Roadside Songs

For quite some time now, I’ve been the designated “volunteer” for providing music at my church for the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Their thinking, I believe, is that there will be the smallest number of congregants to piss off.

For a number of years, I just picked some folky kinds of things I could sing while I played guitar badly. I did some Joe Wise, some Greg Sheer, a bunch of Shaker songs (Simple Gifts, now only available as .pdf), some things from a green, spiral bound book one of our pastors gave me, a bunch of spirituals. Somewhere along the line, I snuck in a song or two that I had composed myself.

I began by composing lyrics to some nice Shaker tunes in the book my spouse gave me one summer after she’d been visiting a Shaker village in New Hampshire. Later, I began to make stuff up. I’d get a lyric idea, and make up a tune. Most of this making up stuff occurs while I’m out jogging in the morning. The Shakers said that they “received” their songs. I’m beginning to think I’m “receiving” my songs as I jog along the roadside in one place or another. Hence, I have dubbed them, Roadside Songs.

Over time, I’m hoping to post them here. For some songs, I have an actual score that I created. For some, just a lead sheet. For some I even deigned to make a bad recording. The point of the recording is just to give a hint as to what I was thinking when I “received” the songs. Clearly a better musician, and one with a better recording set up, would make things much nicer. But still, I think there might be merit in hearing hints of what the composer was thinking. So eventually, something might appear in this space. Or perhaps I’ll find myself too lazy to continue. One can only hope I’ll shake off my natural slothfulness from time to time. We’ll see.

Just to belabor what’s likely obvious, these are all essentially Sunday School songs. Several are real Sunday School songs, having been written for our kids’ choir for Christmas and Easter. They’re also basically in a “folk” style, since I’m not a good enough musician to do much more than 1-4-5.