Songwriting Cycle #1

by Various Artists

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about

On September 10, 2010, nine songwriters gathered together in a Ustream chatroom to challenge each other to write challenge-based songs. Each participant chose a songwriting challenge that one of the other participants would have to meet, and then an ice cream pail full of ping pong balls chose which songwriter would receive which challenge.

Graham Porter (Emperor Gum) challenged Edric Haleen to write a song from the point of view of a character from Greek Mythology.

Edric Haleen challenged JoAnn Abbott to write a children’s song.

JoAnn Abbott challenged Jenny Katz to write a song about one of the deadly sins.

Jenny Katz challenged Mark Meritt (The Offhand Band) to write a duet that’s not a love song.

Mark Meritt challenged Charlie McCarron to write a song involving the notion of empathy.

Charlie McCarron challenged Heather Miller to write a song from the perspective of an animal that wouldn’t be considered a pet.

Heather Miller challenged Kevin Savino-Riker to write a dance/club song.

Kevin Savino-Riker challenged Ross Durand to “write a song from the perspective of your pet.”

Ross Durand challenged Graham Porter to write a song structured around the idea of a lyrical palindrome.

Here you can hear all of the songs that were written for this cycle. To learn more about the challenges, you can visit here:
happinessboard.com/Songwriting_Cycle.html

credits

released October 1, 2010

Edric Haleen, JoAnn Abbott, Jenny Katz, The Offhand Band, Charlie McCarron, Heather Miller, Kevin Savino-Riker, Ross Durand & Graham Porter

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about

Spintown Middletown, Ohio

I run a songwriting contest called SpinTunes. Most of the material hosted on this account is a result of that contest. You can follow the contest on Twitter (@SpinTunes) or my personal account (@Spintown).

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Track Name: Edric Haleen - The Ballad Of Procrustes
THESEUS:

Gather around!
Give me your ear.
And I’ll tell you a story
So bloody and gory,
You won’t fall asleep for days!
(At least, not in your bed . . .)

I was traveling down the road to Athens.
The trip had already been horribly long
And my feet were beginning to hurt
From the rocks and the gravel.

I was hoping to finally get to Athens.
But sadly, the sun was beginning to set
And the forest was getting too dark
For a person to travel.

But just around the bend I met a man,
And he said, “Hello!”

“My name is Procrustes!
(And you look tired!)
Do you need a place to stay?

“I have a room!
Kick off your shoes!
We’ll share a meal!
We’ll have some booze!
But best of all . . .

“I have a wonderful,
Comf’table,
Marvelous,
Glorious
Bed!

And you . . .
. . . will fit perfectly in it!”

Now, while I had been on the road to Athens,
I had the good fortune of meeting a girl
Who had told me she thought I’d do well
To have some kind of warning.

She had told me that on the road to Athens,
There lived in a house a peculiar old man
Who would welcome in guests,
But they never survived until morning.

For when they went to lay down in his bed . . .

The cuffs clicked
And the trap snapped shut,
Pinning them in bed
While the ropes stretched
And the chains pulled taut,
Stretching out their limbs.
Then Procrustes would enter
And walk to the pulleys
And pull . . .

And tendons would snap
While the guests lay there screaming
And writhing in pain
While their cartilage tore!

But not just content
To pull limbs from their sockets,
Procrustes did more . . .

With a hammer,
He pounded their limbs
And he shattered their bones
And he flattened their flesh
‘Til the bed fin’lly fit!

But I knew that that wouldn’t be me,
For you see,
I was tall . . .

And Procrustes had two beds.
And one was smaller.
So when taller guests lay down . . .

And the cuffs clicked
And the trap snapped shut,
Pinning them in bed,
And the ropes stretched
And the chains pulled taut,
Stretching out their limbs.
Then Procrustes would enter
Dramatic’lly drawing his sword . . .

And he’d chop off their toes
And he’d hack off their fingers
And saw off their feet
Which would fall to the floor!

And while spurts of blood arced
From the stubs of their ankles,
Procrustes did more . . .

With a hatchet,
He severed their limbs
And he splintered their bones
And he sliced off their flesh
‘Til the bed fin’lly fit!

But I knew that that wouldn’t be me,
For you see,
I’d been warned . . .

So I did it to him!
Track Name: JoAnn Abbott - XYZ Song
A B C D R F G, H I J K L M N O P.
Q R S, T U V,
W X Y and Z
Now I’ve sung my A-B-C’s
Next time won’t you sing with me?

Sigh.

Anyone can sing the alphabet forwards,
That’s the way we all learned when we were small.
But I’m gonna sing the alphabet backwards
Show off to everybody and have me a ball.
Z Y X, W V U
T S R Q, P O N!
M L K, J I H G
F E D , C B and A!

Anyone can sing the alphabet forwards
That’s the way we’ve done it since we were kids
But I like to sing the alphabet backwards
So that all my friends say “Look what you did!”
Z Y X, W V U
T S R Q, P O N!
M L K, J I H G
F E D , C B and A!
(spoken) Everybody!
Z Y X, W V U
T S R Q, P O N!
M L K, J I H G
F E D , C B and A!
Track Name: Jenny Katz - The Beautiful Break
Heard a busker down on Market Street
He was playing in the middle of a crowd
And his, voice like a fountain of sweetness,
came pouring down

The audience uncrumpled their ones and fives
Tossed them in his case and they applauded
But his song was so much better than mine
That I held on tightly to my dollar

And I'm not proud of the pleasure I take
when the famous fall and the beautiful break

I'm hoping talent is a function of time
They say you must be patient when you're starting
And though I sit and sweat over the rhythm and the rhyming
Sometimes I get disheartened

And I'm not proud of the pleasure I take
when the famous fall and the beautiful

Break me from the trance of my daily thoughts
The litany of qualities that I am not
The promise of enlightenment keeps teasing me
Like a wounded bird
Leading me on and on

Went looking for that busker just the other day
Had my wallet at the ready
Planned to make amends for what I had not paid
In my hand I held a twenty

As you might expect, we never met again
Maybe karma wouldn't let us
So I went home and fretted out these chords
Said this song would be my penance

And I'm not proud of the pleasure I take
when the famous fall and the beautiful break
No, I'm not proud of the pleasure I take
when the famous fall and the beautiful break
Track Name: The Offhand Band - Do It (duet)
Player: The board games are out, the markers and paints
The buildings, cars and animals, too
I've run outta room, so off I will go
To someplace where there's more I can do

Worker: Just wait, not so fast, we've got to clean up
Player: Not now, I'm in the mood to keep playin'
Worker: That's always your mood, to put the work off
Player: You know I just don't care what you're sayin'

Player: Don't do it
Worker: When do I get my turn?
Player: Don't do it
Worker: When will we ever learn?
Too many people don't clean up after themselves
Don't want to be afraid of our closets and shelves

Worker: Just do it
Player: Worried 'bout what gets done
Worker: Just do it
Player: I'd much rather have fun
Both: There's something that I really wanna do, so let's just hop to it
Please
Player: Don't
Worker: Just
Both: Do it

Worker: When we leave a mess, bad things can occur
A trip could mean a hospital stay
And even if not, it might break our stuff
Thus leaving us with nothing to play

Player: You worry too much, you just need a rest
Worker: From what, when you just string me along?
Player: I've got just the thing, now, where did it go?
Worker: If we'd cleaned up, it wouldn't be gone!

Worker: Don't do it
Player: Worried 'bout what gets done
Worker: Don't do it
Player: I'd much rather have fun
Too many people living too bored and too sad
Don't wanna be like them, I just wanna be glad

Player: Just do it
Worker: When do I get my turn?
Player: Just do it
Worker: When will we ever learn?
Both: There's something that I really wanna do, so let's just hop to it
Please
Worker: Don't
Player: Just
Both: Do it

Both: I want one thing, you want another
But perhaps we two can find common ground
What if both things could help each other?
Could some sugar help the medicine go down?

Player: Hey, board game, watch out, right there in your box
Worker: A black hole sucks your pieces right in
Player: And here's a T-Rex who eats art supplies
Worker: And looks just like an art supply bin

Player: There's still so much left, all over the place
As if hit by ten meteorites
Work: Well, lucky for us, Space Rescue Team's here
Heroically setting all back to rights

Both: Let's duet
Worker: We'll get everything done
Both: Let's duet
Player: While we have lots of fun
Both: The puzzle's now complete where before there were pieces
Like peanut butter and chocolate makin' a Reese's

Both: Let's duet
Player: We can both share a turn
Both: Let's duet
Worker: That's the best thing to learn
Both: There's something that we really wanna do so let's just hop to it
Player: Sure
Worker: Yes
Both: Let's duet
Track Name: Charlie McCarron - Learn From Me
I want a room where
Nobody will find me
Where I can read my
Books and write my dreams
And when I cry there
Nobody will hear

I've been
Penning novels longer than you've lived
But the notes you write
Echo through my
Empty life
And they haunt my nights
So if you're listening
I ask you grant an old man peace

In my room I
Think my thoughts in secret
Here I'm safe from
All the noise outside
But I still hear the
Guns and muffled cries

And they haunt my nights
I burned my wicked boots that
Marched on
Homes and kicked in hidden doors to rooms
With hidden girls like you

I've done
Good and bad in life like everyone
But the guilty heart
Echoes through myself alone
For the souls I've wronged
My wretched past will be
A warning light to those who see

I'll write a book with
Every little detail
With all the pain and
Evil I have seen
So when you read it
You might learn from me
Track Name: Heather Miller - Jonah's Whale
I am just a simple whale
I sing my way across the ocean
But when Jonah’s ship set sail
An age old plan was put in motion

I was appointed on the day that I was born
I won’t spite the hand that feeds me
He doesn’t ask too often and He doesn’t ask too much
I will do as my Lord needs me

When they threw Jonah to the waves
I was waiting there to catch him
That bellyacher banged my belly for three days
It was worse than indigestion

I was appointed on the day that I was born
I won’t spite the hand that feeds me
He doesn’t ask too often and He doesn’t ask too much
I will do as my Lord needs me

Then the man inside made peace
The struggle in my gut was over
I heaved him out upon the beach
Turned to face the deep and dove there

I was appointed on the day that I was born
I won’t spite the hand that feeds me
He doesn’t ask too often and He doesn’t ask too much
I will do as my Lord needs me

I was appointed on the day that I was born
I won’t spite the hand that feeds me
He doesn’t ask too often and He doesn’t ask too much
I will do as my Lord needs me

I am just a simple whale
I sing my way across the ocean
Track Name: Kevin Savino-Riker - Slow Jam
I see you movin' hesitatin'
Almost dancin' in the kitchen
You're feeling lonely, only wishin'
That your felt that elation
That your feet would remember that sensation
Of being on the dance floor

I know what you've gotta do
Our bodies know what we need
So let your pulse quicken and listen
There's no language for the way it feels
But your body speaks and makes it real
This is what we dance for

This is what we dance for
Our bodies know what we need
So we listen when they tell us
To move, to move, to move

You've gotta dance like you've got something to prove

This is what we dance for
It's gotta be what you've gotta do
So call me, baby, call me
And I'll move, to move to you
I'll rescue you I'll take you to the club

You've got your hands in the air
Just like you're reaching for something
That's almost there but you're not quite sure
If you know where to go, take it slow
Let me show you how not to hurry, don't worry
Baby, we'll dance more

We've got all night so we can take our time
'Till we get it right; I can
Wait 'till the DJ plays a slow jam
You won't quite invite me home, but it's alright
This is what we dance for

This is what we dance for
I'll take you to the club, show me what you love
And I'll move to you
I'll move to you
I'll sing a tune
I'll dance with you

This is what we dance for
To move, to move, to move
Track Name: Ross Durand - You Chose Me
Thank you for loving me, though I'm slower than I used to be
I'll still get up to see you when you get home
I'll do my best not to jump on you, though that's what I'm inclined to do
Won't you please throw this doggie a bone

I swear I didn't make this mess but you won't believe me, that's my guess
I'm glad you've always been the forgiving kind
Of all the people you could be, I'm sure happy you chose me
And of all the people in the world, I'm glad you're mine

And I will stay by your side till I can't no more
It's the least that I can do, I mean, it's what I live for

Someday I'll fade away, but I'll stay with you till my dyin day
Just let me rest my head upon your knee
And someday when my spot on the couch is bare, I know that you'll still see me there
But deep in your heart is where I'll be
Track Name: Emperor Gum - Dewed
Waiting, always waiting, for your footsteps, with a wonder
Inside is warm, but cold air calms, breathing winter installs images
Late you call to me, tonight can you listen?

Loving the dress you shape, yoke dancing touching lips
You smile as we pull apart, parting with a sweet yearning
Only wonder, almost mouthing, hope my angel won't object

Under starlit canvas my tongue so thick, missing courage, still unsure
Missy, take my arm, let's walk, leave all misery tonight, maybe

Are you feeling this flame you awoke
Rising from my heart, love, hold me forever, reviver
Risk your life on a clown, an ocean light yellow rushes

You make the sun rise, sail the moon's yacht
Missy, you are so beautiful, still awaiting your move
Evening comes softly in silky chocolate eyes