Tag Archives: trains

Ferguson Strong: The Talkin’ Headline Blues #141

The Talkin’ Headline Blues is a weekly series of recordings using unedited headlines from CNN.com written as a song. This week’s topic: Ferguson Strong.

Ferguson Strong: The Talkin' Headline Blues #141

Are my big trains strong?
World’s human dream sabotaged.
Her black Ferguson store does demand ‘Ice Bucket’.

The Talkin’ CTA Blues (Rahm Emanuel Version)

Same Old, Same Old

Well, this is another Chicago-inspired tune that I wrote several years ago. In 2008! But, the more things change, the more they stay the same, right? The CTA is still crashing trains, but instead of Mayor Daley making things right, we’ve got Rahm Emanuel.

The Talkin' CTA Blues (Rahm Emanuel Version)
In Chicago, infrastructure is priority number one.

I wrote the original version about a CTA crash on the blue line, but since there was just recently this one (or, even this one that I saw happen), I figured I better update the song a little. You can read about the original version and listen to it here. Or, if you feel like supporting a local musician, buy the song here. You’ll notice the differences.

For one, Chicago isn’t trying to get the Olympics any more, but Mayor Rahm does want to use our hard earned dollars and change to build a shiny basketball arena for DePaul University. They MUST need it bad, huh? Go ahead and read up on it. The Chicago Reader always has some good points.

Anyway, I always enjoyed this song. Singing it, performing it. I’m adding it back into my lineup. Maybe you’ll catch a show where I play it sometime soon?

Hey! You can now download this song by clicking here.

Rewritten Song: On down the road (version 2)

On down the road (version 2)

Here’s the last thing I’ll do in 2013. It’s a rewrite of this tune from 2011. I’m not sure if I improved on the original version. I really enjoy that one. I actually didn’t think I’d be able to re-write it at all. At first I just played around with time signatures to change up the recording, but kept the words all the same.

That didn’t work.

I settled on this right here. I’m fine with it. I enjoy it. It uses repetition, which is something I’ve found to be useful when writing songs. I figure out a pattern of how words or phrases or ideas can repeat over and over and then I fit different words into that. It gets easy the more you do it.

This recording is a great example of that. I finally found a musical pattern that sounded good to me and then I crammed all the words from the first version into that. Some words dropped out when I cut out what I didn’t need, but I think I kept the idea of the song the same.

Except that I turned it around to you. It’s not about me anymore. It’s yours now.

I’m going to do that a lot more in 2014. This new song every week thing is going to change a little bit. Instead of me just vomiting out all the songs I can, I’m going to explain how I get each one. IN DEPTH. I’m going to create some sort of How-To manual of songwriting. Like, How-To write a song every single day. It’ll be fun. I think.

I haven’t totally got it all straightened out yet, but it’ll just be a little different. You may not even notice.

So that’s what’s coming soon.

New Song: The train I ride

Clapping is hard work.

But no hands were harmed in the recording of this tune. My vocal chords were, though. I just haven’t played mouth harp for, oh, about 4 months and it’s not a good thing to jump back into. Especially the reckless way that I play. But it’s my favorite instrument to play, so I don’t give a damn.

Now…how about this song? I think you should listen to it with headphones. Or, at the very least, something other than your laptop speakers. If you must, though, turn it up loud.

It’s a simple tune. I used a bunch of other train songs to write this one. They are, in no particular order:

  • 900 miles (from my home)
  • Wabash Cannonball
  • The Cannonball Blues
  • Hobo’s Lullaby
  • Little Black Train
  • T is for Texas (that’s not a train song, necessarily, but it’s part of this one)

So there you have it. This new song is a make up for the week of February 4th, in which I did not write a single word. I think this is a good way to fill that void.

I’ve got another tune working too. Don’t know if I’ll get to it for tomorrow or not. It’s something I need to think about a lot. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot. But something I don’t want to have to think about at all. Something that hopefully I’ll just be able to pull right out of the air.

Anyway…good night.