Tag Archives: life stories

Sure Does Fly

Episode #146: Sure Does Fly  (Song starts at 5:22) 

Relationships are often the catalyst for spot of songwriting.

Going way back to to 1987 now. I wrote this song for my brother.

It’s quite a personal song, focussing on old memories – particularly an image of a summer evening in New Zealand from my childhood. The blackbirds were singing, the colours were starting to drift toward the purple spectrum as the sun set. I was outside, playing sport with my elder brother (as we did, right up til darkness fell).

It’s a poignant memory for me, of seemingly never ending years of a largely happy childhood.

Siblings play a key role in our development. We share traits, we are bonded and we learn about our differences as the years go by.

I enjoyed singing and playing the song for this episode. It’s been years since I tried to play it.

The song came to mind when the blackbirds song floated across the beach to me from the bush on the bluff. There are pockets of blackbirds here in this part of Melbourne. An introduced species (from the UK) to both New Zealand and Australia. They bring back memories of my childhood. I can understand why our ancestors chose to introduce animals from their homeland, unfortunately at the expense of local species).

The blackbird call is soothing to listen to. The males sing at the change of light, the magic time. They float tunes and experiment with different notes and phrases, much like a songwriter does.

Back in 1987, I sat at the piano and as I looked at the words I’d already written, I let my fingers wander on the keys as I floated a melody, experimenting. With notes and phrasing, much like the blackbird.

It does take time to build up the theory. It gives you confidence to play intuitively. The notes find the ‘right’ keys and your voice does likewise.

The listener picks up on the feelings in the song that may awaken memories. An attachment forms and those memories are recalled whenever the song is heard.

That’s the magic of a song.

It’s also a magic feeling playing and singing a song you’ve written down through the years. It’s a step on, to listen to a recorded version of one of your songs. This is the way other people hear the song. You are no longer involved in the performance, so your mind is free to focus on the overall sound, and also the details.

As I’ve said a few times, it’s a real pleasure to be recording these episodes. It gets me into a creative state of mind. I enjoy finding out more about the songs, more about the songwriting process as ideas pop into my mind while I’m charting and playing the piano.

Sit back and have a listen as I sing and explore ‘Sure Does Fly’ bringing old memories to the surface.


Natural Rhythms

Episode #145:  Natural Rhythms   (Song starts at  4:44)

I was fishing at the beach, chatting about things that came to mind – including the song featured on this episode – ‘Natural Rhythms’. I recorded these bits and pieces of me talking and have included them on this episode. 

I mention the tides. I guess it was the peaceful feeling of being by the ocean. This brought the song to mind.

The beach made think back to when I was sitting in the old van Hercules, in Mt Maunganui, New Zealand. Norfolk pines have been planted there long ago. They stand about 30m apart, like sentries lined up along the beach.

That was pretty much the opening line of the song.

This was a lyrics first, music second song. I like just looking around me, starting writing and eventually a theme comes through (much like how I record podcast episode, by the way). In this case, Natural Rhythms – inspired by the waves and the tides before me.

The tides have a profound effect on us. That’s why I love camping at the beach.

At the beach the other evening,  I also thought about Christmas. I hope your Christmas was a great one: perhaps time to slow down, have nice conversations and fun with people you like being around.

‘Natural Rhythms’ is song #300 (out of about 800). I wrote it a while back – 1993. It’s been sitting there waiting in the songbook for it’s day.

This brings to mind my plan to record a series of piano vocal albums of songs featured on this podcast – and I will. I’ll publish the sheet music too. Then some songs will go on to be more fully arranged and released on other albums.

So there is an intention about what I’m doing as an artist.

I mention the word intention in this episode. When I sit at the piano to compose, there is definitely an intention to create. The songs won’t just appear by themselves.

Songwriting is a delicate art, it relies on a lot of theory having being learned and your chops on the keys being up to scratch (if you’re a pianist -which I am).

I think the arts should be rewarded as such. Not everyone can write a good song. Most people can learn to fix a pipe or a window… anyway..

I love what I do – I’m an artist and a songwriter. I’ve put out a mountain of content online over the last few years. You can find it by googling my name…or here’s my blog –  it’s a good place to start: www.petepascoe.wordpress.com . There’s lots of links here each week.

In 2022, I’ve created and published 52 blog posts, 52 podcast episodes ( including 52 songs), about 35 small seascapes, 10 1.5m seascapes, 150 cartoon roughs, some videos, etc.

In addition, I’ve taught 2500 private piano lessons on Mondays and Tuesdays.

All of this has been an absolute pleasure to put together and ‘do’.

Recording these episodes is like a performance each week. It’s all off the cuff, there’s humour here. This is not a dry presentation of ‘ how to write a song’ along the way, I look to impart how I write a song, but I present in a relaxing, entertaining manner. I’m pretty comfortable in front of the mic.

I’m also pretty comfortable at the piano. This week again, I begin another song.. so you can hear how I do it.

As I mentioned, it was a while ago that I composed Natural Rhythms. I was much younger then, finding my way along. An ‘almost’ sort of a relationship was providing some pretty steep learning curves. It’s seems we are given plenty of life experiences just when we need, if we go  forth into our day with intention to live well and learn.

It’s with some peace that I look back on a time for me that had some heartache (1993) – the peaceful feeling of having ‘let it go’ is possibly because I made time to relax by the ocean and put my feelings into an art – the song of the day.

Songwriting has been an extremely rewarding thing to have done with my life. And it continues to give me pleasure.I hope Natural Rhythms does the same for you, along with the chat.

So here’s another 30 minutes of relaxing chat, fun, observations and music for you.

If it’s your first time here, I encourage you to give it a go. I talk for the layman – you won’t need any musical training to enjoy this podcast.

If you like this episode there’s another 140 odd for you.

I’ll repurpose some of this content in the future – probably into and ebook or a listening book on songwriting (perhaps) and maybe memoirs of a songwriter, or observations on life..

So, have I piqued your curiosity? I hope so.

If you’ve been with me for a while, tuning in to my podcast, thank you so much. I love the fact that music engages us and connects us in a positive manner.

Merry Christmas to you all.

I hope you enjoy this episode.


Pigs Flying

Episode #144: Pigs Flying   (Song starts at 5:00)

On this episode, I take you down to the beach. It’s the place I go to relax, before I head home and do something creative – like composing a song.

I also love being beside rivers, but since I’m lucky enough to live the near the ocean, that’s where I head.

When I come home, I feel the creative mood come over me.

Back in 1997, when I recorded the demo that you’ll hear on this episode, I was living not far from Melbourne’s CBD, a long way from the water. We did have a park nearby, so we were lucky.

I mention the feeling that comes upon me when I realise I’m in the mood to compose: It’s a bit like when you’re catching a train at an underground station in Melbourne, you feel the rush of air that the train is pushing before it. Then the train comes out of the tunnel and pulls up at the platform and away you go.

It’s a bit like that when I’m composing, there’s the feeling, then it’s almost like I get to sense the melody and chords that are coming through. The momentum is there – and away I go.

Like when I wrote ‘Pigs Flying’, for instance. Back in 1992 I was often getting home at about 3am from a piano bar gig and some night clubbing. I’d get into my nice warm water bed… yep they were popular, back then(very welcome warmth if it had been a long wintery frost walk home in the night).

I’d often pick up my pen and paper and write a few pages of lyrics. They were often complete, not requiring too much editing.

A day or two later, the feeling of songwriting would hit me, so I’d sit at my old upright piano, pull out a page of lyrics and see what chords and melody came through.

It’s a habit – a positive, creative one. I’ve never been one to just whack out a song for the heck of it. I only compose when I feel I’m really in the zone – and I write for the pleasure of writing.

There’s an element of performance when you’re writing a song, the words and music seem to put something in motion and you pick up on the energy and steer it through to the end. It’s a real pleasure.

It’s also a pleasure talking about this sort of process on these episodes – there’s a few online now (144!).

I hope you enjoy hearing about how this song came together, what inspired it, plus the song itself – and a visit to the beach.

Sound good? Here we go….

I Can See Your Eyes

Episode #143: I Can See Your Eyes   (Song starts at 3.39)

A demo of ‘I Can See Your Eyes’ (Song #551) popped up unexpectedly on my iPad as I drove along to my teaching job the other morning (I may have got up a bit to watch some World Cup soccer). As I was driving, I thought wow, that’d be a great song to feature on an episode. So here it is.

Back about a decade ago, I was recording ‘The Man In Blue’ album. (streaming now) …coincidentally, I just flicked open a random diary and saw that I was watching World Cup soccer back when I was recording this demo. Bizarre.

Dan Dew, the drummer for the Patient Hum ( my current band), had just laid down all the drum tracks for ‘The Man In Blue’. I then asked him if he felt like having a hit through another 12 songs I had lined up to try with the band. With a twinkle in his eye, Dan said “Sure, why not”. I do like to be in the studio…

Then our lead guitarist, Neil Sims, got involved by recording some acoustic guitar and we went straight on into recording a solo.

I mention all of this recording/ production work, because of the way one unexpected moment leads onto the next.

It’s the same with song writing.

When I wrote the first line “When the sleep has washed me under”, this almost nonsensical line was the beginning of a whole series of events which became a fully formed song – and then a quite produced demo.

(In case you’re wondering why we’ve never finished this….and why hasn’t it turned up on an album? Well, the multitrack recording is on a portable hard drive, which I think has died. Yep. The only copy. Ahh well. I’ll take it in to a computer place and see if it really is a goner. Regardless, We’ll revisit this song some time. Sure would be nice to start with this session, though).

Anyway, back to the song.’The sleep that washed me under lead me straight into the dream state, where I started seeing a sort of a movie, which was part ‘me’, I think. I could read the thoughts of the couple…it was just an early morning scene, the sun coming up.

Then a few words sort of tumbled out of the mouth of one of the ‘characters’, which became the crux of the song.

It’s fun, writing and following a story like this, it’s like you’re a secretary, jotting down the words that pop into mind, as you are describing the action.

 I don’t necessarily begin at the beginning of the story when I write the lyrics.The imagery, the story, appear like a layers of an onion.

It’s a bit like a person’s life: more and more layers become apparent as time goes by.

The music came from the same warm, subconscious dreamy sort of realm. I take notes, playing the music that I can ‘hear’, somehow  a moment before it is required.

I guess it’s ‘being in the zone’, which I spoke about on a recent blog.

Ok, I hope you enjoy the chat this week – and this particularly sort of well fleshed out / more arranged demo.

By the way , the Lyrics will be on the blog, as usual: www.petepascoe.Wordpress.com ( plus cartoons, seascapes, writing and links to lots more creative stuff).  Enjoy.

Give It Back

Episode #142:  Give It Back (Song starts at 3:29)

Welcome to a very relaxed episode. I was in a mellow mood, the evening I recorded it. I’d just finished a commissioned painting – predictably, it took me a bit longer than I thought it might. So it was after midnight when I started recording.

As a creative person, something I really keep an eye on is: I like to get things done. Finished. Sooner than later. Then I can move on.

That’s the creative way. It’s in the process, where the action happens. Speaking of which…

As I talk about how I composed ‘Give It Back’, I draw attention to the need to be your own secretary, somehow, & yet remain in the flow.

In these days of phones and recording devices, that’s a simple matter. Back in 1987, when I wrote ‘Give It Back’, I was sitting at the piano with the handwritten lyrics, pen in hand.

I came up with music for the verse, scrawled a very loose bunch of chords and a hurriedly notated melody (just a few lower case notes – letters above the syllable).

The next part of the process is (and was) I’d re-sing and play the part and aim to flow directly on into the next the next section, and so on.

Staying in the mood is crucial. It’s fascinating that it is possible to start and stop and stay ‘in the zone’. It’s a necessary skill to develop early on, in any creative activity.

I wrote ‘Give It Back’ for my grandparents. I was lucky to have grown up with 4 grandparents around me.

It struck me then that my grandparents wouldn’t be around forever, so I thought I’d write this song for them. I also wrote it to share, in the hope that others might pick up on the idea that at we should make the most of our time with our grandparents while they are around.

Before I composed the music, I wrote the lyrics. The first verse came to me first:

The words ‘He’s sitting alone, in his chair, wondering where all the years have gone. There’s nothing like a visit from a friend’.

Through writing this, I found myself way into a possible future, in the shoes of an older version of myself and it really brought home to me how it might feel to be older, reflective – and to be alone.

That gave me ‘the feeling’, so that’s all I really need. A feeling and a start, and away I go.

It’s a warm, fuzzy subject, and it became that sort of a song,

Hope you enjoy having a listen to the song – and the chat again this week. I enjoy playing my piano as I talk. It’s great for demonstrating what I’m talking about… and it takes me places. It certainly seems to help with the creative flow, which I enjoy so much.

This is my blog which I mention: www.petepascoe.wordpress.com. Each week I write and upload a blog post. I generally include a new seascape, the lyrics to the song featured on the weeks podcast episode. There’s also s cartoons – and writing, of course  – and links to lots more music and art. Enjoy.

OK, here we go, come back to 1987 with me – and hear a younger me singing an older demo.

Some Freedom

Episode #140:  Some Freedom    (Song starts at 5:38)

Welcome to a fairly zany sort of an episode. The song freedom came about when I showed my co songwriter Mr Paul Dredge with some lyrics, back in 1996. Paul had his guitar in hand. He looked at the words:

I’ve stepped into a normal space

I’m sniffing out the rat race

It ain’t so bad, I know I’ve had

Some freedom

Paul jumped straight into a really up sort of interesting/unusual guitar strumming pattern over 3 chords. So I leapt in there and just sang a melody that came to mind.

It’s like theatre sports, where one actor comes up with an idea, floats the beginning of a story. The key is, the other actor doesn’t block what the person has just said,…they go with and build on it, and so the sum of the parts becomes something more.

This is precisely what can happen when you have an instrument and some lyrics…and some freedom.

The freedom of spirit, I guess is what I’m talking about.

When we recorded the version you’ll hear on this episode, we sure had some freedom of spirit. 12 songs in 2 days was what we recorded it became the album ‘Lost In Time’, which is presently on my bandcamp site here…. It’ll be streaming on Spotify, etc soon. I’ll just master it – recently I remembered this hadn’t been done.

Our great friend Earl Pollard played the drums on the album. He kicks off proceeding with a cool drum fill. It’s a nice moment on the album really kicks things into gear.

The song ended up being a song for 2 voices… you hear the give and take, who leads the way… it’s so much fun to arrange the vocals this way. It happens quickly for Paul and I actually, we work quickly, full stop.

I believe we wrote this song in about 10 minutes.

You embrace the feeling and see where it takes you.

As usual I talk about where the lyrics came from… the gist of which is: we can find freedom – regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

It’s one of my ongoing themes, I’m finding out as I record these episodes. Wow amazing 140 episodes. Cool – I’d just like to celebrate this for a moment. Who knew it’s go on like this. I mean, that was my intention when I started out, but I didn’t really know how it’d go.

As it turns out, it’s going great. Recording the episode, writing the show notes, creating the episode artwork is something I really forward to each week.

Because it’s a very free process. There are no ones for these episodes. I just open my mouth and mind, and see where the songs takes me.

See where some lyrics took Paul and I this week. Enjoy some freedom!

Here we go…

Leaving Song

Episode #140:  Leaving Song    (Song starts at 3:36)

“I’m amazed it’s 2022”! That’s what I said – and how I felt – for a moment, when I’d been chatting about this week’s featured song on this episode. I was lost in the song. It took me back to 1992, when I wrote ‘Leaving Song’ (Song #242).
Bizarre. Those 30 years have passed by so quickly. Actually, I’m not sure whether quickly is the right word… they’ve snuck by, somehow.

By writing songs continually all these years, I’m finding that I’ve documented (emotional) episodes in my life. Singing & playing the song brings back vivid memories from the time I wrote it.

When I look closely at a song like ‘Leaving Song’, I find part of me lives in it. That part of me is still somehow at the age I was when I wrote it, as I read it.

I find it interesting that I can do clearly see a younger me in the song. Is that why we love old classic songs? They remind of a younger version of ourselves, perhaps.

A romantic interest was the inspiration for this song. Looking back, she seemed just out of reach somehow, and now, I’d found out she was heading overseas.

So what did I do? I picked up a pen and wrote some words that came to mind.

I talk about commitment a bit on this episode. Commitment to the arts. Back in 1992, there was something wrong if I didn’t manage to write 5 lots of lyrics each week. I did it because I was passionate about it (I still am today, by the way).

I still have so many songs coming through. At the moment I have 12 or 15 waiting in a file, which I look at each week – and ‘nibble’ at, waiting for a free day to do some more editing and ‘finish’ them..

Back in the day, I could sit down and write all day. These days I’m a busy man. I’m still committed to beginning a song if the feeling hits me. But as I have a lot on, sometimes I don’t finish them as quickly as I might once have.

‘Leaving Song’ is like an old travelling song, the music came to me quickly. It’s a simple song. It really wrote itself, to be honest. And yes, I can remember writing it – in fact, it seems like yesterday.

There’s a line in the song that says ‘life is strange and full of strange twists’. Ain’t that the truth.

I start each day with as much positivity as I can muster. As I go through my day I hang onto that outlook as best I can. Ups and downs are going to happen, so you may as well enjoy the ride as much as possible.

Vehicle troubles struck this week. My printer gave me printer troubles. Usual stuff – ahh, ‘life’.

That’s what came through in the lyrics of leaving song: ‘Hey, that’s life – sure I’ll miss you – but get out there and kick up your heels. Maybe I’ll catch up with you again sometime’.

That’s the gist of the song. So there’s a sense of freedom about the lyric.

Writing songs like this is a way for me to get to my myself on a deeper level. Words can be a revelation when they roll off your pen.

Songwriting is a joy. It’s always a journey into the great unknown.

Speaking of which, each of my podcast episodes are exactly like that. It’s a creative process, I talk completely ‘off the cuff’ – there’s no plan.

I’m enjoying it so much because this is a great way to share my songwriting ideas. It’s also a great way to share perhaps more general creative concepts… it’s so much fun.

Ok here we go. Let’s get into ‘Leaving Song’, enjoy.



Episode #139:  Burdens   (Song starts at 7:16)

Looking at another original song on this episode: Song #238.  ‘Burdens’ came about when a friend passed away, back when I was 24 or so.

Us songwriters are lucky. We can get a mountain off our shoulders from time to time, by putting our feelings down in words and music. It releases tension, allows for healing – and it becomes more than therapy in the process: it becomes art.

Something about the feeling of the song touches us and we find meaning in the lyrics and music – which, by the way, may mean something else completely to another listener.

Walking out and about in nature soothes me. I like to do this. This episode, I’ll take you for a gentle walk down a bush track, here on the outskirts of Melbourne.

The bird calls, the vibe, ‘fills the well’ for the artist side of me. I get out in nature so I can go deep within easily later, get into ‘the zone’, that dreamlike state, where you almost observe yourself in the process of writing a song.

You kind of have to do this, because in the moment  that you’re composing, you are also being your own secretary and you catch, to the best of your ability, everything that happened in the moment and archive it.

This song started when I picked up a pen and just jotted down a few free sentences. The gist of what I wanted to say Is: life is a gift, a joy. We need to make the most of each and every moment. If we feel like things are getting on too much for us (our burdens), it can be a good idea to share our worries…share the load, if you like.

When you write from a deep place, you bring strong feelings to the surface and they can become a tangible touchstone for yourself and others to reflect on.

Other strong feelings can come through pretty quickly and pretty soon you find your mind has been taken somewhere else completely.

This is the transformational, magic quality of the arts.

It’s great to be in the arts.

The record which ‘Burdens’ is on (Lost In Time – on Bandcamp) happened over 2 days. Paul Dredge, Earl Pollard and myself recorded 12 songs in 2 days in a studio. This included a quick mix, which became ‘the’ mix.These were songs we’d not played for 20 years in some cases – some barely played at all & a lot we’d never played with Earl. So we were flying by the seat of our pants, collectively arranging the music on the fly. I love doing this.

It sure is a joy being a songwriter. I hope you’re enjoying hearing a new song each week. It’s such a pleasure looking back at these songs.

I mention my blog again here it is www.petepascoe.wordpress.com …lots of music and art here. More at: www.petepascoe.com  (Seascapes, Cartoons, all sorts of Music).

Ok, Here we go. On with the chat – and the music, enjoy.

Patchwork of Promises

Episode #138: Patchwork Of Promises   (Song starts at  3:40)

Back in 1999, a black and white photo was sitting near my piano. There’s something about a black and white image – it seems to capture and convey emotion almost more than full colour.

Emotion is what I need to begin writing a song. It provides the impetus, the inclination to bother to pick up a pen. You just need to make a start and the rest generally follows.

I’m glad I did. The photo was of my girlfriend (now wife) and I, which was taken at a resort where I was playing as part of a trio (piano bass and drums).

The photo appeared to paint us as one..was this a formative moment in our new relationship?

That’s what I was thinking as I let my pen flow across the page, not editing, just letting it go. And where it came to was the line: ‘like a patchwork of promises to our soul’. And that became the title.

The music came next. I like to let my hands just wander instinctively on the keys of my piano and see what happens. I demonstrate this process on this episode, by using the lyrics to this song and composing new music – winging chords, bass line and melody.

I like going off on unexpected tangents on this podcast. It’s all improvised. I talk and play, as if I’m sitting on a stage, demonstrating the songwriting process by looking at a song I’ve written.

The patchwork of promises lyrics are about the new conversations, the letters written, the moment you find you’re involved with someone..you’re in a relationship.. it’s about looking at the whole falling in love process, recognising this is what has happened.

I think I’ll record piano vocal albums of the songs on this podcast- perhaps even use the demos I record ( like the version of ‘Patchwork Of Promises’ on this episode) as a starting point. That’d be fun.

Ok, sit back. Let me entertain you. My delivery is relaxed, inclusive…humour is a big part of the creative process and it’s a big part of my podcast episodes. I’m having so much fun recording and presenting these episodes.

Here we go..let’s see where ‘Patchwork Of Promises’ takes us this week.


Dawn Chorus

Episode #137:  Dawn Chorus   (song starts at 3:45 & 27:57)

I had a busy today. For a while there, though, I was sitting in my car. So listened to some music.

One of the albums that came on was Tasman Bridge. Written and recorded by myself with Paul Dredge, it’s an album that’s close to our hearts – it was the first time we’d tried to write songs together internationally.

Paul lives in New Zealand, where I’m originally from. I’ve been living in Melbourne, Australia for 20 odd years now. After having played live together for years – thousands of gigs – and having written lots of songs, I thought it would be an idea if I moved to Australia.

We really missed writing and performing music together. Eventually we hit on the idea of writing a section of a song and sending it to the other person so he could ‘answer’ with the music for the next section of the song.

To date I’ve been the lyricist for this sort of arrangement.

Sometimes with lyrics I’ve written, I just know they would really suit Paul. It’s instinct, really.

I’ve never been disappointed with what Paul’s come up with, we seem to so much on the same page, it’s amazing.

In this case, Paul wrote the music ( riff / chords and melody) for a verse and middle section, which he sent to me.

I put the headphones on and listened, piano and mic ready to go..and I just ‘winged’ what came to me – which turned out to be the choruses and bridge.

I’ve included a piano vocal version of Dawn chorus, which I recorded as part of this episode. At the end of the episode, you can hear the album cut.

You’ll hear Paul singing his parts and then I take over lead for the parts I wrote. It came about that way, as when it came time to record, we only had about 6 evenings to learn and record each other’s parts. In fact, it was really as we were recorded that we learned how the songs were going to go, so it made sense to sing our own parts.

Dawn chorus is an inspiring, brief part of the day where all the birds seem to decide to sing with one voice, seemingly just to ‘greet the magic day’ in celebration.

I love being out in nature. It inspires and energises me.

As usual, on this episode, I talk about how the words came together, and then on to the music. It’s fascinating for me to be talking like this. In the process, I’m discovering wha sort of things make me click as a songwriter.

I write for the joy of songwriting. So does Paul. We have a few albums you can find online at www.petepascoe.wordpress.com and most are now on Spotify and Apple Music, etc

We have a new album The Untrodden Track out now. I listened to this again today and messaged Paul to say how entertaining and relaxing I found it to be – again… I’ve been listening on the headphones, often in the evening before bed, it’s a pretty chilled listen.

Anyway if you’d like to hear how we write a song together. Sit back and have a listen. I hope you enjoy the song Dawn Chorus (both versions) – and the chat.