Don Potter, wonderful musician and friend, once told about a dream he’d had where he went to heaven. He was walking around there when he heard the faint sound of music. As he listened closer, he realized…”hey, they’re playing one of my songs!” He said he was so excited that he grabbed the first angel he could find and announced “you’re playing one of my songs!” The angel replied “no… you’ve been playing one of ours.”

I love that.

Sometimes the song flies into your window. Note that I said “into” and not “through.”

I got a call from Peter Frampton one Sunday evening and he told me about a big bird that had flown into his window that morning. At first it appeared to be dead but he saw it move so, he called an animal rehab number for help. He was told to go about his business for an hour or so and go back and check and that chances were, it will have flown away. An hour later, the bird was up walking around like Mick Jagger, but not flying away. He then made a second call to animal rehab and after more description of the bird, found out he had an American Coot… which only can take off from water! Most people would’ve reached for a broom by now but, Peter got a blanket and a box with a lid and took the bird down to the Cumberland River and released it. He watched it run across the surface of the water until it took off into the sky. He had saved a bird that day!

Upon hearing this story, I laughed and asked if this was the follow-up to our “Hummingbird In A Box”, the title track to music we did for the Cincinnati Ballet? “American Coot in a Box” perhaps? More laughter…

We had scheduled to write a couple of days that following week. The first day found him playing me this wonderful chord sequence. I heard it as a finished, 3-distinct-moods-in-1, piece of music. He is such a gifted guitarist and there doesn’t seem to be an end to where he can go on the fretboard’s journey. I needed time to digest what he was doing so I asked him to play it and let me record it on my phone. I took it home and we had scheduled to get back on it two days later. By the time I went back to write with him, I had not been able to let go of his story and went in with the frame of a lyric, hoping it would move him as his story had moved me. It did.

Remember the three distinct musical personalities within his song structure? One gives a canvas for verse information… the telling of the story:

I HEARD HER AT THE BACKDOOR
THE LITTLE WINGED BIRD
LYING THERE IT SHOULD’VE BEEN
THE END FOR HER
WAS SHE GOING SOMEWHERE
DID SHE HAVE A PLACE TO BE
PERHAPS TODAY WAS ON HER WAY
TO RESCUE ME

The second mood allows a brief moment for the listener to trade places with the bird:

SOMETIMES YOU FLY
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
SOMETIMES YOU CRY
SOMETIMES IT HURTS

The third part puts the message into the larger, big picture context.

WE ALL NEED SOMEBODY
TO UNDERSTAND
WE ALL NEED SOMEBODY
LEND A HAND

The second verse:

I SAW A BIT OF MOVEMENT
AN IDEA CAME CLEAR
TO CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER IS
THE REASON WE ARE HERE
I WRAPPED HER IN A BLANKET
THIS SKY FALLEN STRAY
TOOK HER TO THE RIVER AND
WATCHED HER GETAWAY

The heart of this song and the heart of the voice singing it, finds that the way to “matter” most, is not being done for but rather doing for. A good message indeed for today’s mad world.

You might be sitting around wondering if you matter. You might be looking for your next song idea. Maybe this bird answered both for us?

Here is the video:

 

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