The Artist’s Rule Blues (#lyrics #poetry #50/90)

When I was young, I wanted to run
Seeking adventure around every corner
I never knew who I was back then
The family I had was really a foreigner
That’s when my search began
for the real piano man

Mama gave me a piano
Daddy strummed the guitar
I sang in the choir
I never got very far
I had the Artist Rule Blues

Rule #1: the hardest of the three
Rule #2: stability for me
Rule #3: playing like a fool
Obedience calls for always being true

As life wore on, I could no longer deny
The need to look that man in the eye
The one responsible for my very life
The one who now had a different wife
That’s when my search began
for the real piano man

Mama gave me a piano
Daddy strummed the guitar
I sang in the choir
I never got very far
I had the Artist Rule Blues

Rule #1: the hardest of the three
Rule #2: stability for me
Rule #3: playing like a fool
Obedience calls for always being true

I found him on a mountain
We sang all night and day
Of one thing I’m quite certain
His love made me want to stay

Mama gave me a piano
Daddy strummed the guitar
I sang in the choir
I never got very far
I had the Artist Rule Blues

Rule #1: the hardest of the three
Rule #2: stability for me
Rule #3: playing like a fool
Obedience calls for always being true

Skipper’s House (#lyrics #poem #50/90)

Skipper did you know
That we’d be moving on
Leaving it all behind
Not knowing what we’d find

We built you a castle
Befitting of a king
You were so special
We’d do most anything
It’s no longer ours now
Good-bye Skipper’s house

Skipper did you know
Losing you was such a blow
Shadow howling every day
Searching for you in every way

We built you a castle
Befitting of a king
You were so special
We’d do most anything
It’s no longer ours now
Good-bye Skipper’s house

Skipper did you know
Daisy imitating you as she goes
Wearing the crown
She does you so proud

We built you a castle
Befitting of a king
You were so special
We’d do most anything
It’s no longer ours now
Good-bye Skipper’s house

Skipper did you know
We’re waiting impatiently to go
That place we long to be
Your love setting us free

We built you a castle
Befitting of a king
You were so special
We’d do most anything
It’s no longer ours now
Good-bye Skipper’s house

One Year Ago (Today) Original Song #50/90

I posted the original lyrics written in the wee hours of the morning as a tribute to my father’s passing, one year ago today in the John Wayne and Jacqueline post.

Then I took the story and wrote an EDM track, with stripped down lyrics, compete with groggy vocals, all recorded on GB on the iPad with earplugs in the living room so not to awaken the house. Here’s the outcome:

John Wayne and Jacqueline (#lyrics #poem #50/90)

They drove down to Tijuana
He asked her do you wanna
They headed for the courthouse
To pledge their love as man and spouse

Today one year ago
He left us don’t you know
How hard to say goodbye
I cannot even cry
Drowning in the lies
Until the day I die

They drove up to San Francisco
Amidst kisses and moonlight glow
Cable cars under the stars
Waiting to be sent off to war

Today one year ago
He left us don’t you know
How hard to say goodbye
I cannot even cry
Drowning in the lies
Until the day I die

Waving good-bye to the ship
Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Promising to faithfully wait
Surrendering to chance or fate

Today one year ago
He left us don’t you know
How hard to say goodbye
I cannot even cry
Drowning in the lies
Until the day I die

A handsome stranger stepped in
Deep blue eyes, an Elvis grin
Promised her the moon
She couldn’t help but swoon

Today one year ago
He left us don’t you know
How hard to say goodbye
I cannot even cry
Drowning in the lies
Until the day I die

Little baby on the way
Did not stop her walk of shame
The letter started with “Dear John”
His wife and child now were gone

Today one year ago
He left us don’t you know
How hard to say goodbye
I cannot even cry
Drowning in the lies
Until the day I die

Life goes on
I must be strong

Remember When (#poem) (#lyrics) (#50/90)

Big problem haunting me
is now resolved
Not feeling excitement
but relief
Sneaking in day by day
can barely celebrate
Searching for the home I
vaguely recall

This is how this chapter
ends then
From a caterpillar
to a butterfly
Leaving behind that life
I know not why
Forever recall with
“remember when”

Remember when his breath smelled good
First beer, first kiss out in the woods
Remember when the grease smelled nice
Flipping burgers on a Friday night
First job, first car was “Out-a-sight”
Remember when
The way it was back then

Now I ask
oh where is home
Now that the old one
has fled and gone
To be content I must
cease to long
From here on out am I
called to roam?

Remember when his breath smelled good
First beer, first kiss out in the woods
Remember when the grease smelled nice
Flipping burgers on a Friday night
First job, first car was “out-a-sight”
Remember when
The way it was back then

I hear a song
writing in my head
In that moment
I am always home
Memories are close
I record on my phone
And thumb through photos
to remember when

Remember when his breath smelled good
First beer, first kiss out in the woods
Remember when the grease smelled nice
Flipping burgers on a Friday night
First job, first car was “Out-a-sight”
Remember when
The way it was back then

 

True Grit (#lyrics #poem #50/90)

Watching the remake of “True Grit”
For the first time after I met him
I thought of my father known as John Wayne
Named after his hero, he lived up to it

I sat next to him in English class
He told me he saw me with a man like that
Years later I see what he saw that in me
I knew who I was when I put down my mask

True Grit not taken lightly
Reputation, integrity at stake
Trustworthy and strong, reliability
Doing all things for God’s sake

I write my songs so differently
Listening to the beat of a different drum
Wandering back to where I come from
On the road of discovering my identity

True Grit not taken lightly
Reputation, integrity at stake
Trustworthy and strong, reliability
Doing all things for God’s sake

Remembering when true grit was part of life
Our heros loved Real Women
Not lingerie models once hidden
But respect and honor and prayers at night

True Grit not taken lightly
Reputation, integrity at stake
Trustworthy and strong, reliability
Doing all things for God’s sake

Fool for A While (#lyrics #poem #50/90)

You told me lies
about loving me
You were just in love with yourself
You came by
almost every day
Wooing me to take me off the shelf

I was a fool
for a while
Only cuz I wanted to be
I no longer
have that need inside
It’s time to stand up to you
Time to stand up for me

Don’t know why
I fell for you
On the rebound, feeling desperately
He was the one
I really loved
So you swooped in so sneakily

I was a fool
for a while
Only cuz I wanted to be
I no longer
have that need inside
It’s time to stand up to you
Time to stand up for me

Must have been weak
Must have been crazy
Too darn proud
A bit of lazy

I was a fool
for a while
Only cuz I wanted to be
I no longer
have that need inside
It’s time to stand up to you
Time to stand up for me

I was a fool
for a while
Only cuz I wanted to be
I no longer
have that need inside
It’s time to stand up to you
Time to stand up for me

 

Dig in and Hold On (#lyrics #poem #50/90)

Fifty Ninety (50 songs in 90 days) is starting in a couple of days so it’s time to start writing poems in more of a song form for potential songs.

I’ve been quiet for too long
Sitting at the library reading those books
Writing in my diary dodging those looks
Gotta show ‘em who I am
Show ‘em what I’ve got
Not gotta lie down, I’m way too strong

Stomp, stomp, scream and shout
Let your inner diva out

Dig in and hold on
It’s time to make some noise
Stuck in my head for way too long
Pedal to the medal, come on, girls, let’s race some boys

I dug out old photographs of my old boyfriends
The ones he “made” me throw away
Instead I hid them along with my dignity
Jonesing for a second chance
now he’s down and out
Begging for some money I could lend no doubt

Stomp, stomp, scream and shout
Let your inner diva out

Dig in and hold on
It’s time to make some noise
Stuck in my head for way too long
Pedal to the medal, come on, girls, let’s race some boys

Not gonna feel guilty
He had more than a second chance
Running through women, drugs, and money
Laughing like the truth was so funny

Stomp, stomp, scream and shout
Let your inner diva out

Dig in and hold on
It’s time to make some noise
Stuck in my head for way too long
Pedal to the medal, come on, girls, let’s race some boys

Stomp, stomp, scream and shout
Let your inner diva out

Dig in and hold on
It’s time to make some noise
Stuck in my head for way too long
Pedal to the medal, come on, girls, let’s race some boys

In the Studio Discovering a New Path and Identity

Woke up to another beautiful sunny day here in Las Vegas and that means waking up early this time of year. The dawn begins to break a little before 5 am and by 6, I can no longer stay in bed. I climb down the stairs from the third floor, stopping off on the second floor to grab a cup of coffee before continuing on to my first floor studio.

I log onto my Mac and continue with a Master Class on Electronic Dance Music, which I absolutely love and have loved since my Disco days. Playing around with sound triggers the knowledge I now have about my father and that side of a musical family – the family I did not know growing up. People did that more back then – when the couple split, that was the end of the father and “hello, step dad” who was now dad (sometimes you didn’t know he wasn’t your dad), and you used his last name.” Good-bye identity.

But that is old news. What strikes me today as I play around with sounds for an Electro Pop song is that knowing I have an “ear for music,” (told to me throughout my school years and later by my Las Vegas vocal coach, who happened to be starring in “Mamma Mia” on stage), was how lonely it was for me to have these gifts but not really understand them, unable to embrace my true identity because I was surrounded by strangers who were family. Strangers because my mother and half-siblings did not have these gifts, although to his credit, my step dad played the guitar. Ironically, he was the most supportive of my music. But my mother and siblings seemed to want to down play my musical gifts. Subtly, of course. 😮

So here I am, decades later, having met and discovered my family and my identity, pursuing my love for music, embracing all that I am. It’s a thrill, a triumph, but with a sense of loss and regret of the choices that others made for me. And why I’m such an advocate for children, whether adopted or conceived through sperm and egg donors or anything that has gotten in the way of children not knowing who they truly are. It’s an outrage!

Over ten years ago (closer to fifteen now), I wrote and published my story in Myths of the Fatherless, but I think it’s needed even more today.

In the Studio: Electro Pop song in progress

 

L.A. Nights Book Trailer is Live

Story and Music by Kathy Holmes

I love making book trailers, using visuals and making my own music to give a peek into a story I also wrote. L.A. Nights is available as a standalone short story or as part of the Cougars in Cabo anthology. For more information, see SHORT STORIES under the BOOKS menu.

Tequila, Take Me Home

I wrote this song when we were living in Florida. We were having lunch at La Fiesta, the most Southern California Mexican restaurant in the New Smyrna Beach/Daytona area and I was soaking up the atmosphere, the Mexican music, and the “Mexican Margarita,” as they called it. It was my favorite, if not a bit strong.

A Native Californian, I was so homesick for the West Coast so I took a drink and said, “Tequila, Take Me Home.” That became a song.

So when Taxi A&R had a listing for “drinking songs,” I submitted it. Well, it was not forwarded. But after last night’s episode where they played many of the submissions and we got to vote +1 or -1 as to whether we thought it should be forwarded, I realized my mistake. It was not a “drinking song” in the real meaning of that. It was more of a homesick song – lol!

I have a couple of other drinking songs that would have been more appropriate but they need some work. But it might be good to do the work now because you never know when they might just have another call for that kind of song.

I Freakin’ Love Music Production

So I started my Silicon Valley career in book production working for San Francisco publishers and printers before I segued to high tech companies in San Jose. Unfortunately, production departments were eventually incorporated into technical writing so I was forced to do both. But I’ve always had a thing for production. And now it’s music production.

You know how you can’t seem to avoid people on Facebook who follow some site called “I freakin’ love science” (to put it nicely). Well, I freakin’ love music production. I can’t resist watching videos of music producers working in their studios. Oh, yeah, Loopcloud isn’t bad either.

Check out this video about the latest version of Loopcloud.

Heavenly Holmes Band (Musical Family Story and Testimony)

I grew up up without knowing my father or my father’s family. It’s complicated. But my maternal grandmother was a staunch Jehovah’s Witness and my father’s family were Baptists and she wasn’t about to hand me over to the Baptists. How ironic I should become Catholic. 🙂

Anyway, when I came into contact with my father and his family in my 40s, my Uncle Don said:

“Now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re going to want to pay attention to music.”

And he began to tell me the family stories and the talents of the family I had never known.

Along about the same time, my literary agent said:

“Your writing has a poetic, almost lyrical rhythm to it.”

What did that mean? Poetic? Me? Lyrical? Really? But I had heard that my paternal grandmother wrote poetry and my grandfather was a musician, so I started to look at my love of music and this lyrical rhythm I apparently had to see what I might do about it. That was the beginning of my serious pursuit of music, including songwriting.

As the story goes, my great grandfather made musical instruments and, of course, then, he could play all of them. My grandfather played the keys and sang in a band (besides, being a pitcher for the Memphis Chicks), my uncles and dad either sang and/or played various instruments, from guitar to drums to bass to the keyboard.

In school, I’d heard that I had a musical ear. My vocal coach in Las Vegas (who had appeared in Mamma Mia on stage), said I had a great ear for music. Anyway, back to music in school, I sang in the choir, solo’d and played the organ, piano, guitar, and violin in fits and starts. The constant for me was singing – that was my favorite part. And as a modern musician, I’ve discovered that, like great grandpa, I love to arrange an assortment of instruments through music production – I absolutely love that!

All of that family except for one younger uncle are gone now so I like to think that some day I’ll play and sing with the Heavenly Holmes Band. (For more about Uncle Ron’s musical talent, check out his obituary).

Listening to Travis Greene this afternoon, I’m calling on the Heavenly Holmes Band to be my prayer warriors and all play and sing this song together:

 

 

Kristopher (#poem)

Kristopher I call you today
Are you the one or is it Kristy?
Not if the little boy who went away
Sweet, loving, and kissy
Was really you in disguise
Would my love have been a lie?

To heal a broken heart, they say
Is not to bury you, but to give you a name
To keep alive since that day
You were identified by your grave
And so today I call you Kristopher
Until we meet in the ever after

FAWM 2019 (Original Songs)

Today is the last day of FAWM (February Album Writing Month) 2019 and I finished all 14 songs. Songwriters have different goals for FAWM but it’s a time to experiment, get creative, try different things.

This was my second FAWM and it went a lot better than my first. I’m making progress – yay! I noticed that I did a lot more EDM than before and I’m thinking that’s turning into my strong suit.

Here’s my playlist for FAWM 2019.

Sleeping in a Stranger’s House (#poem)

Daytime I see the snow-capped mountains of home in the desert light
Night time I hear screeching and scurrying under the first flight
Consciousness tells me it’s the heater roaring on a colder than usual night
Imagination weaves a story about a monster living underground
The sounds surrounding me startle me awake reminding me I’m sleeping in a stranger’s house

Money and a contract give me the right to call it mine
But my heart remembers a home of a different time
When family and memories made it more than just a mortgage and I knew I belonged
But all of that has changed and everything feels so wrong
Like landing on an unfamiliar planet where once upon a time I sang a familiar song

Living in a stranger’s house is like living in a foreign body
Looking in the mirror at an amusement park or traveling carny
The familiar is distorted, upheaving your orientation, spinning you round and round
Uncontrollable reeling, desperately seeking balance to keep you from falling on the ground
If six months in feels like home, you’re halfway there counting down

FAWM Day 1

This time last year I began my first FAWM (February Album Writing Month). It nearly killed me – lol – but I was hooked.

Okay, I managed to survive, but it was very stressful. My chest muscles tightened and it hurt to breathe. By the end of the month, I even caught a cold.

I debated all year about whether to FAWM or not to FAWM again this year. We’re going through a very stressful time right now. I don’t need more stress right now. But I really enjoyed the community of supportive musicians and the songs I wrote were used throughout the year in various circumstances. How could I not FAWM?

I posted my first song for FAWM 2019 and now it’s time to do some laundry and read and relax, a day I would have been thrilled to have back in my Silicon Valley days. So maybe the answer is to take one day at a time. Gratitude. Live in the moment.

FAWM Day 1 = done!