Our Story Begins: A Dynamic Duo
My daughter came down at the end of the evening with her guitar.
“Do you think you could help me,” she asked looking a bit sheepish as she came down.
“With what,” I asked a bit puzzled.
“With a song I’ve been writing. I need some help. The song needs something.”
Hannah sits down, puts her capo – a sort of clamp that gives you the opportunity to play like it’s the normal, open strings, but higher. She’d put the clamp on the 5th fret of the guitar and started to play and sing. The song was poignant, started sad, and seemed to have some hope to it at the end. It was short, just a bit too short. She looked up, I think expecting I’d criticize or tear her song apart. But that wasn’t the case at all. It was a beautiful piece of songwriting, she just needed something.
It took me a few minutes to get into the swing of her playing. Hannah has a tendency toward either punk or singer-songwriter angst-filled material. This was a bit more melodic than her usual fare. She started to play along and I started to accentuate the chords with some finger picking of my own.
“I like that,” she says, adding she wants me to play a solo.
“I think you need a bridge,” I tell her, and then start to work the chords that would go from the 2nd verse and create a bridge before her 3rd verse.
“That works!” she shouts as I finish. “That’s what it needed!”
“Glad I could help,” I tell her.
She informs me she’d had an idea after a discussion with one of her friends and wanted to write a song after talking with them. I look at her notebook paper and inform her: “it’s pretty obvious it’s about your Mom, at least at the beginning.”
“Yeah, I guess everything starts with Mom lately.” But she adds that the song quickly diverts from that. It’s like it’s her starting point, life beginning anew again after the fast, destructive burnout three years ago. Like a phoenix burning up and being reborn, if you’ll pardon the cliche’d reference. It’s not hard to see why she’d do this, her mother passed away in 2011 and it’s been a lot of adjustment for her.
But we finish the bridge and the rhythm and I inform her she just needs to write some lyrics for the bridge.
“Can we record it once it’s finished,” she asks me?
“Of course, I’ll set it up and you can record it.”
“I want you to do it with me,” she says. Reluctantly, I agree. Sure, I’ll help you I tell her and she smiles bigger than she has all night.
“It’s like Lennon and McCartney,” she tells me.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” I tell her. “I don’t think I’ve ever written the next “Let It Be,” but it’s a beautiful song, Hannah. You should be proud.”
“I am,” she says, happy to have nearly completed her tune. “I think it’s pretty good.”
“It’s far better than good,” I tell her, “I wish I’d written it myself.”
She smiles and walks up the stairs . . . and I think to myself . . . her mother would be proud, too.