May 1, 2013

Hear Me Crying, Soul-Speak

The older I get, the less that I know
The closer I move, the further it goes. 
I guess I'll just stay in bed.
Dark is the path. Light is a room.
If you hold it back,
It isn't too soon to tell me to think it again
Loud is the night. Quiet the dock.
The harder I think, the more that I stop.
I guess I'll just stay in bed
Hear Me Crying

Few people can really Moan. I'm not talking moan with a stomach ache, any physical pain really, or moan in ecstasy. I mean Moan with a: "M." The type of moan where everyone in ear shot says, I know what that means. Where, with a sound, you prove, not just explain, what you feel and make others empathize. 

It's more than vocal acrobatics. Most vocalists, even great ones, over-do it to the point it becomes ridiculous and the message of the song is lost. A Moan isn't about proving the talent of the singer, probably doesn't have much to do with singing at all. It is more like acting. The performer is telling  the story. That is the division between a good moan and a moan that sets the listeners nerves on fire. There are many great moans in music, that you might think it's easier than it sounds. Try it and hear that it is not. 






I always tried, every night
to be in your arms
holding you tight loving you right
Darling you wouldn't be true

Fear makes it difficult to Moan. At some point you have to let go completely, there is no performance, no audience, no hang-ups, no song, only living. A moment of life where your body, your voice is being used to explain something beyond words. The soul speaks. It is overwhelming. The frailty of self-awareness disappearing. The inability for words to mean enough. It all comes out in the Moan.


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I wanted to write a song with the capacity to house a Moan. I would love to hear Dan try it. The man has a voice that commands. Who knows maybe I will get there, I am a much improved singer from the time we recorded the first album. One the coolest thing I have the privilege to experience is to hear Dan sing songs I have written. It has happened only a few times but I remember each one. When I wrote Hear Me Crying I was working as a tutor in a writing lab at a San Antonio Community. And one thing it gave me, besides a lot of time to write, was a chance to listen to full albums on 45+ min commute. For some reason for about an entire month I listened only to Etta James' At Last. By the end of the month I had the idea to write a song around the Moan. The words draw a lot of influence from my study of Zen, with a little nod to Chuck Berry.

Not all moans are vocal. Instrumentals can have the same effect. A well crafted chord structure can create the landscape for a solo to express itself. It is all about speaking beyond the parameters of words. Like a painting, or photograph, a moan is worth more than a verse.


She set the kettle when he came in
He hasn't lifted his head since
Always going to the same seat
  Her stronger punches
She's put away to sit with him
Looking at the stove
Afraid it will boil soon



-rene



*image from: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02115/james_2115502b.jpg