Sad music for happy people, part 1

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While I normally keep my blogging pretty technical, I’ve decided to start sharing some of my more personal projects, just to see what happens. I’ve been (slowly) working on a few songs for a very low-budget EP, and this is the first one I’ve “finished,” per my own standards, anyway.

It’s not exactly polished; between a lack of studio equipment and a personality that enjoys imperfections, I don’t tend to end up with anything that anyone could consider professional, at least in the musical arena. That’s ok with me, these aren’t meant to make me a million dollars, just to be an outlet for some things that would otherwise drag me down.


Here’s where it gets really personal, and if you’d rather just try out my Safari extensions and coding experiments, you should probably just hit that “Code” button in the menu at the top…

I wrote the lyrics to this song almost ten years ago in St. Paul, Minnesota, sitting on a squeaky bed with a very, very thin mattress, at what turned out, thankfully, to be my last stint in rehab. I had lost pretty much everything in my life that I cared about, and I had no idea where I was going next. I only knew that something had to be different this time. My roommate, a 300 lb. gorilla of a gangbanger named Angel, read them (with my permission) and told me that he sincerely felt I should hold on to them, that they would have more meaning to me when I could look back at them as a memory and not as a present horror. He was right.

About a year after I was released from that treatment center, I picked up a cheap acoustic guitar and started playing again. I found a yellow, college-ruled notepad in the remainder of my belongings, and the words to this song were on the second page. The chords just happened, and it became a song I played often. It was another 7 years before I started working on a recording of it. What I’m posting here is the third permutation of this song, but it maintains the same roots it had on the day I first strummed out this rather dark chord progression for it.

The words themselves are no longer relevant to my life, but they serve as a strong reminder to me of where I’ve been and where I need to keep heading. My wife complains that I never play any happy songs, for which I am apologetic. Music has always served as my outlet for the bad feelings, the fears and the sorrow. I’m in a happy place now, and I enjoy happy music, but I’m not at a point where I know how to make it, or really feel it when I play it. I cannot bounce around like Raffi, but I’m hoping to get closer to that mindset in the not-too-distant future.

Without further ado, I offer “Alone Again.”

Alone Again