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.
The opening song titled “Spanish Isle” is ripe with Latin rythmic songs. Acoustic Spanish Guitar and woodwinds combine in a melody that floats atop harmonic strings. Castanetes and piano keep a rhythm felt internally so that the whole torso responds to the sensual swaying beat.
“Suite Nightmares & Daydreams” , This first movement is prefaced with a short haunting phrase of voices, then moves into a combination of Piano & Les Paul Electric Guitar providing a grounding foundation for an Alto Flute to rise above with phrasing of melodic grace.
Without a stop, the Second section starts with a harmonic choir to repeat the haunting intro of the first section, but this time it is sung by a gentle harmonic choir continuing throughout this section, and are richly supported by a Piano & Guitar melody.
The Third section begins with Conga Drums that carry steadily throughout. You can 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 kicks in & transports you to clean white sand beaches, dotted with palm trees and surrounded by the translucent, clear blue waters of the Carabean . Electric Guitar and Piano blend together in a laidback harmonic and melodic relationship .
Piano opens the Final section of the Suite, accompanied by Flute melody. Electric Guitar joins in the melody with Alto Flute's support. I could easily run up and down the brightly colored green hillsides of Ireland with this joyous opening. Flute continues the light, melody as Guitar triplettes turn to quick, turbulent strums. Light turns darker as a rich String Orchestra makes its strong initial statement. You can begin to feel and hear the strings on melody, with piano line doubling strings, barely audible, a dark bass line looms below. As the key rises into Major D, the flute joins in a victorious melody. Each section elevates to join in the support of the Major . A 'Major D' is uplifting, and dark 'minor d' keys signal the strife of a coup beginning. Each key wants to overpower the other, and therein you feel the title “nightmares & daydreams” play out the battle of opposition. The Piano, Guitar, Flute, & String Orchestra come in with subtlety, and strength. The minor key begins the battle to overtake your ‘dream’ by producing a ‘nightmare’, but the struggle of the two keys finally wins out by the victory of 'Major D' chords as each part played by the entire orchestra. The uplifting victory of the final section is the win of the daydream defeating the nightmare. It is amazing how a couple notes in a key transform the feel of the piece, so that it ends on 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 the potential outcome of cause and effect. So it is with the title of the album, “In My Own Time”. At the beginning of this song, we are oblivious. Nowhere in the world is this more apparent than in the democracy of The United States. A melting pot of cultures live here. None of this is about race, as there is only one, the Human Race. This country opened its’ borders, and thereby every culture of every country have looked for a place of freedom of thought, and tolerance as the ‘great experiment’ began, to see if it was possible to base a government and great expansion of the country, into what it is now, as we have somehow remained a county for a couple of hundred years.
We like to believe that we have done it, and won it. That the civil war was the end of the struggle for the inhabitants of our boders, but time has brought us face to face with our differences and divisians, rather than our hopes & dreams to end our struggle. We were meant to get beyond this barrier of a class system society, to one of equality for all. We have, once again, in time, found yet another struggle for peace and democracy by housing all of us under the torch of the great lady who stands tall in New York Harbor. Do we mean those words at her base, or is it just a nice thing to pose as?
The latest challenges we have brought upon ourselves 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, with no color or even cultural boundaries. Even the self induced climate change is still avoidable in its' fullest destructive powers of nature for a very few more years. Once again TIME is still on our side, but ONLY if we change our selfish lifestyles as citizens of the earth, and RIGHT NOW! A lot to take in, and act appropriately upon.
Only America remains home to the people of every culture who are looking for a place of freedom of thought, expression, and tolerance. The ‘great experiment’ of democracy was started after a revolution . No one knew if it was even possible to base a government on constitutional laws. But even with the great debates between its citizens, we have somehow remained a Democracy for nearly two and a half centuries. Even now with all of our differences of opinion, we have come once again to question the ability to remain one country, with liberty and justice for all. Americans who came, as my grandparents did saw the statue of the great lady holding the torch with a promise of freedoms and democracy standing tall, to greet the newcomers of Ellis Island in New York Harbor. Did we ever mean those words of welcome and rest at her base, or is it just a nice thing for us to pretend, and keep our quotas?
Song number three, “Helpless To Help” is arranged with Piano rhythm playing semi dissonance, and string orchestra playing a rich and emotion filled plees. It is a deep think piece, titled with frustrations about the inability to bring a horse to water, but unable to make it drink.
The guts of this song are filled with the millions of people who struggle with substance abuse on a daily basis, and those loved ones who try over and over to help them stop destroying themselves and the relationships of those who care so deeply about the severity of the problem. Certainly, the opiate abuse and the lives it claims daily are all too easy to see as the center of this composition's title. It is helpless to help those who want to escape their worlds even unto death. I have personally experienced the emotional part that comes with loving someone with an addiction issue. In fact way too many different forms of chemicals tried by those affected, who seem to think that if they just take another drink, pill, shot, relationship, or behavioral habit they will feel better about their lives. Even if that lasts only one day it seems worth the risks they take, at least to them.
To those who love and care for them this is a ticking clock of hell filling their thoughts every part of every day. Truth is that there is not much we can do to help unless of corse they want to be helped. They have to be willing to live the rest of their lives one day at a time. The enablers also have an addiction to beginning relationships with people who inhabit the addictive personality. Enablers feel that if they love enough, or do enough for the addict that they will save them from themselves, and life will go on happily ever after...NOT.
The only help we can choose, is to learn to make and keep healthy boundaries for ourselves in our relationships. We can love them enough to walk away for our own sanity, and remain open to helping only when the addict has really surrendered to changing their own lives in complete honesty.
Track four “En Tiempo”, is another term for “In My Own Time”. The orchestration includes Piano, String Orchestra, harp, woodwinds, oboe, The song begins in a dramatic form then onto sections of dialog of statements & replies with instraments changing roles throughout each section. There are some of my favorite phrases that take on engaging harmonies filled by flutes and oboe
The song playing fifth is named “Big Sky Ride” has always had 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 what I see in a time of less importance of $$$$. It may not be the way of the world right now, but it is possible to give yourself permission to think differently.
The sixth song, “A Tribute To The People”, is an American orchestration, with a Native American feel to the phrasing of orchestration more European in tone than the more simplistic instruments available to the Natives of North and South America which are the two continents to which they are indigenous to. As the title suggests, the composition is in honor of the original natives of these two continents prior to the interjection of European countries that began taking these huge lands over as though the lack of physical structures on these lands indicated that 'no one owns this land, so we will populate them and it all started with the transfer of plants like tobacco, and timber.
I do regret that the only things the 'white' settlers 'gave' to the Natives is alcohol, and gambling casinos, and a high rate of suicide due to lack of hope to change the lands by gathering together in protest to the oil companies. The powers that be seem to want to make money with every drop they can squeeze out of the sands by planning to send tar sand, which is the filthiest production of oil products. The pipelines would cross large swaths of natural land, especially the natural water sources like rivers and lakes thereby polluting with toxic chemicals that kill life forms of all kinds. There was hope, hope to make a positive difference to their tribe's voices to change priorities in our federal government in Washington. This is a good reason to live, a good use of our human energy is used to change for the better. I believe that we owe this right to the Indigenous Peoples.
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 hardest and biggest losses of my adult life. My sister was the biggest supporter of the music I composed. She was always interested, and certainly encouraged me to 'get it out there' to the world. Artists of any genre or medium need emotional support.
She was with me from the very first wedding or event I designed flowers for when I was a floral designer. I never asked her, she just showed up after a long day of being one of the best teachers of 4thgrade students in East L.A. She brought out the artist in me throughout my life, and all the time she never considered herself artistic. She would copy the first centerpiece I designed for her, and she was exacting when it came to all 35 of them, each one being exactly like the first. Of course she was an artist. I loved working in my floral studio sharing time and conversation, and especially our love of the power of flowers with her. There is no one to replace that love.
She was happy for me, from birth. I could tell by the baby pictures of her holding me that she really loved me, and took joy that I had been born her baby sister. Wow ! Nothing better than that unconditional love she oozed. She was to retire from teaching in the upcoming year, and I knew she would spend months visiting friends and driving across Italy and other European countries. She was very well educated , and every time you listened her speak you heard the articulation of a very clear and intellegent woman. She always looked beautiful, and well dressed even following the partial removal of her tumor, when we would enjoy going to the theatre to see the latest movies.
She was so ripped off as her time to retire approached. It was clear that her retirement plans were permanently altered and lost. There was no chance that she would spend her days in Italy, her favorite country. She tried so hard to beat this carcinoma that made her lose the beautiful retrieval of thoughts and especially her speech, so colorful and loving. Even a decade later, I wipe tears from my eyes as they blur the words I type.
So, long story shorter, I tried all that I could to research her cancer and find things that, even if they could not heal, could make her more comfortable. She asked me to write a song for her, although I could not do it while she lived. 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 mean 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, and a heartache that I must endure without her, until my time is done. 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, that lingers on this mortal realm. I am certain that we will meet again, and the love we have for one another will never diminish. Oh how I look forward to that glorious day of reconnection that brings with it Bliss. 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 & 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 watched a mini series in the 1970's. I was so moved by it, that it was the very first song I composed, although not as richly dramatic , or as long in time as it is on this album release. My main thought upon experiencing this story of determination by the two main characters was that I wanted to use the thousands of years of human history, and the hardships faced by the Jewish nation seem to have been going on almost as long as people gathered together to practice their faith. The pregudists have followed them in stories spanning thousands of years, even unto this very day. And this is why I am so blown away by the anger and judgement from every culture. It seems to me that the same narritive follows throughout human history.
I know that I take a risk by looking at the similarities of treatment of the Jewish sect from Gentiles, Muslums etc. seems to have looked upon me as “who do you think you are to even know of Masada ?” Yes, I am a Gentile, but I can see the determination of a People to not give up on anything, but especially freedom to practice their religeon. 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. True or not, and mostly not, I 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, and as I wrote earlier in my “Thoughts” section, there are ONLY two choices for behavior...either your thoughts come from LOVE or FEAR. It is clear to me that it is time to drop the fear thoughts, no matter what age they were learned, you always have the chance to re-choose the way of thoughts and actions that you are willing to take.
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.
I have been working on Masada as a musical story, and have about seven songs instrumentally complete, two of which are on this album. I really like the music, and once again it's easy to visualize the whole story. It seems that the story is right on time for the public's viewing. The CBS mini series airs soon, so maybe I am at the right time now. I tend to be years ahead, but realistically I have been writing this since the late 1970's. My main reason for this massive composition is a call to be aware that prejudice and violence have plagued people of the Jewish Faith seemingly since the beginning of time. Isn't it time to let it go, and choose tollerence instead? I have believed so for decades, and I thought that maybe awareness might be heightened at such a divided time. I'd like to think that especially the American people might try to feel something besides hatred. Please, “Come On People, get together now, & love one another again”.