The loss of my Father who was not only my personal champion and mentor, but my musical champion and mentor remains to date one of the most unsettling experiences I have ever had, so it’s no surprise to hear that I have written a song for him. The lyrics came quite easily, and I think this was because the song was truly written from my perspective about someone I knew quite well.  Additionally, I actually did engage in “all the things” I sing about in the song, and thus the song truly describes a first person experience. In a more universal sense, the song is about loss, and how those who are left behind grieve and come to terms with our state of being in the present.  In that sense, the song reflects the loss of my Mother and brother as well. The mechanics of writing the song posed a different challenge. Musically, I knew from the outset that I wanted to include fragments of a song my Father wrote for me.  The song, Melodie, For Lisa, is a solo for beginning flutists, and as such, the  whistle became the vehicle for expressing the melody written by my Father. Melodie is in 3/4 and is in the key of Bb, so one of the first things I had to address were the key and meter changes as Never Was is in 4/4 and in the key of E.  After selecting the fragments of Melodie I wanted to use, as well as the transposition and meter changes, the next challenge presented itself when I addressed where I would use the Melodie fragments in the new song and then how much I would ornament and augment the original melody.  Surprisingly, this was quite easy, so much so that the usage of the melody seemed "meant to be", and thus in my view, remained uncontrived.  If you have listened to much of our music you will have noticed that in this song we do something different with the whistle solo; we allow the whistle to proceed alone without its usual solo companion, the guitar. There was no question in our minds that this should be so, as the solitary journey of the whistle lends itself to poignancy and to the whole point of the song: confronting a devastating loss and the permanence of “never was”, alone. The ending vocals were the last thing we recorded for Never Was, and call it closure or a catharsis or whatever you like, but on that day I became quite emotional.  I think this can be heard in the the slightest wavering of my voice, and I thought about re-recording what I had done in that I “wanted the song to be perfect.”  Don convinced me to leave the first take as he thought the expressive nature was more “real” than any other more perfect take could have been.

Lyrics for Never Was

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