Tag Archives: talk music

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.

 


Burdens



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.

Enjoy.


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.


The Roughest Cut



Episode #136: The Roughest Cut   (song starts 5:30 & 27:57)

It’s been a beautiful, pristine, blue sky, early spring day today. But as dusk happened, the night fell, the wind started to get up. I don’t mind that. In fact, listening to the wind when you’re safely indoors is pretty relaxing,

Music has the power to lift your spirits. The same with lyrics. The combined force of music and lyrics really has the power to dramatically change our mood for the better.

We always have the choice to focus on the good stuff. I include some audio I recorded as I sat in my car today…on my right was the grey city. On the left was a grassy section, the light catching the seed heads, & the shadows. Through the grass wound a path.

I chose to ignore the passing cars, the city and focussed on the sound of the wind in the grass, the way the grass moved in the late afternoon clear spring sunlight.

I planned to bring that sound of the field, well at least the mood, into my song this evening.

At that stage, I didn’t realise I’d be talking about ‘The Roughest Cut’. It’s a bit of a rocker. But when I opened my song book tonight, it just seemed to be the one.

When that happens, I don’t question it.

So I recorded a quieter version, then couldn’t help myself…I started to dress it up a little with a vibraphone, a synth and some strings. It’s amazing how an arrangement can come together so quickly.

On this episode, I also include the version recorded by PP and The Patient Hum. This was the title track – the song that finishes a recent album of ours.

I talk about dynamics on this episode. Everything natural in life has its ups and downs. We all do. So by bringing the volume up and down as you perform a song, it’s going to be more engaging for the listener and it’ll have more emotion.

And emotion would be number one, in my opinion.

The words came first with this song. I just wrote it from top to bottom (you can read the lyrics on my blog www.petepascoe.wordpress.com )

Eventually the line ‘even the roughest cut becomes a diamond’ came through. That’s when I knew this would be the title, the main message of the song.

It’s a fascinating process. After all these episodes, I really feel like there’s still so much to discover and talk about…

The creative realm, it sure is a great way to get into the now.

Ok sit back and have a listen, I hope you enjoy the chat and the music, it’s all pretty relaxed around here. I present as if I’m on a small stage, sitting at my piano, addressing an intimate audience – that would be your good selves.

Ok, on with the show. Away we go. Enjoy!


Everybody’s Sleeping



Episode #135: Everybody’s Sleeping     (Song starts at 5:02)

Hi there & welcome. I’ll tell you what, I was really relaxed when I recorded this episode.

I’ve been doing a bit of exercise… I mowed the lawns today. But apart from that, I went for a bit of a bush walk. I’ve included some audio which I recorded as I walked. So you can come for a walk with me on a peaceful track. It’s good to get out of the studio sometimes.

We have a 2 for 1 deal on this episode. You’ll hear me improvising a mellow version of the song, then towards the end I’ve included the PP and the Patient Hum version of ‘Everybody’s Sleeping’ ( from the album The Roughest Cut).

It’s fascinating to me, how much a song can change, depending on how you choose to arrange it.

I’m a painter. I’ve painted a lot of seascapes over the last decade (you can view plenty here : www.petepascoe.com). I mention this, because when you exhibit your painting, that’s it. It’s done.

The thing I love about songwriting/recording (and performing, live) is: you can present a different version each time if you like. For instance, I’ve never sung such a ‘dreamy’ sounding version of ‘Everybody’s Sleeping’ before. I really enjoyed it.

It’s fun winging a version of my songs on this podcast.

Everybody’s sleeping is song 593 in my purple book. That’s a lot of songs, isn’t it. I’d like to say there was never a day when I sat down and thought to myself I am now going to write 800 songs. It’s happened because of..passion . It’s a calling. It’s something I do for the love of it.

As a singer, I enjoy playing. The same with songwriting. This sense of play is, I think an essential part of the creative process.

To play, you need to be relaxed. Hence the bush walk… or a bit of lawn mowing ( not quite so relaxing, but it sure feels good afterwards, to know you’ve used your muscles and have done a bit of breathing outdoors).

It blows a few cobwebs away. It clears your head. As a songwriter, snippets of sentences can drift in on the ether. These are gold, in my opinion. I gather them together and see where they take me.

This happened with the lyrics of everybody’s Sleeping.  Some seemingly random lines fell together and slowly a song started to take shape.

This one was a ‘words first music second song’.  The piano riff (that I use with the band version ) came along and I ‘winged’ the melody.

I work quickly – there’s certainly no rush. Like my walking style -there’s definitely no rush! I pretty much sort of lope along. I like to walk at a pace that allows me to take in some details of the scene that I’m walking through. Like the tiny bird that ‘pipes up’ as I was walking on the track. You’ll hear me take the time to really enjoy his song- the moment.

It’s that same sort of enjoying the moment that happens when you’re lost, writing a song.

Ok here we go, hope you enjoy the chat, both versions of the song – and the bush walk.

By the way, the lyrics will be on my blog as usual. www.petepascoe.Wordpress.com.

You can find my music (14 albums in a variety of styles, including piano solo) on Spotify, Apple Music, bandcamp, YouTube , etc.


Alien Song



Episode #134:  Alien Song   (Song starts at 5:00)

The rain came down gently as I hit record for this episode. I have a corrugated iron roof on my studio. I don’t mind that, as it keeps me in touch with nature… I get to hear the odd parrot squark – or the wind …or the rain. It’s pretty relaxing, isn’t it.

What’s that got to do with songwriting, I hear you ask? I find the quiet – and the occasional sound of nature – allows me to rediscover the sense of peace required to create.  You tune in naturally to the essence, the true self…the ‘honest’ voice that you write with.

On this episode, I take you outside at sunset in the Australian outdoors to look for bats (!). Very peaceful, indeed.

Some people find bats creepy. I generally don’t. But thinking about what a lot of people think about bats brought Alien Song to mind..as it’s kind of creepy.

I’ve written a lot of different sorts of songs over the years. This song is definitely not a piano/vocal ballad. The piano and vocal is actually is in the mix, but it’s presented here with the band Pete Pascoe and The Patient Hum….it’s a guitar driven rock song.

Alien Song was composed by the whole band. It came as a surprise to us when it starting taking shape. I’ll talk you through how it happened. Neil Sims started a guitar riff and away we went.

The lyrics were 90% stream of consciousness. I just started winging lyrics as I talked and sung & a story started to develop. As I sang ( and played piano and bass keys left hand), I shut my eyes and saw myself in a movie.

So the lyrics are that of a commentator, sometimes with a sort of birds-eye view, looking down. Other ‘camera angles’ would be close ups, some scenes viewed as the main character viewed the scene, etc.

Yes, I can see the whole music video for this song. Although the album The Roughest Cut (which has Alien Song on it & which is streaming now) was released a couple of years ago now, I never made the video. I think I still will one day.

I’ll include the green alien I drew and painted when I was 17, as an exchange student in Cheyenne Wyoming,. now that was a great experience.

I stayed with a wonderful family. From a creative point of view, I think the overall effect was: it sort of tipped me on my head and really set me free to follow this creative path – and this is what happened to the character in this particular song.  He heads west (because he thought it might be for best) and he has some life changing experiences during his travels.

These Wyoming connections are very timely indeed – my host sister from my American family is coming to visit this week! Looking forward to this. I love how art and life are so entwined.

That’s the beauty of art and music. You begin with something real and present it as something completely new – with the same essence.

The essence of the self…listeners are letting me know they are getting to know the artist, the composer as well as find out more about the songs and that’s all part of podcasting. In this episode I think that is perhaps Alien Song has revealed a bit more of me – in a story. Everyone loves a good story.

Ok, I hope you enjoy the song and story on this week’s episode. I did enjoy rediscovering alien song.

Got a cuppa? Sit back and have a listen…here we go…


I Wonder



Episode# 133:  I Wonder   (Song starts at  4:34)

I finished a nice gig outside this week with the song featured on this week’s podcast episode.

I Wonder, song #689, came up as I flicked the pages of my repertoire book. A very generous fellow, who I’d noticed was sitting listening and relaxing had just come up to the piano, gave me a nice tip and said “one more song please?“

I include some audio again on this episode. This time I made a quick recording when I got back into the car after his gig- to try and catch the sense of…. satisfaction. That’s what I get from performing my songs live for people. It’s blissful – especially playing outdoors…

Bliss would be a good word to use to describe how it feels to be lost in the middle of composing a song like ‘I Wonder’.

With this song, the words and music came at the same time. Sometimes I’ll just have “blah blah mumble mumble” for a line, but if I don’t dismiss this (and lose the energy and flow), a strong clear image might come to me for the next line….like “like a crystal slipper from a scene of a movie” – which was the first phrase that gave me an idea as to where the song lyrics were heading.

Quite often it’s not a linear process, as the words and music come into being. It’s a mystery… almost like how Michelangelo said “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to release it”

It’s a bit like that, it’s almost like listening to a conversation in the next room, you feel like you’re being delivered a movie, snippets of scenes at a time. And it’s up to you as an editor as to how you put it all together…which elements you choose to emphasise, which then leads on to other decisions about where the song may go…

There’s lots of information here, about how I write a song, sure, but also on offer is the essence of a songwriter, me as a person, I guess.

While I analyse the lyrics, I find deeper meanings.  A sense of myself, my thoughts and feelings come through.

It’s all good fun. No it’s not, it’s great fun. There’s plenty of humour here again on this episode.

Enjoy.


Sand In My Socks



Episode #132: Sand In My Socks   (Song starts at 8:22)

For this episode, I have included some audio from the actual songwriting session of this song: Paul Dredge on his acoustic guitar, me ‘winging’ a melody, then us harmonising together. So you’ll get to really hear how this song came together.

I wrote the lyrics first: ‘Got sand in my socks, reminds me of yesterdays walk by the ocean, my shocked soul is soothed by the water’s talk’ … sounds pretty cruisey, right?

Yes. To get into that state of mind, I got myself down to the beach. I’ve included a recording of me, talking at the beach, observing the scene. Even more relaxing, right? But…

Before we go to the beach, I take you shopping with me – a couple of humorous observations about how things in the city can really wind you up if you let them..

And that’s the crux of sand in my socks. It’s about feeling the sand between your toes which reminds you of the feeling of walking beside the ocean, leaving the city behind – the mediation, the battery charging.

I love recording the music & I love sharing the ‘behind the scenes’ sort of stories.

‘Sand In My Socks’ is track number 1 from our new album, ‘The Untrodden Track’ (streaming now). It’s a medium tempo easy shuffle. Sounds like a walk on the beach, doesn’t it? In fact, the music is a great fit for the lyrics – free, toe-tapping and uplifting.

On the songwriting session audio, You get to hear the laughter, the easy friendship that Paul Dredge and I have. It’s a vibe we bring into our music together. The co-composing is a very easy & natural process for us.

Paul gave the song a really nice mood with his acoustic guitar. As I ‘wing’ a melody over the top of the guitar, you can almost hear Paul thinking ahead, instinctively going for the next chord.

Instinct would be the key word here. Yes, we both have a handle on music theory, and we enjoy singing and playing our instruments. But overall, you just go with ‘feeling’ in the moment.

As we compose, we are drawing on the theory, for sure, but we also drawing on thousands of gigs we have done together. There is nothing quite like performing ‘live’ with someone to get things like vocal harmony locking in together. This sort of ‘flying time’ together is invaluable. You learn about how the other person plays his instrument, see how they fit together.

When you have this sort of history together, it feels relaxed and exciting when you’re about to compose some music.

This gives the process energy before we start. There’s a sort of energy, an electricity you can feel and away you go – and it gets better and better.

My blog is: www.petepascoe.wordpress.com  you can read more / read the lyrics / view my art here.

I hope you enjoy hearing Paul and I compose this song, the conversation and the observations.

Here we go….