It's a funny thing about a song, how one individual listening can produce a vastly different interpretation than another, each of which are themselves light years away from the songwriter's original intention. As listeners we tend to inject our own experience into what we're hearing, and that's okay (according to most). That's part of the fun and the exchange we have with artform of any kind.
But the fun stops here: our semi-regular About a Song series asks the artists themselves about a song they've written-- maybe, just maybe, ruining it all for you in the process. But hopefully not.
First up, just in time for summer's dwindling dog days, Portland's Alan Singley spells it all out for us like only he can on what went into the making of his wistful, summery "Sauvie Island," thus far available only on this year's PDX Pop Now! compilation. Stream the song below.
"A few years back I studied music at PCC Cascade for a year and was given a key to unlock gates to all new musical galaxies where catchy, jazzadelic ditties hang out and play Nintendo all day...ya dig?
I wrote the music and most of the lyrics to "Sauvie Island" in a day. I stuck to the seven chords one is granted when composing a happy pop song and occassionally used a chord to deceive the listener. Also I'm a big fan of jazz waltzes.
The chorus is a direct quote of what my friend said the day before I went to Sauvie Island for the first time. Every last word. The verses feature some activities, all of which happened. These days I just want to sing about real stuff.
The track would be nothing without the production of Ben Barnett. I took the Cascade train up to Seattle on my birthday (that's January 15th) to record this track at Ben's stellar analog studio, which is like stepping into 1973. It's called Bro Means Bro. Analog tape makes the drums and bass sound like vegan gravy from the Vita Cafe. This song was just one of his first completed projects in the studio which only opened on January 7th. There has since been a total upgrade, so the future is all glitter and yummy snacks!
And while I'm on this OPB Blog can I just say: Rick Steves for President 2020!"
Tagged: About a Song