Tag Archives: write songs.

Never Throw A Day Away

Episode #157: Never Throw A Day Away   (Song starts at 4:27) 

Featuring a song from the recent album The Untrodden Track by myself and Paul Dredge. I include the album track on this episode.

I never throw a day away. I can’t afford to. I’m really committed to this artistic path. It’s my passion, it’s the way I make a living. So I’m busy.

‘Never Throw A Day Away’ began at a bus shelter. I was on my way home, after a long day. It was the end of a changeable day, weather wise. It was a bit chilly, but there was a hint of spring in the air. I’d just missed my bus, after I got off my train and ran..but off my bus went.

What did I do? I picked my pen up, looked around me and started writing about what I was looking at: a seagull approached me like a soul out of the night, gleaming white; the hint of spring in the air; the dulcet tones of the city; the dark cloud, like a hanging shroud…

It went on .. the puddles were a reminder of a changeable day…. Which lead, finally to the line: ‘Still, I’ve never known one you’d ever throw away’.

I’m an optimist. That’s my approach, for some reason. As a youngster we didn’t have much, growing up (I don’t feel like I ‘missed out’. I was loved, we had fun).

But my soccer boots were second hand… and different to all the other kids. No matter. When I tied those old puma boots on, the pliable leather spoke to me, told me I could do great things.

When I perform, I put on an imaginary superman sort of suit …when I compose, I get into my ‘can do’ mindset. It’s not arrogance, or being overconfident…it’s just getting yourself into the zone where you know you can do it. It’s a quiet confidence, based on work done.

Like when you address a golf ball and get into the ‘now’ – it’s the same at the piano, with lyrics in front of me, away I go. There’s also this: I plan to have fun, whatever happens…

When you start writing, you have no idea how the song is going to go. Sometimes it all comes together.

I’m pleased I’ve committed to writing songs for so long. I’m passionate..this one is song #661. It’s just what I do.

I love arranging and recording my songs,. This one worked really well for Paul Dredge and I. I love his lead guitar at the end. It really got the build up I wanted and I enjoyed arranging (keyboard) strings too. I had Dire Straits and Supertramp in mind… I love the dynamics of their recordings.

It’s important to have role models. It’s equally important to take the time to find your own original voice.

I’m glad I picked up my pen, and started writing what turned out to be another song. I’m also glad I recorded this episode, too. I hope you enjoy hearing how the song came together.

Here’s my blog www.petepascoe.Wordpress.com. (Creations in music and art ) ..you can read the lyrics of this song here, and view this week’s seascape painting, which I painted earlier today.

It’s great to be on this creative path. If you’d like to sign up for my email list, that’d also be great: info@petepascoe.com. You won’t miss a thing that way: new albums, podcast episodes, sheet music, paintings, gigs, etc. …there’s plenty more coming up,

Ok, on with the show… enjoy!

Silent Stream

Episode #156: The Silent Stream  (Song starts at 27:16)

I was sitting at the piano and found myself starting to compose a song.

Then I had the idea to stop, head into my studio and write the song, while recording the process. I’m glad I did.

Earlier in the week, I was sitting beside a stream, where I was camping. You’ll get to hear the sound of the stream bubbling along. For this episode, I read a piece of writing which I wrote when I was sitting in the sun. I Describe the process of walking up a stream, trout fishing:

‘Fishing a stretch of river that might take 5 minutes to walk beside can take an hour to fish properly. It’s seemingly timeless time, a meditation for the senses. The quiet music of the river and the bird calls, the dusty green of the bush against a powder blue sky. It’s a great way to start the day…’

The point of sharing this writing with you is to try to show how being out in nature really relaxes me. It gets me into the relaxed meditative state required to write a song. It fills the well.

I mention the song ‘Timeless Time’ by Paul Dredge and myself. It’s about this (from the album ‘Walking Through A Dream’  – streaming now on: Spotify, Apple Music, etc. here it is on bandcamp  https://petepascoe.bandcamp.com/track/timeless-time ).

Back at home, the lyrics came along unexpectedly, as a result of me sitting outside, listening to nature – but there’s no stream in my backyard.. so I thought… sitting by the silent stream… hmm, the creative realm? Watching the clouds drifting by?…so I wrote the lines that came to mind.

Then the next day, I sat at the piano and just let a riff happen. It had the peace of a river sort of feeling. So I had a sing. Then I paused the process to setup the studio to record this episode.

There’s a line ‘til the minutes have no meaning’.  While finding the river audio, I stumbled across some audio of myself talking about this idea, the week before I went camping. That surprised me as a couple of weeks later, the concept came through clearly and ended up in the song.

So songs can begin with ideas that sort of just pop into your mind, out of sequence on a timeline. As a creative person, you sense it’s one of those moments, so you record it or write it down somehow.

The beginning of this song was a series of moments like that. Then I got into the studio and steered it through to a point of being a good demo.

Join me on this podcast …fishing, at a stream; at the table in my backyard; in the piano room where I teach; at the piano in my lounge…. and in the studio as I write a song this week.

Eventually, at the end I sing the finished song (and play it on the piano).

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed recording basically how I write a song from ‘go to whoa’.

It’s a relaxed, entertaining 30 minutes of chat, with lots of piano,

The lyrics to ‘Silent Stream’, the painting I mention and more writing from the morning spent beside the stream are all on my my blog this week. Here’s the link.

Creations in music and art https://petepascoe.wordpress.com/


Share The Blues

Episode #155: Share The Blues  (Song starts at 3:25 & 26:46)

I’ve had an interesting time recording this episode: I got into my studio early, thinking I’d be clever, get the job done and get an early night. …yeh, right! Not.

I ended up recording a ‘produced’/arranged demo, with some different sounds, which took me a while. Consequently, it was a very late bedtime. It was recorded pretty late at night.

What inspired this song was the feeling of waking up at dawn. This is actually the song I was thinking of when I picked out ‘Drift Away’ for last week’s episode.

A similar mood, but different melodies.

There’s a bit more of me in this song (perhaps more personal than ‘Drift Away’) …there’s a line “ there’s a personal limit in us all ”. Yep, we all go through stuff, it’s great to be able to get things off the shoulders and put it into art.

As it turns out, I recorded another version of ‘Share the Blues’ – a piano vocal take – at the end of the episode. It happened on the spur of the moment. Listening back now, I think the piano/vocal version is stronger. The melody changed in the chorus.  Oh well, it was fun recording the other earlier take and there’s some interesting ideas on it. Perhaps it would be interesting to turn this into a duet sometime. 

All songs are a work in progress until they’re released.

Variety with my songwriting has been a real key for me. I’ve been very lucky with some long term residencies … actually I mention ‘Loves Me Like A Rock’ by Paul Simon.  Paul Dredge (long term songwriting buddy) and I were singing and playing it live one night – after a huge day of trout fishing and driving. We got to the gig. Someone turned the lights up and then the next thing we knew, the camera was rolling.

Here’s the youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG6Fsw_ssAg

The residencies were so much fun. They also gave me time to get to know myself as a songwriter. This process takes time and it requires freedom, which is precisely what I’ve had plenty of for so many years.

Yep, I’d say I’ve been lucky, but I continue to strive to hang on to my freedom. It’s a challenge and there are sacrifices along the way. But for me it’s a rich path, creatively speaking.

I think perhaps I wrote the lyrics for ‘Share The Blues’ immediately after ‘Drift Away’. I often used to write in bunch in bunches of 2 or 3.  Writing one lot would awaken my pen (my voice), so I would make the most of being ‘in the zone’.

Being in this creative state, it feels like a slightly altered reality, come to think it. You’re a time traveller; an observer; you get to sort of view things from another person’s view point at times. It really does have the effect of opening your mind to new possibilities.

Perhaps that’s why I love composing songs so much.

It continues to be a pleasure to be sharing them and talking about the songs/ the creative process in general, here.

I hope you enjoy ‘Share The Blues’. I enjoyed singing the 2nd version (look out for it at the end of this episode.

Drift Away

Episode #154: Drift Away  (Song starts at 3:03)

I took a drive this evening. I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, on the Mornington Peninsula, out in the country. I wasn’t sure where I was going… just following my nose. As it turns out, it lead to a nice quiet beach where gentle waves were lapping. I took a walk and when I got back to my car, I was thinking about a song… ‘Drift Away’.

Well, I was remembering the melody, not the words. I thought ‘Drift Away’ (which I later found in my song book – song #157, written in 1991)) was going to be the melody I was hearing in my head at the beach.

But no! It was another song, completely. So I thought what the heck. Let’s do this one…

When you’re on a trip like that, not sure of where you’re going, that’s how it feels when you’re composing a song: there’s a sense of adventure & quite often a peaceful feeling – at least there is for me.

You’re on the breath, you’ve got some momentum. In fact, that’s all you really need to start: a feeling, a mood…and away you go.

As I had a quick try at singing the song before I recorded this episode, as usual, I could ‘hear’ other musical elements (besides the piano & voice). So I couldn’t resist it, I recorded a quick arrangement.

That’s been one of the pleasures, recording these episodes: discovering songs I’d forgotten about, or just reworking a line or two on a song that I thought perhaps wasn’t really up to scratch. Fixing one or 2 words can make all the difference.

‘Drift Away’ was inspired by a morning I can clearly remember.

I woke just as dawn was breaking. The light drifted across the slate grey sky. It was a quiet moody morning. I’d pulled the curtains back to watch the sunrise.

It was so nice to be awake. I had no place to be that day, so there wasn’t that feeling of “Oh no, what am I doing awake? I’ve gotta get back to sleep”. No, this was the opposite of that of that feeling.

There’s one line ‘ take the time to send your fears away’ that catches the ear. I underlined it with a slight harmonic change in the music.

How do you send fears away? By doing the opposite: visualising positive scenarios & outcomes. So I was setting myself up for the day..

Catching that sort of feeling was easy enough in the lyrics. The words came quickly. When it came to the music, the first couple of chords set the mood and away I went.

I haven’t looked at ‘Drift Away’ for years. It was a pleasure to rediscover this song. As I say, it’s a peaceful one.

In fact, the feeling of the song rolled over into the entire episode & I found myself I reciting the words as a bit of spoken poetry on the spur of the moment.

Later on the episode, I recount the drive in the country I had this evening, as I improvise some piano music.

It all leads me to a mistake on the keys of my piano. So using this unexpected note, I demonstrate how I then might compose another song..one song can lead so easily to the next.

The first couple of chords were like that, notes that I hadn’t played like that before quickly lead me into the song,

Drift Away came together quite quickly, then. this is the way it seems to work for me, particularly when I’m writing music to lyrics which have been rewritten,

I do mention a song which did take me a couple of hours to finish: ‘Molly Brown’. This one came to me as a fully formed melody and chords – a piano piece – except I called it someone ( blank) ‘Brown’, definitely a female energy. And I also knew it would be a song about a historical event.

Then it came to me to write about theTitanic. I resisted the idea because it’s certainly already been done.

But the next day, on the internet a story came up unexpectedly about Molly Brown, who survived the sinking of the titanic. Amazing. Ok. I wasn’t going to fight that. So I found a dry account of her quite remarkable life, found there was a story to tell or retell… I created lyrics, imagining scenes based on the online account of her life. Here’s the link…Molly Brown podcast episode #76

So that way a completely different approach to songwriting to how ‘Drift Away’ came about.

I guess it’s a matter of just being open to possibilities, not ‘blocking’ any ideas. You learn a whole lot of theory, have it up your sleeve and just let go. Most importantly, think: ..play – with feeling. That would be the key I think, when you are engaged in a creative process.

Ok, would you like to hear more? Sit back and drift away with me for half an hour.

Lyrics are on my blog (petepascoe.wordpress.com), as usual, plus the painting I did of the the beach where I walked in the late afternoon sun.