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Sometimes Not

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Sometimes Not - 10/25/17 07:12 PM

Howdy JPFrs all over the place! I want to share this older song, co-written with Jim Purtell, that we turned over to Mike Zaneski on which to put his own, unique spin. He never disappoints. Thanks ahead for listening.


Is it this cold empty bed
I toss and turn in all night
Or a cruel winter wind instead
That chills me in moon light
Thought I knew the difference
Between what I want and what Iíve got
Sometimes I know but sometimes not

Is it the hot sun that blinds
On this bright new shiny day
Or a stinging in my eyes
From those dreams that blew away
Thought I knew the difference
Between what Iíve sold and what Iíve bought
Sometimes I know but sometimes not

On any given day
Iíd be the first to say
Life is only what we make it
Now I find that hard to admit

Is it age that makes me ask
What have I done with my life
Or the time that slips my grasp
For one last chance that might
Thought I knew the difference
Between what Iíve learned and what Iíve taught
Sometimes I know but sometimes not

Thought I knew the difference
Between what Iíve learned and what Iíve taught
Sometimes I know but sometimes not

©Jim Purtell (BMI) / Ricki E. Bellos (BMI)
Posted By: Maroon_Corey

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/25/17 08:10 PM


I like the harmonic contrast between the verse, chorus, and in particular the bridge where the chords used were a refreshing surprise. The melody lends itself to country vocal styling and the falling intervals and runs create kind of a yearning feel that seems to match the lyrics well. One interval that sounded a bit jarring to me was the falling 6th that happens throughout the song at the end of phrases on the word "know" and in other places. I like the way the melody is handled on that word at the very end of the song better. Thanks for sharing.
Posted By: Calvin

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/25/17 09:39 PM

Hello Ricki,

This is such a cool joint effort, thanks for sharing.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 12:13 AM

Thanks for listening, Maroon and glad you mostly seemed to enjoy the song.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 12:14 AM

Glad you thought it was cool, Calvin and thanks for listening.

Posted By: lane1777

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 01:40 AM

Solid all around song Ricki, good writing, good music and presentation by Mike Zaneski

what a super line.....

Thought I knew the difference
Between what Iíve learned and what Iíve taught

enjoyed the listen. Lane
Posted By: Maroon_Corey

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 02:04 AM

Very welcome, Ricki! I'm new here so please let me know if I assumed too much in providing an unsolicited critical point along with my praise. While I tried to look at a few threads before replying, I may have misjudged the norm (if there is one). Thanks!
Posted By: Dave Rice

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 03:09 AM

Congratulations, Ricki and Jim:

An outstanding co-write made memorable by the esteemed Mr. Zaneski. Kudos and curtain calls all 'round. ----Dave
Posted By: E Swartz

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 10:23 PM

Hey gang!

Well done by all--a winner IMO! Especially liked the bridge music--very cool digression.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 11:50 PM

Thanks, Lane. Glad you enjoyed it.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 11:57 PM

I personally don't mind constructive criticism, Maroon. Unfortunately, not many people here get too deep. When the song is a finished demo, it's less likely to be changed but it's still possible to learn something that will help on future songs. I wrote the lyrics and my co-writer did the music, so I can't really comment on your comment, but I do appreciate your taking the time you did.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 11:58 PM

Thanks Dave.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/26/17 11:59 PM

Thanks for listening, steady-eddie.

Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 01:29 AM

Very very lovely. Love the movement.
The vocal sounds so sincere.
Message marries the music really well in my ears.

Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 03:13 AM

Maroon, Calvin, Lane, Dave, Eddie, and Martin..

Thanks a million, folks. I so very much enjoyed working on this. Ricki's talents know no boundaries. This is one of the most down-to-earth soul searching lyrics I've ever been lucky enough to be associated with, and Jim's music led me to discover that a 'Bakersfield Baroque' sound would be an organic and natural one to persue on this song.

Maroon, welcome to JPF! It's great to have a new member who can talk music and theory like you can. I see you are a jazzer, among other influences. That's great--we are few, here, but I listen to lots of ECM label artists, hard-bop, free, and cosmic jazz (luvvvv Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane), though I grew up with fusion, and the music I write for libraries is highly influenced by modern classical and the jazz I love. BTW, that descending sixth thing was something I arrived at, realizing it was a bit different, but that it had the right amount of 'Outlaw Country' attitude in it. It's something a guy singing like Dwight Yoakam but feeling like Waylon Jennings might do..stressing a downbeat like that and then slurring two notes in the process..anyway, great to have you aboard and look forward to more of and from you. smile


Posted By: Gavin Sinclair

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 03:56 AM

It's all been said by those who posted before me, so I'll just say I like everything about this - lyrics, melody and production.
Posted By: Maroon_Corey

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 12:33 PM

Thanks for the insight, Ricki; good points. You are more than welcome. I'm sorry that I didn't realize you were the lyricist, but I'm glad that the performer was able to join the thread. The lyrics are poignant and strike me as relatable, yet also as a reflection that is less commonly expressed in song.

And rather than pair it with a minor key song, your composer has done something that would not be my first intuition, which is to pair it with an overall happier sound in a major key. This strategy has worked very well for some big songs. One that comes to mind is "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, even though it does go to minor in the chorus. The overall feel for both that song and yours is kind of "wistful" - somewhere in the middle. I would almost be interested to hear the lyrics paired with a minor key tune/ chord progression to see whether it just made the song unbearable or heightened the effect of the words. Just thinking out loud! Thanks again.
Posted By: Maroon_Corey

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 12:46 PM

Michael, thanks for the warm welcome. Neat to hear of your influences we have in common. I was lucky enough to hear the Sun Ra' "Arkestra" here at the annual Richmond Folk Festival a couple of years back, which Sanders sometimes associates with. I have good memories of listening to Sanders and Alice Coltrane on some Impulse label cuts that I revisit from time to time like "The Creator Has a Master Plan" and Alice's version of "A Love Supreme".

I see what you are saying about the descending sixth. Maybe it would grow on me with repetition! Sometimes I think a lot of stuff that we hear over and over become ingrained even though they may not seem intuitive at first. I never understood how the Landini Cadence was such a common device in Medieval music, but it must have sounded right to their ears. And I could definitely hear the descending 6th with a Yoakam yodel/ twang effect. Anyway, thanks for the insight.
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 09:13 PM

Thanks so much Martin.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 09:16 PM

Thanks for all your hard work, Mike and for fielding the music comment. Way over my pay grade. smile

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 09:17 PM

Thanks, Gavin and glad you liked it.

Posted By: Michael LeBlanc

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/27/17 09:39 PM

Some mighty fine smooth singing Mike.A great collab everybody!Mike
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/28/17 12:11 AM

Thanks for checking it out, Mike.
Posted By: PeteG

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/28/17 01:27 AM

Funny, I didn't hear country at all , I thought it sounded much more like Cat Stevens... So Ricki, I think I got more out of reading the lyric than hearing it sung. Both the lyric and music are excellent - and the questions you are asking are deep - so , I think that with the song form you're using which is A-A-B-A, the last line of the A section needs to be the hook, and the -maybe , maybe not -sentiment isn't doing it for me. There is emotion in the song, but it's being covered by the philosophy. I think you need to peel the layers and get to the heart. jmo - ....Pete
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/28/17 01:48 PM

Pete, thanks for listening and commenting, though I'm having trouble following. You like the "country" lyric but not the "Cat Stevens" music, although the music is excellent? So you just don't like them together and don't think there's prosody there?

You don't like the "maybe, maybe not" sentiment but the lyrics are excellent? How can those both be true? The lyrics convey the sentiment that while we may think we have a handle on life, we really don't know anything at all. So you like what I say but not how I say it? Or you don't like what I say but like how I say it?

If the emotion is covered by the philosophy then how do you know the emotion is there? Is it the philosophy itself you have a problem with?

And lastly, the hook of the song is "sometimes not" and the last line of the song is "sometimes not" I missing your point?

I appreciate anyone taking the time to listen and comment and offer constructive criticism because I believe it can make me a better writer but only if I can follow their meaning and I'm afraid without more explanation, your comments aren't really helping me. Help me understand you Pete.

Posted By: PeteG

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/28/17 09:30 PM

Ricki - I enjoy listening to the song - I both like Cat Stevens and and Michael's vocal and production of this song - it's beautiful and well done. I like your choices for the A sections, the cold bed, the stinging sun and the grip of age, are all well written. The between this and that choices are well thought out and thought provoking. The B section is great . So my nit ( and remember, it's just my opinion) is that the hook line is too cool. Your mind says one thing, but your feelings say another - so why not state the obvious emotion. That's all - ....Pete
Posted By: Moosesong

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/31/17 05:30 AM

I like it, it has a
hazy shade of winter
feet to it.

I really get the sometimes I know, sometimes not

having reached an age that i once thought would make me wise, I now find I question more things than ever.

Great song.
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/31/17 03:20 PM

Exactly! Thanks for listening and commenting, David.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/31/17 03:30 PM

I'm sorry for not responding sooner, Maroon. I thought you should know that the melody came first and I then wrote the lyrics to it. It had a melancholy feel to me that fed the lyrics swirling around in my head. It shouldn't really make any difference, that chicken and egg thing, so long as, in the end, they come together seamlessly, as I believe they do in this song.

Posted By: Maroon_Corey

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/31/17 04:56 PM

No apology or even response due, Ricki! Thanks for those details. That's interesting, and I don't know why I assumed that the lyrics came first. I suppose I assume that more lyricists start with a blank slate, musically, rather than being handed a melody, but that may be a misconception.

While I personally wouldn't characterize Mr. Zaneski's score as melancholy, every ear hears things different and the pairing with your lyrics has worked out well. If the music were slowed down, I could see some general similarity with a song in the vein of something like "You Were Always on My Mind" (Christopher/ James/ Carson), which has a somber feel even though it is in a major key.

Like you said, the main concern is that lyrics and music compliment each other.
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 10/31/17 05:46 PM

Not that I'm a pro or that I've even been doing this all that long, but since I started songwriting, I had always written both the lyrics and music for my songs. Then I started visiting JPF and there were several lyricists whose lyrics I fell in love with and so I wrote music for them. Then I met someone who primarily wrote music and needed someone who could write lyrics, and so began a short but fruitful co-writing relationship, which is where this song came from. Now I'm back to the solo thing. It takes longer to get a song out but there's something to be said for not having any other master to please.

This song had been a striped down g/v for several years before Mike breathed new life into it. It could be that Mike's version illuminates the "sometimes I know" part of the equation and the more stark version stresses the "sometimes not"? Either way, I feel lightening struck twice with this song and which one I prefer depends on my mood at that moment. smile

Nice talking to you.

Posted By: Scott Campbell

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/04/17 03:51 PM

Hey Ricki:

This sounds like a modern band with modern production techniques covered a Gordon Lightfoot song.

And Gordon Lightfoot is one of my favorite songwriters. smile

Nice job on the songwriting and kudos to Mike for his performance. It's still playing in my head.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/05/17 02:35 PM

Staying power is what it's all about! Thanks for listening and commenting, Scott. You've been missed.

Posted By: Paul Churchfield

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/06/17 01:00 PM

Nice collaboration. Sounds very tight and polished. I enjoyed it!
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/06/17 05:31 PM

Gavin, Mike L, Pete, Moosesong, Scott, and Paul..

Thanks, all. When a song this good is handed to me to produce and sing, I say to myself, "I have the best job in the world" cuz I get to at least attempt to make something sound as good in real life as I do in my head, in my imagination.

Scott, it's funny you mention Gordon Lightfoot, cuz as well as being a fan, I actually do an impression of him (this wasn't it, this was more Yoakam in the high notes), and recently started working on him covering Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" in the style and sound of "Sundown" and one of these days I'll finish it and post it. It really works, done like him. Thanks for the comparison. smile

Thanks all, Ricki and Jim are the best at what they do and that makes producing and performing--a labour of love.. smile

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/07/17 01:20 AM

Glad you enjoyed it, Paul. Thanks for listening.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/07/17 01:21 AM

Thanks again, Mike for all you do.

Posted By: Nelson

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/08/17 02:55 AM

Another stunner you 2.
Mike's ability to interpreted your soulful lyrics in such an expressive way is stunning.

I don't want to keep repeating myself about how well you 2 are together but I guess if you write as well as you do
and Mike being as masterful at what he does then I guess this is what you get.
It rivals anything you will hear... anywhere.

Hats off to you both on another brilliant collaboration
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/08/17 02:23 PM

Nelson! Good to hear from you and glad you liked this one. It's one of my very favorite co-writes with Jim and I'm really happy with Mike's interpretation of it. A real bonus for me! Thanks for listening.

Posted By: Deej56

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/09/17 06:10 AM

Ricki (and Mike),

While Iím visiting the board, gotta stop by and chime in on this one. Awesome sound and performanceówonderful hook. From a lyrics perspective, Iím wrestling with my tendency to embrace logic; and so part of me wants a clearer connection between the penultimate line of each verse and what precedes it. But itís darn, damn fine just as is. Really well done piece.


Posted By: MidniteBob

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/09/17 08:17 PM

Hey, Dudette & Dudes:-)

This song can also now be found on the Telethon Thread:-)

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/10/17 03:00 PM

Thanks for listening, Deej and sharing your thoughts.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/10/17 03:01 PM

Wow Midnite, thanks so much for that. I'm headed to that thread now. And thanks for listening.

Posted By: Vicarn

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/10/17 04:38 PM

Very nicely written and put together. Mike, your signature vocal sustains the interest throughout.

Posted By: Travis david

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/10/17 06:34 PM

Excellent Ricki & Mike. A great contemporary folky number
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/11/17 01:08 AM

Thanks for that, Vic.
Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/11/17 01:09 AM

Thanks for listening, Travis.
Posted By: Martin Lide

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/23/17 01:34 AM

This song is so pretty that it deserved a bump.

Posted By: TC Perkins

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/23/17 03:57 PM

Good write, good performance especially on the vocals, and nice production.

I am hearing quite a few influences here other than country. The fusion of these other elements works nicely, and lifts this tune to a higher level.

What is that instrument in the intro? It sounds kind of kazoo-ish for lack of a better term. It is REALLY cool, I love it - nice touch. The lead vocals really deliver, and the backing vocals are quite nice.

The only thing that was a bit disconcerting for me was the nearly constant hi hat on beats 2 and 4 that sounded slightly in front of the rest of the drum kit. I would have varied that in the mix (or used a different drum) between verses and choruses. It's a minor nit to be sure as the overall production is stellar.

Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/23/17 06:35 PM

Nelson, Deej, Midnite, Vic, Travis, and TC:

Thanks, guys. As I said, it makes my job easy with such great material. It amounts to me just getting out of its way and listening to what the song needs.

TC, I think I did two or three songs in a row where I made the hats get a variation on the main pattern in V2 and do make them slighly louder there indeed.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/25/17 02:11 AM

Thanks for the bump, Martin. Glad you liked it enough to listen twice.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/25/17 02:13 AM

Thanks for listening TC. I leave all the production questions to Mike. I have no idea what he does, just that I always love it when he's done.

Posted By: Ricki E. Bellos

Re: Sometimes Not - 11/25/17 02:14 AM

Thanks again, Mike, for your endless talent.

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