Bein’ Corny and Thinkin’

Back in Norton. Prepping an 8-row and the John Deere 4440 for a few hundred acres of niblet-planting.

Farming is intimidating. Dad wasn’t a great student in school, and to my knowledge was truly never mechanically inclined. But the way he looks at a problem can be refreshing.

His internal cause-and-effect’er is far better than mine. My sense of danger is catastrophically misplaced – I jump when the torch pops back at me…dad has eternal faith in cheap brass check valves. The gas/fuel mix was off on the torch, so it would light, and then “POP!!” out immediately. Paint on the toolbar was already burning when the happened, so Dad used it to re-light the torch instead of pulling out the sparker.

Again…and again…and again….it sounded like automatic weapons fire. Re-lighting 4-5 times per second until he finally got the metal as cherry as he needed it.

I sought cover. Dad delighted in the fact that he could be entertained and productive at the same time.

Been playing music lately. The response to the EP, which went up on iTunes 2 weeks ago, has been great. Some radio play in Wichita and KC, a forthcoming “half-hour with Maddy” on the hometown radio station…maybe some spins in Manhattan and Hays soon as well.

Got a cliche’ shirt last weekend when I played at Woody’s in Lenexa. Black with white letters…

it’s not just music
it’s a lifestyle.

Not a fan of cliche’s, but I love that shirt. I love it.

I remember standing in the living room of the little 2-bedroom house I grew up in, watching as people celebrated the fall of the Berlin wall. I didn’t know the significance.

I remember dropping off Dad’s ’92 GMC took get a new muffler put on the morning of September 11, 2001. As I walked in to talk with the mechanic, he asked me if I’d heard about a plane hitting a building in New York. Terrorism, to someone from Northwest, KS…it’s even less of a threat than communism. I know now how significant that moment was.

And I remember the first time I heard Mike McClure’s voice. Driving towards Oberlin, KS on Highway 36. Moving west. The Great Divide – Let’s Get Out of Here Tonight. Been singing it ever since.

I talked recently with someone about songwriting. For a long time, I wrote poems. Poems that weren’t very good, and I did it to pass the time. I wrote them on seed salesmen’s booklets and the inside of tractor windows back when we used to till this land for days and weeks. You can only listen to the same songs so many times. Smashmouth’s “Allstar” and Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” drove me to thinking.

I thought all over paper. Trite rhymes, predictable patterns, hokey hokey pokey corny crap.

Not long after I heard some Great Divide I started to understand that it was ok for songwriting to be whatever you felt, not whatever you wanted someone else to feel. “But I Do”…”Wildflower”….”Billy Covington”….

I wrote my first good lyrics that summer. I’ll try to find them and post them here soon, but I think it was called “Goodbye”. It was told from a first-person perspective, an old man at his wife’s funeral. He’s at the casket, apologizing that in just the short time since she’s passed he’s broken his wedding vows…remember the vows say “til death do us Part”..

His apology is that he’s never stopped loving her, and suspects she’s broken her vow too, so they can talk that one over when they meet again.

It was beautiful, simple, sad.

Elegant like white-wash, not like pearls. Someone was dead. And I learned – it’s ok to write songs about people dying, because they do.

One thought on “Bein’ Corny and Thinkin’”

  1. oh lucas, it’s okay to write anything, and as long as you know it, as long as it’s in you and you let it out, no one can pretend it isn’t amazing, and original, and true. i’m glad you remembered, I’m glad you wrote about it.

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