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!

You Decided to Play

The pavement’s wet
And so are my eyes
Cause I’ve discovered
All of your lies
All of those times
You said you were true
Turns out you weren’t
Turns out my friends knew

His hands on your hips
You were kissing his lips
At some seedy dive bar
You left in his car
I was out of town that night
But I know they were right
I found your sexy dress
And the house is a mess

I’m so depressed
And I need some rest
We were writing a song
that turned out wrong
You were acting out a part
Messing with my heart
While I was away
You decided to play
You decided to play

The sink is full
Dishes are unclean
Now I know why
You’ve been so mean
You’ve been so rude
I’m well aware
Why you’re that way
Why you don’t care

Your hands on his butt
And being such a slut
At that seedy dive bar
You left in his car
I was out of town that night
But I know they were right
He came by yesterday
With a fresh bouquet

I’m so depressed
and I need some rest
We were writing a song
That turned out wrong
You were acting a part
Messing with my heart
While I was away
You decided to play
You decided to play
You decided to play
You decided to play.

2017

Not Quite Done

As I look back on my life
I see what only I can see
Not what everyone else
wanted me to be

I see struggles
I see some pain
But I got through it
again, again, and again

I cared about everyone else
I supported them with my heart
The whole time I wondered
when was MY life going to start

And soon enough She met me
True love with a capital T
We have so many places to go
But I’m right where I want to be

I’m not stuck in some bar drinking
with people who don’t give a shit
I’m not in a directionless relationship
and feeling like I’m in a bottomless pit

I’m alive! I have purpose and meaning!
I’m grateful for how it’s been so far
I have a family of my own now
We have a house and more than one car

Our kids are growing so darn fast
They’re soaking life up every day
and when they ask me for advice
they listen to what I say

I’m not sure where I’ll be in 30 years
but if I’m lucky, I’ll be right there
77 years old with the love of my life
enjoying a peach or a pear

And we’re talking about what a ride it’s been
even though we’ve hit a few snags along the way
We got to see our girls grow up, maybe get married
and perhaps we’ve watched our grandchildren play

So here’s to the journey so far
Here’s to that long, long run
Here’s to the dreams we’re living
Here’s to our lives not quite done.

2017

The Crystal Lake Blues

(Inspired by the Friday the 13th Movie and Series)

I’ve never been a camp counselor before
so I thought I’d give it my best shot
I heard it’s pretty nice up in these woods
and girls I’d work with would be hot
So I signed up and soon enough
they hired me right on the spot
We drove up together before camp began
We shoulda given the whole thing some thought

Cause we found out when we got here about Jason
He drowned and now he’s killing everyone in sight
And it doesn’t matter what time it is, he will strike
Whether it’s morning, afternoon, or night

We’ve got the Crystal Lake Blues
We’ve got the Crystal Lake Blues
We’ll be all over the news
We shoulda brought more booze
to drown these Crystal Lake Blues

Barry got knifed in the stomach
Marcie got axed in the face
Ned, Jack & Claudette’s blood
is all over this totally creepy place

Bill’s throat got slit with a hunting knife
and arrows pinned him to the door
But the craziest part about this whole thing
is it wasn’t Jason’s head found on the floor

We’ve got the Crystal Lake Blues
There’s nothing we can do
Jason’s blown a major fuse
and our lives we’ll have to lose
We should have gone on a cruise
So we wouldn’t have these Crystal Lake Blues

These Crystal Lake Blues
These Crystal Lake Blues
We’re all totally screwed
Jason’s not a nice dude
We’re not even safe on canoes
We haven’t been able to snooze
Cause we’re haunted by
These Crystal Lake Blues

2017

Trippin on Tabbouleh

Sung to the tune of “Trippin’ Down the Freeway” by Weezer

I told you that this party would be great
You said no, it wouldn’t be the right scene
You said let’s go to Homecoming
I told you that you’re a kooky dame

No way, someone just told me
Someone spiked a dish on the kitchen table
We’re stoned, it’s not the red wine
We’re now all having an awesome time
You’ve gotta get the name of the cook
I’m totally gonna put this in my book
You know that we should really stay
We can’t leave here yet cause we’re trippin’ on tabbouleh

(Trippin’ on Tabbouleh)

You said to me that it’s not really weed
I said “I feel like I have been healed”
You said let’s go I think I have the Swine Flu
I said “Girl, here’s some Tums for you to chew”

No way, we’re not gonna leave now
This party’s getting better by the second
We’re lit but not from the beer bong
Listen here, I drove, and I’m in charge
You’re in denial of what you just took
This situation is majorly off the hook
In the end we’re all gonna be okay
We’ll eventually stop trippin’ on tabbouleh

guitar solo

No way, we’re not gonna leave now
This party’s getting better by the second
We’re lit but not from the beer bong
Listen here, I drove and I’m in charge
You’re in denial of what you just took
This situation is majorly off the hook
In the end we’re all gonna be okay
We’ll eventually stop trippin’ on tabbouleh

Trippin’ on Tabbouleh (x7)

© 2010, Lyric: Matthew K. Gray, Music: Rivers Cuomo.

One Day

(Inspired by “One Day” – the book by David Nicholls and 2011 film directed by Lone Scherfig)

“She made you decent and you made her so happy,” he told me one day
The anniversary of when Emma and I met in London a few years ago
I thought about when we were together, how we fought so many times
How could we even think about what would happen?  How could we know?
We were both students at University of Edinburgh and graduated in 1988
On St. Swithin’s Day, we walked together up a deep green grassy hill
And we vowed back then we would be the best of friends
Thinking what we said was a dream that we’d fulfill

We made it a point that we’d reunite that same holiday every year
I’m not sure why we chose July 15th and neither did she
All I know is what we experienced as we grew together and apart
was our delightful yet twisted and tangled history
She met others and married the guy who I mentioned first
and I married my long-time girlfriend Sylvie
In between those happy memories are when we went our own way
She just never seemed to believe in me

For I was not the kind of guy she had been looking for
I wasn’t the one she wanted for all time
All the moments we spent together she was so confused
It was like we had the right words but never could rhyme
One night she and I met up at a wedding of our friends
and we talked for hours on the hotel roof
Then it seemed like the connection we had was something unique
If our friendship was glass, then it would be shatterproof

After we both got divorced from our partners, it was obvious
We were destined to give us the old University try
So we were married up on that same hill we walked up
On July 15th, she married this lucky and grateful guy
We couldn’t have any children, but that was fine with us
We had our place, we had our truest love that made us laugh
Until that fateful afternoon as she rode her bike she was hit
On my register at our cafe, there is a photograph

Her ex-husband stopped in the other day and we had a little chat
“She made you decent and you made her so happy,” he said
And I instantly replied I’d be open to talking with him again
“No, I think we’re done here,” then took off with his bread
Every St. Swithin’s Day I go up to that old, sweet grassy hill
And I think about that truest love that we shared
I now know that I was such a fortunate man
All because of my sweet Emma who deeply cared.

Written in 2016, Revised in 2017

Cornholing With You

Well, we’ve been to the County Fair
where I won you a little prize
And we’ve gone to Lover’s Point
where I saw the stars in your eyes

We’ve done so many things, dear
There’s just one thing left to do
If you’re free this afternoon
I’d love to go cornholing with you

Cornhole (Cornhole)
Cornhole (Cornhole)
Cornhole (Cornhole)
Corn ho ho ho ho holing with you.

You’ve never heard of it, I know
You’re not from around here
It’s pretty simple, baby
The rules are very clear

The object of the game, my love
Is throw that bag like a horseshoe
so it glides in that special spot
I’d love to go cornholing with you

Cornhole (Cornhole)
Cornhole (Cornhole)
Cornhole (Cornhole)
Corn ho ho ho ho holing with you.

Well, we’ve been to the church carnival
and golfing was pretty darn fun
We’re way beyond that phase where
we would wonder who’s the one

And I know it’s time I taught you
We’ve been invited to a barbecue
Where there’ll be a cool jug band
I’m gonna get to go cornholing with you

Cornhole (Cornhole)
Cornhole (Cornhole)
Cornhole (Cornhole)
Corn ho ho ho ho holing with you

Lordy mama, I’ll be
Corn ho ho ho ho holing with you
Sweet lady of mine
I’ll be corn ho ho ho ho holing with you

YEEEEEE HAWWWWWWW

2017

Here’s a number I’m hoping the Hot Club of Cowtown, Deke Dickerson or Big Sandy could record. Cornhole is a popular Midwestern and Southern game but it’s picked up steam and you can play it just about anywhere now. How this girl has never heard of it, maybe she’s from the big city or something.

Kid With a Dream

Tommy’s out there early in the morning
Shootin’ buckets into a worn out hoop and net
His Pop put it up when he was ten years old
It doesn’t even look like he’s breakin’ a sweat

His free throws glide into the basket,
every single one
And this kid with a dream,
he’s just havin’ his fun
He’s got it all, the ambition
and the work ethic down
He could end up at Illinois State
Purdue or Georgetown
His whole future stands before him
He’s the star player of the area’s
Number one High School team
The kid with a dream

Some of his friends tell him he’s crazy
They say he better have a backup plan
Sometimes things don’t always come to pass
And you grow up to be a broken old man

They say he’d be better off getting into business
They tell him basketball’s not a practical goal
But Tommy, he’s a pistol, he’s gonna go far
He’s a natural talent with self-control

His three pointers glide into the basket,
every single one
And this kid with a dream,
he’s just havin’ his fun
He’s got it all, the ambition
and the work ethic down
He could end up at USC, Yale
or Harvard in Beantown
His whole future stands before him
He’s the star player of the area’s
Number One High School team
The kid with a dream

Tommy’s just living his dream.

2017

Lyrics Note:

OK, this one took about three sets of lyrics to go to this morning. I wrote about a couple of things, then I came up with the title “Kid With a Dream”. I looked it up via the BMI repertoire, and the title surprisingly had not been taken. Yay! So I thought about what it was that title could be about. There are so many things that title could be about when it comes to kids and dreams. I just knew though there was one thing I had not touched on in previous lyrics I’ve written, and it was about Basketball. Where I come from, Basketball was a big deal. At Moreland Notre Dame, I knew two Tommys who played basketball – Tom Sglav and Tom Barsi. They were both great players. So, essentially, I had to use that name as the character of the top player of the team.
This one was very easy to write. I thought it was going to be about songwriting, but you know, a song comes the way it wants to come.