For the listeners wanting more detailed notes of the songs on “In My Own Time”, this section is for you. Sometimes even I am surprised by the thoughts and actions of the songs following their composition. Certain songs are more detailed due to emotional impact, and the length of the telling of origins.
The opening song titled “Spanish Isle” is ripe with Latin rhythmic sounds. Acoustic guitar and woodwinds combine in a melody that floats atop harmonic strings. Castanets and piano keep a rhythm felt internally so that the whole torso responds to the sensual swaying beat.
“Suite Nightmares & Daydreams” The first movement is prefaced with a short haunting phrase of voices, moving into the blending of piano and electric guitar that provide foundation for an alto flute to rise above with phrasing of melodic grace.
Without a stop, the second section starts with a choir to repeat the haunting intro of the first section, but this time it is sung by a gentle harmonic choir which continues throughout the third section joined by and richly supported by a piano and guitar melody.
The third section begins with steady beat of conga drums that transport the listener to see, smell, and taste the salty ocean spray of gentle waves lapping at the shoreline. This is truly the daydream part of the composition. If you close your eyes as you listen, your imagination transports you to clean white sand beaches, dotted with palm trees and surrounded by the translucent, clear blue waters of the Caribbean. Electric guitar and piano blend together in a laidback harmonic and melodic relationship .
A bright and rhythmic piano opens the fourth and final section of the Suite, and alto flute and electric guitar become the melody. The feel of the music is such that I could easily envision myself running up and down the bright green hillsides of Ireland. The flute continues melody as guitar triplets turn to quick turbulent strums. A darker rich string orchestra makes a strong initial statement. You can begin to feel the strife by hearing the strings shift almost as darkening clouds shift the mood, and an emotional conflict is felt as each part of the orchestration attempts to overpower the other. The audible mood swings shifts as each instrumental section moves from tension to relief . Musically, in the key of 'D' the note of 'f' natural moves up a 1/2 step to 'F#', and by that simple change of one note brings the bright feeling of the Daydream back to a victorious defeat over the Nightmare. I simply love the power of musical expression. It is amazing how a couple notes in a key can transform the emotional underlay of the piece, and by so doing the green hills of bliss reappear in our minds, becoming a joyous victory over darkness and depression.
In the BIG picture of 'Time', when this song was written, the impending division of this country, and the planet on which it exists, were already in peril. All nations on this earth had to become aware that this was a time when we all needed to take notice and act to avert the life altering changes of humans effect on our beautiful 'Blue Marble'. So it is with the title of the album, “In My Own Time”. At the beginning of this song, we are oblivious to the dangers of misuse of the laws of physics.
The latest challenges we have brought upon all life forms in the 21st century are not unsurmountable. We can, and have faced difficulties before and even overcome some of our differences. At present time, however we must come together as one planet with one goal to stop the impending destruction of man made climate change. Humans are beginning to notice the powerful responses of an earth misused for financial gain. The fullest destructive powers of nature are vying for our attention to change our ways. For only a very few more years humans have the chance to right our wrongs. Once again TIME is still on our side, but ONLY if we act as though every life form on this planet is just as important as we seem to believe that we humans are. No other life form takes more than it needs to live each day. Without doubt, we need to take our cue from all other forms of life that are less intelligent than human beings. If money and power continue as our main goal, then the last few hundred years will be the last for life as we have known it. We do have the information and power to make the biggest difference in this shared place we call 'home'.
Song number three, “Helpless To Help” begins with a semi dissonant piano ticking clock that, unlike the seconds counted in real time, the ticks count the endless days, months, and sometimes years spent in frustration over a relationship gone bad. Melody and harmony contained by the string orchestra are the personal emotions felt by loved ones wanting desperately to save them from themselves. It is of course helpless to help those who do not want the changes needed to heal enough to make them happen. The cost of living in denial is high indeed. This song comes to a conclusion of desperate inability to bring about a more hopeful life for all caught up in the web of terminal disfunction. As with the ticking clock, the hopes for one of my closest relationships went on waiting for the healing to occur. And it did go on for years...decades even. But the reality dawned, and the song itself was begun and completed in a matter of hours as I waited for a promised call that never came.
Track four “En Tiempo”, is another term for “In My Own Time”. The orchestration includes piano, strings, harp, woodwinds, and oboe. The song begins in a dramatic form then onto sections of dialog. Often I write phrases of self talk utilizing statements and replies voiced through instruments that change roles throughout each section. Some of my favorite phrases in this song take on engaging harmonies filled by flutes and oboe,
The song playing fifth is named “Big Sky Ride” because I have always experienced a wide open space of the Southwestern area of our country. I can see miles and miles without telephone poles, and signposts, or man made structures of any kind. There is something freeing about the way I envision life in what I see clearly as a time of less importance of $$ versus happiness. It may not be the way of the world right now, but it is possible to give yourself permission to pull your thoughts out of the social norm, and think differently.
The sixth song, “A Tribute To The People”, is just that. Being that this was not North or South American continents originally, the Indigenous Peoples whose tribes populated these lands do not consider themselves to be 'Native American'. Many use "The People" as a terminology from their beginning to present day. The song title is a respectful name for the original inhabitants of an altered culture living in what is now called America.
As with other cultures living within these borders, there is no way to return them to their desired ways of life, living simply on lands that gave them all they needed to be who they chose to Be. If history were different, so would be the outcome of the People. It is at the very least we can do to tell the truth of the story of how we became the country we are today, better or worse for those most involved.
The next song, #8, is at the very core of my emotional being. My eldest, and favorite sister and friend developed a fatal brain tumor in early 2000's. I have cried a lot in my life over the losses that come with time. At each pathway, there is always “A Time To Say Goodbye” to loved ones. This was one of the biggest and most difficult losses of my life. My sister was the biggest supporter of the music I composed. She was always interested enough to listen, and certainly encouraged me to 'get it out there' to the world. Artists of any genre or medium need emotional support, and I regret that I must use memories to continue to hear her comments, and see her smile as she listened. What a treasured gift she still is.
I loved working with her in my floral studio sharing time and conversation, and especially our love of the power and beauty of flowers. And so she continued to encourage me with my next venture of compositions that I know she would be so happy to know that I FINALLY 'got it our there'. It was clear that her retirement plans were permanently altered and lost. There was no chance that she would spend her days in her favorite country of Italy. She tried so hard to beat this carcinoma that made her lose the beautiful retrieval of thoughts and especially her articulate speech, so colorful and loving. The requium of “A Time To Say Goodbye” came out of my fingers and heart center. It came from my love for her in the years following her untimely and cruel death. I have a church bell, intentionally without a time meter. It tolls in the distance, and gets louder as the procession nears the church, and goes off into the distance as she passes. The voices morn her mortal loss, and the angelic voices open themselves to welcome her in the freedom from her physical and mental anguish. This song is a tribute to her life, until my time is done here too. She will never be forgotten by those whom she touched. So, I have recorded this song just for her. I will always see the tiny Italian town with the cobblestone streets that the music bounces off of. I think she would like this, her own song, My sister, how I love you, and miss you.
“A New Day” plays as #9. It intentionally follows the sadness of “A Time To Say Goodbye”. A fresh start is a possibility for everyone, it does however mean moving forward in life without constantly carrying all the baggage from our past. It does not mean that a loss does not register on your radar, it means that maybe from a bummer event that you lived through, or a mistake made can become a chance to do over again, and when you do that you bring the gift of experience with you. It is called learning from the 'school of hard knocks' sometimes. I personally have a PhD in this course. We can always choose again and do it differently, thereby a new outcome. We are all Students and Teachers in life if we are present enough see it as such. A New Day means a world of opportunity for us all, and what a difference that might make in the conundrum we find ourselves in the world of today. There are two choices in life...Love or Fear. Happier people have learned to choose LOVE.
“Silva's Ride” comes in as the 11th composition. This is born of the cast of the 2,000 year old story of Masada. I have seen a new awareness being born of late. More people will become familiar with the story of tough choices made in real life. This did actually happen in the last quarter of 100 AD. A battle of wills between the warring Roman army, and the determined Jewish Zealots who took them on. Roman history proves how unwilling they were lose, and Roman Emperor Titus left no excuses for failure. So, General Silva was sent to Judea to squelch the Jewish revolt permanently.
I was amazed at the lengths the Jewish families on the Mesa of Masada went to survive when I first read the story. I was so moved by it, that it was the very first song I composed. It is now called "Masada Overture", and it will begin the musical story. In writing of this story, I see that there is not much difference between the year 100 AD, and the German Holocaust of the 1930's, and even to Charlestown, South Carolina, U.S.A. Even in the country of religious freedom, they seem to still carry tiki-torches in protest and warning of taking up violence toward people they have 'heard' some stories about. It is easy to see that prejudice is learned from childhood. Belief systems carry on the hatred and violence from one generation to another. I see no good reason for this behavior or even this type of thinking by anyone. In reality the violence is based on fear. The final selection of this album is titled, “Masada Overture”. Truly a richly emotional collection of musical notes certainly brought in by a Neo-Classical genre. Orchestration here is familiar to my composition if you have heard my last album release in 2018. If you are accustomed to seeing long-play songs, this is the only 13 minute composition on this album. All 11 other selections are pretty short for me, but it just lets you know that it's over when it's complete, no sooner, no later.