Ramblings

I Get It Now 

I wrote “I Get It Now” with my friend Les Hauge. Les lives in Sarasota, Florida and I was in Santa Cruz, California, so like many songwriters during the pandemic, we were trying to write a song over Zoom. For some reason I got talking about how as a parent myself now, I had so much more appreciation for the people who had tried to teach me and help me as a young man. “Man, I just didn’t get it then, but I get it now”, I said. And then I think we both thought at the same time - that could be a great idea for a song! 

The first lines for the chorus came almost immediately: “I was young, I was dumb, and I knew everything”. Was that too harsh an indictment, I asked? No, Les replied, that’s pretty much on the money for most of us, and we were off. 

As we started talking more about the story it became clear to me that I really wanted to write about the person who had been the biggest influence during my teenage years, my high school basketball coach, Mr. Jim Dudley. Or as we all affectionately called him, Mr. D. 

Mr D. was a big man, 6 foot 5, at least 275 pounds, incredibly strong, and as quick as a snake on the basketball court. He had a huge laugh, an outsized personality, and a big curly red beard. He had been MVP on his high school team, most inspirational player in college, and he ended up teaching and coaching in my hometown of Maple Ridge, BC, a small, blue-collar mill town along the Fraser River. He was a competitor and hated to lose. I only beat him at one on one a few times, and I remember how he fouled me like crazy when he realized he might lose.

I have a lot of memories of his kindnesses but I'll just mention one. My basketball shoes had been stolen from the locker room during gym class. And I think he knew how hard up my family was. So as a birthday present, he bought me a new pair and had everyone on the team sign the birthday card. (I still have that card.)

Around the time we were finishing mixing the record I heard that Mr. D. had passed away. He was such an incredible force of nature it’s hard for me to imagine him gone. 

Perhaps my favorite line in the whole song is, “You saw the good in me that no one else could find.” It’s one of those lines that just came out of my mouth while I was singing without any conscious thought. But it rings true in such a deep way for me. That was his super power. He cared about people, he saw the good in them, their potential. He gave his time, love and support. And he tried to guide me. I didn’t always get it then, oh but how… 

I get it now.

 

I Get It Now 

I was shooting hoops with my boy last night in the driveway 
When I caught myself saying what you’d always say
Coaching the team down at the high school gym 
And I thought, I sound just like you did  

Coach, your lesson was waiting there 
Till I could finally hear      

[Chorus]
I was young, I was dumb, and I knew everything 
Though you tried, I had my mistakes to make 
Like rain on the windshield those words washed away 
If I’d listened then lord knows what heartache I coulda saved 
I didn’t get it then 
Oh but how 
I get it now 

I had a chip on my shoulder almost all the time 
But you saw the good in me no one else could find 
You said, if you run with those Johnson boys, there’ll be hell to pay 
Then we crashed that car and I was lucky to walk away 

You were there for me that night 
Now I see you changed my life 

[Repeat Chorus] 

This life is a mystery - we see pieces of the plan 
Hope I’ll always be learnin’ and sayin’ when I look back 
I didn’t get it then 
Oh but how 
I get it now 

Oh I get it now 
Yeah I get it now

A Song Waiting To Be Sung 

(Listen to "A Song Waiting To Be Sung")

Jan 22, 2006 was a stormy, blustery night in Vancouver, Canada. I remember it vividly, as it was the night my son, Keith, was born. The rain was bucketing down and the night couldn’t have been blacker as we made our way to the hospital at 2 AM. 

As a first-time father, I was so overjoyed and transformed by the arrival of this beautiful baby boy that over the next week, I wrote “A Song Waiting To Be Sung” to try and capture some of that magical feeling of love and connection.

Then I blinked and 15 years had gone by.  

For many years I had been focused on playing music and writing songs. But now, with a new baby, family and other things in life took center stage. “Just for now”, I thought to myself. But this song stuck with me, kept resurfacing, demanding my attention, wanting to be sung. And thus it became one of the catalysts that eventually brought me back to songwriting a decade later. 

Now, over the past couple of years, I’ve written a lot of new songs. Some of which I love so much I wanted to record them so I could share them with the world. A selection of them make up the rest of the tracks on the new album. But it was “A Song Waiting To Be Sung” that provided the original impetus and so I decided it would only be appropriate to use that as the album title as well.

The song is structured as Verse, Verse, Verse, Verse, with a repeated refrain line at the end of every verse: “You’re a song that’s waiting to be sung”. That’s a traditional form used a lot in folk music and one that Bob Dylan used so often in his songs like “Tangled Up in Blue”, “A Simple Twist of Fate”, and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”. I always wanted to write a song using that form, and it seemed appropriate for this song, with its somewhat artsy lyrics.

We recorded it in Ocean Way studio in Nashville. The musicians were Evan Hutchings (drums), Brian Allen (bass), Pat McGrath (acoustic guitar), Justin Ostrander (electric guitar), Russ Pahl (pedal steel), Dane Bryant (piano and B3), Matt Dame (background vocals) with Zach Allen engineering and producing. 

This is a song of love. It has been waiting for 15 years to be sung, and after all that time, I’m so happy to finally share it with you all. 

(To the right is a picture of Keith today. At the top, is a picture of what he looked like at a few weeks old when this song was written.)

 

A Song Waiting To Be Sung

You’re an empty canvas ready for the paint 
A breath away from what is and what ain’t 
And we wait, through the longest night for you to come 
Take the stage, and turn up the lights, the first act’s begun 
A perfect creation 
You’re a song that’s waiting to be sung 

The cry of life is a holy cry of pain 
Beauty born from a deep and endless ache 
We never leave our searching for the place where we came from 
I finally see the reason for everything I’ve done 
A wondrous undertaking 
You’re a song that’s waiting to be sung 

The dawn is breaking, I’m the world’s most lucky man 
I’ve heard the secret and now I understand 
I watch you breathe, your quiet dreaming of happy days to come 
I wanna be a better man than I’ve become 
A lesson in the making 
You’re a song that’s waiting to be sung 

These old hands have played a song or two 
I look at yours and wonder what they’ll do 
My simple dream is lying in my arms – a tiny son 
The bigger scheme enfolds us in the mystery that has come 
A circle culminating 
You’re a song that’s waiting to be sung