southern tea on those hot days
She loved kickin’ back on the front porch swing
We often vacationed together in Morro Bay
I’d get her Venti Mochas in the cool mornings
She could play everything from Country to Jazz
The girl I wish I fought for a second chance-
That’s who he has

That’s who he has.

2017

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Better Off With Me

Saw you at Jimmy John’s the other day
You were with your girlfriend and her kid
Memories of us were flooding my mind
as I thought about all the stuff we did
And I know you’re really into her
Cause you didn’t even know I was there
I kept hoping you would look my way
but instead, she gave me a long stare

And without saying a word, you all left
I felt rejected all over again
I remember those nights in your truck
Life was so much sweeter back then

What can I do but wonder
if I had done things differently
If I became what you were expecting
Instead of who I was meant to be
Would you have asked for my hand in marriage
after I got my Master’s Degree
I can’t help but think all about tonight
that you’d be better off with me
Better off with me

When I got home later on that afternoon
I found the box filled with our memories
and as I looked through the picture albums
I remember being us was a breeze
I thought about how effortless it was
and all the good times that we had
I couldn’t quite figure out by myself
why everything suddenly went bad

Without saying a word you were gone
You disappeared and I asked myself why
I’m not sure I did anything wrong
We always saw eye to eye

What can I do but wonder
if I did it all differently
If I became what you were expecting
Instead of who I was meant to be
Would you have asked for my hand in marriage
after I got my Master’s Degree
I know you’re in love and it feels right
but I’m thinking you’d be better off with me
You’d be better off with me.

2017

Song Notes: This one actually started out from a man’s perspective but I thought about the idea that sometimes, a songwriter should write something that they need to hear. While I don’t hear this kind of thing from people I went out with personally, I see this as a character song anyway. I think people could relate to this feeling and it’s a common sentiment in song. “You should be with me instead.” A fun lyric exercise. Excited to see what could become of it.

The Drama of the Gifted Child

It starts when you’re in kindergarten
You’re different from the rest of the pack
You empathize with all your friends
There’s something in you that they lack
So with each year, you learn more and more
To you, it’s like they’re all falling behind
You’ve been gifted with something special
It’s an artistic and curious mind

You absorb everything around you
You’re seeing things you don’t want to see
You just want to be like a normal kid
To you, they seem so free
But your parents push you to succeed
All you want to do is go running wild
Thus begins the inner turmoil and conflict
It’s the drama of the gifted child

Your brothers & sisters don’t understand
They think you’re a bit of a geek
You’re uncoordinated at sports you try
So your scrawny body is a little weak
Your friends are all growing stronger
But your mind is wicked and keen
Without realizing it you’ve become
Less friendly and very mean

You start attacking everyone around you
By now, you’re juvenile so it makes sense
Teachers just blow it off as being normal
A typical teen can be a little intense
But inside you’re still that little one
In your mind, some trauma is filed
You then develop an outlet of anger
That’s the drama of the gifted child

Your parents are a little worried now
They look at what you’ve created
You’re psychoanalyzed and criticized
But deep down you’re just frustrated
They seek something that will heal you
So you’re asked to see a shrink
He puts you on a medication
That muddles your ability to think

You start seeing things you’ve never seen
And you lose the ability to feel
You question what you’ve known all your life
You assume what’s going on isn’t real
So you take a trip with your therapist
He navigates you through your past
But while he’s collecting his paychecks
You’re thinking his position should be recast

So you ask to see a different person
Someone who can handle who you are
Someone who will see what’s in you
Perhaps a trainer in a seminar
You shared all your issues with strangers
And they helped you solve every single one
But therein became another problem
Your dependence on them took out the fun

So you navigated through every position
You’ve made some mistakes along the way
You’ve understood what you needed to do
Now you live with your family in Monterey

You bought an art gallery in Carmel
When you can you go to the beach
You often ponder your next adventure
Perhaps now, you’re ready to teach
And you’re standing in line at the DMV
Waiting there feeling restless and mild
When you hear something inside you
It’s the drama of a gifted child

It’s the drama of a gifted child.

2016

Partly Cloudy Skies

For Dad

Remembering you
Remembering us
Thinking of the love we shared
and all the ways you showed you cared

Remembering when
Remembering then
The partly cloudy skies affect my mind
I was meant to be the one you left behind

And this torch I hold up high
Knows the where
The how
The why
You taught me enough to live my life
To be a good man to my daughters and wife
Because of you
I feel so loved and a little wise
under these
partly cloudy skies

Under these
partly cloudy skies.

2016

A few years ago, Phil Harrington and I wrote a song called Overcast. As I was getting ready this morning, I heard the term ‘partly cloudy skies’ as the forecast for today by HOI Weather, and this is what popped out of me because of that prompt.

Writing is like that. You never know what will inspire you to write that little song lyric. This is, what I would call, a stepsibling to Overcast. Same premise as Overcast but much more personal and revealing.

Back Burner Girl

I know about you and who you are
My other friend told me last night
And now it all is very clear to me
Why he and his girlfriend always fight

He’s not looking to stay with her
Cause he’s obsessed with you instead
You’re the one he’s texting constantly
You’re why his wife is lonely in bed

Back Burner Girl
Why not be with a different guy
Why be part of that elaborate
Cruel and messed up lie
Don’t you see what you are doing
You’re partnering in his crime
Back Burner Girl
He does this all the time

The last woman was a co-worker
She thought he was the one
He got her a place on the west side
What a wicked web they spun

But at the very last minute
He decided that it was all wrong
He cut her out of his life like cancer
He stopped singing that song

Back Burner Girl
You’re doing something you will regret
He’ll cheat with you, and then one day
He’ll pretend you never met
Don’t you see he’s not worth fighting for
Can’t you tell or don’t you care
Back Burner Girl
You’re just having an affair

Back Burner Girl
You’re just having an affair.

2016

My Springsteen Phase

Those were glory days
back in my Springsteen Phase
The Boss was the man
When he and I ran
We never slowed down
As we got the hell out of town
And Mary, she was there too
We had so much to be, and do

I cut the sleeves of my worn out Hanes T-Shirt
Our faces were covered in grime, dust, and dirt
Our hearts were hungry and our souls were tired
All that coffee and concrete really got me wired
And Bruce, he’d play that Fender Strat and sing
Man, that man could write just about anything

We drove to Nebraska and the Matamoros Banks
Where life was darker than I’ve ever seen
The aftershave we used was my Listerine
Much later he introduced me to Bobby Jean
And soon enough we parted ways

Now I’m thinkin’ about all those roadhouse nights
And those Atlantic City breakfast buffets
I know I’ll always cherish those years
In that beat up ol’ cherry red Chevrolet

My Springsteen phase
My Springsteen phase
My Springsteen phase
My Springsteen…

2017

So, I’ve reunited with Bruce Springsteen and we’re pouring over his work. And I’m thinking about those days when I was sifting through his fan mail at Columbia Records because that’s what I did. I sorted fan mail for several Sony Music artists (not just Epic Records) at the time. He was only one of them – the MAIN person I sorted for was Michael Jackson and perhaps Pearl Jam, I am not remembering it as well as I should. About him- I always kind of discounted Bruce as the kind of guy who wrote these Patriotic songs, the ones that everyone sings along with and there’s this pandering to the crowd, you know? But I’m reading this biography of his and I’m thinking, man, I am on this ride with him in his car and we’re talking. And this is what grew out of that in about a day or so. Incidentally, it was my brother Russ who first introduced me to Bruce Springsteen via that white Columbia record. The songs of Springsteen’s that most inspire me of his are, of course, Thunder Road and Hometown but the album that has been on repeat lately is Devils and Dust. I am excited about this song idea, so it’s fun to just share it. Not likely a throwaway lyric – we will see where it goes from here.

Don’t Do It, My Dear

All your bags are packed
You’re ready to go
and here I am
I’m not saying, “So?”

Don’t
Don’t
Don’t do it, my dear

I’ve locked the door
I have your keys
And all I’m asking you
is “Stop” and “Please”

Don’t
Don’t
Don’t do it, my dear

Your gun is loaded
Your knife is sharp
But I hid the duct tape,
the shovel, and tarp

Don’t
Don’t
Don’t do it, my dear

Let’s call the cops together
It doesn’t have to be this way
They’ll get you the help you need
I hear prison has a nice buffet

Don’t
Don’t
Don’t do it, my dear

Don’t
Don’t
Don’t do it, my dear.

2017

Inspired by the beginning of “Leaving On A Jet Plane,” by John Denver – this is a song that kinda goes the other way a little bit. What if this all went haywire, the potential victim figures out a crazy murder plan before it happens and tries to talk the perpetrator out of the whole thing? Would that work? The end line is the giveaway. It probably wouldn’t. I mean, prison food is likely the grossest thing one could eat. I think actually this would be an interesting Americana/Bluegrass song. Alison Krauss could sing it with Robert Plant. Their harmonies rule. Call me Alison, let’s make this one happen!