He’s Way Out There

The batter’s up – First pitch is wild
Next one’s a strike, the pitcher smiled
It’s not just a game, they’re fighting to win
The last of the season, diggin’ deep within

Third pitch is thrown, right in the zone
And the slugger swings, the outfielder’s alone

He’s way out there… He’s way out there
Back to the wall on the warning track
The sky is black, there’s no time to stall
Has glove reaches up past the fence way out there
And he catches that would have been home run ball

Next player’s up – Ready for the pitch
Oh, but wait – He’s got an itch
Now he’s back in the box, a curveball’s thrown
And the batter’s hit right in the tailbone

Bases are loaded, it’s their chance
To win the series, batter’s in a trance

He’s way out there… He’s way out there
The pitcher’s upset, his arm’s shot
He’s on the spot, you can see him sweat
The catcher decides, then gives him the sign,
But he’s way out there so Coach makes a bet

Coach calls time and gives him the eye
He asks the southpaw, “Can you do this, kid?”
And the pitcher calmly says,
“My contact’s stuck in my eyelid.”

So Coach calls to the bullpen
The reliever is ready to come play
He’s been way out there this whole time
And he’s worth what the club pays
His beard and hair may be way out there
But he’s ready to astound and amaze

The reliever’s risen from way out there –
and three strikes later, hell of a save.

2017

Lyric Notes: As soon as I heard “All Kinds of Time,” by Fountains of Wayne, I knew I wanted to write a lyric that would encompass some kind of feeling within a sports game. I chose baseball and thought of the SF Giants guy from a few years back, Brian Wilson, the crazy reliever who looked like a pirate.  Baseball has been on my mind since an old Watsonville High School friend, Tom Gugale, was killed in an auto accident over the weekend. This is in dedication to Tom and his legacy.

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She’s Not Foolin’ Me Now

She said we’d be better off as friends
I said I wanted to be with her for life
She said she’d be fine with hanging out
But she wouldn’t agree to be my wife
As we’re out and about on a Friday night
And we’re talking over glasses of wine
I see it in those light blue eyes of hers
That she really wants to be mine

The friend zone isn’t fun
When you know they deeply care
They won’t risk taking a shot at
Something you both know is there
It’s in the way we hug good night
She’s made a secret solemn vow
She can fool all my family & friends
But she’s not foolin’ me now
She’s not foolin’ me now

I tell her about my dates with others
She has me meet men she says she likes
We’ve shared secrets from the past
as we’ve gone on some long hikes
Occasionally she’ll give me a look
Like I’m who she wants me to be
But I play it cool so she won’t see
That I’m on to her mystery

Yeah the friend zone isn’t fun
When you know they deeply care
They won’t risk taking a shot at
Something you both know is there
She has all those little tells
And I’m not sure how I’ll say how
I put all her clues together long ago
And she’s not foolin’ me now
Oh, she’s not foolin’ me now

Her friends haven’t said a word to me
About what I know that’s true
I’ll remain a gentleman to that girl
It’s really all that I can do

The friend zone isn’t fun
When you know they deeply care
They won’t risk taking a shot at
Something you both know is there
It’s in the way we hug good night
She’s made a secret solemn vow
She can fool all my family & friends
But she’s not foolin’ me now
She’s not foolin’ me now.

2017

Lyric Notes: Sometimes you have to grow up to find out what something means. I know what it’s like to be in the “friendzone,” but I didn’t know of a word for it until I worked with Bonnie, Aaron, Justin and all the others in a Learning & Development project out at State Farm. They explained it to me and I immediately went to work on something. This is a newer one, but it’s still the same concept.

It’s Harder Than It Looks

While growing up I felt my parents raised us effortlessly
Momma stayed home while Dad worked at the University
And it all seemed so easy, that it would be a breeze
I thought it would come naturally & we’d make great memories

But then I tried as a teenager, tried too hard, now I know
I was chasing girls all the time, man I was rarin’ to go
And it was many years later when she and I finally met
Someone finally took the gamble, I was thinking I was all set

But it’s harder than it looks
You’ve gotta put in a hundred and ten percent
You can’t be thinkin’ of the mistakes from your past
And about where all that precious time went
You’ve gotta be true to what you promised
You’ve gotta be a good man through and through
It’s harder than it looks
To pull that hero outta you

Our house tends to be messy, we’re a two-income family
Our kids keep us very busy, not much time we have is free
We don’t date on the weekends, we don’t have privacy
But we both got what we wanted, this ongoing mystery

It’s harder than it looks
We’ve gotta put in a hundred and ten percent
We can’t be dreamin’ about the old days now
Or about where all that money went
Our kids are counting on us to make good choices
To pay it forward to them while we’re still here
It may be harder than it looked back then
But it’s the time of our lives year after year

It may be harder than it looked back then
But it’s the time of our lives year after year.

2017

Farm Town Boy

He doesn’t work out in the cornfields
His Mama and Daddy outright own
He drives a sedan, not a pickup truck
Doesn’t have to worry about bein’ alone

All them pretty girls really like his smile
He’s full time at his Uncle’s Hardware store
Whenever he sings a new song he wrote
All his friends wanna hear some more

That farm town boy’s got quite a voice
And he sure can play that acoustic guitar
He’s a poet in a denim shirt and cutoffs
His teachers know he’ll be a Country star
For now, he just does his homework
And he writes about what brings him joy
He’ll travel the world with his talent
But inside he’ll always be a farm town boy

He was never very good at playin’ baseball
But he likes hangin’ round with those guys
And his favorite drink is a large Dr. Pepper
He eats a lot of chicken strips with salty fries

His favorite thing to do on a Friday Night
is going to the movies with his girlfriend
He gets all the popcorn and candy she wants
As he’s got a lot of extra money to spend

That farm town boy’s got quite a life
He’s happier than a pig in slop
He’s getting good grades, is a good kid
He sometimes sings in the coffee shop
He’s gonna make it one day in the industry
For now, he’s stuck in Podunk, Illinois
He’ll one day move on to Belmont in Nashville
But inside he’ll always be a farm town boy

Inside he’ll always be a farm town boy.

2017

Lyric Notes:  I hadn’t heard the word “podunk” until I moved out to the Midwest. Had to use it in something and why not put it right next to the state I learned it in!  I liked the idea of creating a character who was growing up in a small town but has aspirations of heading down to Nashville to make it big and will. Small note here, I did get interested in Belmont University in Nashville, TN but decided against it because it was too far from home back then.

These Bonus Years

As I walk along this trail of pebbles
I think of the many days I’ve seen
There have been good ones and bad ones
And the ones that fall somewhere in-between

And I look at these gravestones
I see the average age of the deceased
This reminds me I’m living longer than they did
Then all the grumpiness I have is released

These bonus years
That’s what I call them
They are the gift
That keeps giving to me
These bonus years
Make me feel so grateful
And I realize things now
Are easier than they used to be

I don’t know how long I have left
I know that time is determined by what I do
So instead of being so depressed about my life
I’m thinking the best decision is to come home to you

These bonus years
That’s what they are
They are my friends
Who never let me down
These bonus years
Are so uplifting
This life is better than
Being buried underground

This life is better than
Being buried underground

12/28/04

Lyric Note: Dedicated to my Grandfather, Frank W. Gray. Written at the Coffeehouse in Normal, IL.

Mansion on the Mountain

They built it with the finest materials
The water from the creek went in the fountain
There were all kinds of opulent and special things in
my Grandparents’ mansion on the mountain

They had cobalt blue bottles and plates from all over
The coffee they drank was of the finest blend
They had a clock that was crafted in Germany
They sure knew how to spend

The meals prepared were of the highest quality
The furniture was comfortable and a sight to see
They had pictures they took on the trips they went on
In the summer, they’d take us to the lake to water ski

They had the most amazing garden filled with flowers
They always had the best & unique stories from their past
Their friends were true and just as fortunate as them
Whenever we were with them, we had a blast

They were wealthy in a different way than you may think-
I’ve said the last few descriptions with a smile and a wink

It was a cabin built with scrap wood and plumbing
The septic tank was an old beat up station wagon
They lived month to month and hardly had any savings
Their dog reeked and had the breath of a dragon

Gram made afghans and gave them to us as gifts
Grandpa’s den was actually a storage and tool shed
They always made sure they had clothes on their backs,
the bills were paid and they were well fed

They may have not made a fortune with their quartz mine
but I thought they were millionaires back then.
They didn’t think they were living poorly at all-
To them, it was their mansion on the mountain

October, 2005

In The Shed

Fred found him face down on the floor
holding to a hammer stained with someone’s blood
There were no marks on this person
The bottoms of his boots were caked with mud

The last man who talked to this victim named Ned
said Ned was nervous but he didn’t say why
And they talked about unrelated topics
then Ned said he was afraid he was going to die

In the shed
he was dead
Poor old Ned
got over his head
Nobody saw it coming
Not even his twin brother Fred
who found Ned
in the shed

A few days later, Fred got a letter in the mail
from someone Ned knew pretty well
He admitted he was in the shed that day
and said he remembered it as clear as a bell

He said Ned told him in confidence
about a plan he hatched with a stranger
Ned said the stranger had been threatening him
He knew his life was in serious danger

In the shed
Ned had not bled
He was unwed
and well read
Someone whom with he was chumming
poisoned Ned with lead
not in bed, but
in the shed

The investigators were perplexed by this event
So much so, they brought in the FBI
The FBI probed all of Ned’s neighbors
They finally found the guy

The perp’s name was Ted
Ted’s motive didn’t exist
He wasn’t insane, they figured out
All he was, was pissed

In the shed
at poor old Ned
So he fed
Ned with some lead
While Ned was humming
A sharp tingle hit his head
right there with Ted
in the shed

Fred found Ned
killed by Ted
in the shed.

2003