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The Hard Blunt Truth
You always have been a terrific story teller Ron, even when the story isn't a pretty one. Always appreciate your songs....
Thanks DJC. I know it's sad, but sometimes I just have to get a song out of my head. I'm sure you understand that :) Peace and Merry Christmas.
Sad song, but a powerful statement. Well sung, Ron, and well played.
I'm a songwriter working toward a publishing contract. I perform in a number of venues to be heard. I feel most comfortable writing in Folk, Country and Blues.Peace, Ron
I tried to quit....couldn't do it! I tried to sell my gear.....couldn't do it! As a matter of fact, I wrote a new song because of that. Go figure.
"Carved In Stone"
Before I tell the story that inspired this song, I'd like to thank Myk McDowell for all his hard work on the production. He took a lame work demo that was out of time and made it sound great. The original demo was my vocal and me on acoustic guitar. Since I usually play solo, I tend to use emotion to get the lyrics across. This means that I tend to be out of time a lot. Even so, Myk used his expertise and came up with the production. No easy task. It takes a great deal of talent to do what he's done and I'm very proud to have had the chance to work with him.
This song is about a man I met many years ago while I was backpacking around the country. I'd been on the road five days after leaving California. I'd been stuck at a number of entrance ramps along Interstate 80 and was wondering how many songs I'd write before I croaked in the desert. I finally got a ride from a couple of gamblers heading to Salt Lake City from Reno. Just before entering Salt Lake, they let me out at a bridge since they were not going into the city, but turning off for home. I was too tired to make my way into Salt Lake and decided to spend what was left of the night "Under the Overpass.” (The title for another song I wrote later). When I got to the underside of the bridge I was looking around for a good spot to set up and sleep. Back in those days there was always a chance someone else might be under the same bridge, and sure enough I heard a man’s voice invite me to join him. He lit a flashlight so I could see where he was and I made my way up to him. We introduced ourselves and while I was laying out my sleeping bag and getting settled he started some light conversation. We talked for a while, dug through our packs and found enough for between us to share a decent meal.
Since we were both pretty tired, we said goodnight and kicked back to get some rest. Sometime later I woke to the sound of his crying. I rolled out of my bag and moved to see if he was ok. I realized he was still asleep and appeared to be having a bad dream of some kind. Of course not knowing him well enough to shake him awake, I poked his boot a couple of times with his flashlight. Bad move!! He came up like a rocket and pinned me to the concrete slab we were sleeping on. I started talking to him and he finally let me go. He apologized a number of times. I assured him it was all good (I've done the same thing myself a number of times). He asked me why I woke him, and when I told him he shook his head and started to cry again. After some coaxing, I finally got him to open up and tell me what it was all about.
His father was a minister when he was a kid, and he was raised in a very religious environment. When he turned 18 he was drafted into the Army, went through boot camp, and was sent directly to Vietnam. We talked for a long time about that. When he came home, he said he was having a great deal of trouble adjusting. His father’s teachings were so ingrained in him he couldn't deal with facing his family, especially his father, and decided to leave until he could come to terms with himself. It wasn't his friends, family, or his father that prompted him to leave; He told me everyone had done all they could to assure him he was more than welcome home. It was his heart causing so much pain. What he'd done in war contradicted everything he believed in, and that was causing another war inside of him.
As I listened to him, now and then I gave what comfort I could offer. Before we lay back to sleep again, he thanked me for listening to him. He said he'd never been able to tell anyone about what was bothering him, and it helped to open up after all the time he'd held it in.
When I woke, I sat up to see if he was alright, but he was gone. I found a note on my pack that said, Thanks, I'm going home. I've never seen him since, but his story stuck with me all these years. A few years ago I decided to write his story in a song. I've been working on that song for six years.
"Carved in Stone" is my way of saying thank you to him for sharing his story with me. I hope he's had a great life wherever he is.
Words and Music by: Ron Kauffman
Vocals and Acoustic Guitar: Ron Kauffman
Production, mixing and all other instruments by:
My friend Myk McDowell
Thursday, 08 May, 2014