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Joined: Oct 2007
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Wendy D Offline OP
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It's been a long-time since I posted a tune over here but I thought I might put this one up for a small round of feedback. Then I will probably let the thread die.

My kid's dad lives in a different state and during holidays and summers, I often find myself driving to Memphis from Atlanta. I was driving there this last Friday and passed some fairly desperate looking folks pulling a Dutchman Camp Trailer. That image inspired a lyric, which inspired a song.

This is brand-new and still a bit rough. Just wanted to post-it to see if the story makes sense (singer is a young woman, riding with her dad. The dad pulls up stakes quite frequently for whatever reason. She is tired of this lifestyle).

https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13671884

We've been on the road so long, I don't remember
How many days of riding through December
Something pulls on daddy and it flips a switch
Then we put the old Dutchman on the hitch

(Daddy will never know how it feels
Growing up
In a house on wheels)

It ain't long before I start to show
It won't be long before daddy knows
I met a boy outside a laundromat
He had nice eyes and a Stetson Hat
It's another 80 miles to Jasper
And another hundred from there to Tupelo
Daddy will never find what he's after
I think it is time for me to go

(Daddy you'll never know how it feels
Growing up, in a house on wheels)

(Break)

When we stop tonight at the campground
I'm gonna pack my things and go
I'm gonna leave daddy at the Dutchman
And make my way back to Tupelo
If you find yourself in Alabama
And you meet a boy in a Stetson hat
Tell him he made a child with a woman
He met at a laundromat

(This child will never know
how it feels
This child will never know
how it feels
Growing up, in a house on wheels

Last edited by Wendy D; 12/26/17 12:11 PM.

http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
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Hello Wendy,


Well done.
I enjoyed the story and of course your sweet vocals.


Calvin


http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/calvinstewart

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Hi Wendy:

So glad I had the opportunity to listen. It's a sad and wistful story but so well told and Calvin is right... your vocal is sweet and clear. You write with authority and it comes across so well in the song. Not all song-writers are good story tellers... and not all songs need to tell a story... but I really enjoyed this one. Guess I've always been a sucker for a sad song. No knowing your musical objectives makes it difficult to give an objective critique... but this one is good enough to stand on it's own two legs.

After listening to a new song... (new to me)... I always wonder how I would have arranged it... or which artist I would want to record it. Happy New Year and best of luck with your music. ----Dave

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Wendy D Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Calvin
Hello Wendy,


Well done.
I enjoyed the story and of course your sweet vocals.


Calvin


http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/calvinstewart


Thank you sir. I am glad it makes sense. I guess that is my main objective thus far. Write a cohesive narrative about this young woman and her dad.

I would have liked to have redone the vocal. My damn dog kept barking during takes. I finally just had to settle with the dog free version.

Last edited by Wendy D; 12/27/17 08:50 AM.

http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,235
Wendy D Offline OP
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Dave,

Thanks so much for your thoughts. I am considering production/arrangement etc. for a better recording. It is important to me that the story works and there is some merger/mirroring between music and song subject. I guess that is the main objective.

We have a small acoustic band & I will be able to dress this up some. It would be nice to have cello or fiddle and bass, etc.

I realized when listening today that I panned the vox to one side. Gotta fix that for the listeners.

Last edited by Wendy D; 12/27/17 09:24 AM.

http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
Joined: Jul 2006
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Hi Wendy,

You have successfully gotten into this young woman's head and let her tell her story in a way that feels honest and real. You know I love stories about salt-of-the-earth types. Real people..sometimes downtrodden..and with a humanity few can see. You always see it, and bring it out, and make me cry a bit in the process..

She tells the story and it totally makes sense, and it's heart-rending, cuz its heart grows from the thoughts and actions of the young woman that any of us might feel in her situation growing up in a house on wheels. A unique and sadly beautiful example of realizing at a young age that there's more to life..out there...

Thanks for sharing this. Totally makes my day..

This song will be great live, giving you a chance to talk about it, like you do here, cuz you do it very well. Your spoken intros are in the great folk tradition of artists who elevated that like Townes Van Zandt and John Prine. We came to expect a little talk before most of their songs. Explaining in the spoken intro that the "Dutchman" in the song is a trailer might be helpful when a few folks get to the last line of the first verse and are confronted for a split second with the possibility that the family is pulling along an actual person. But a spoken intro is certainly not neccessary cuz she tells us everything we need to know for the story to make sense, and contextually we all know that the Dutchman is a "house on wheels" in the very next line...

Mike


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/27/17 02:36 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
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I love it when Wendy comes to visit! smile You always tell such great stories in your songs. They're different, maybe because they're the stories of the disenfanchised that don't usually appear in mainstream songs, which is probably why I like them and how you present them.

A small thing that you could make clearer...you say:

it's another 80 miles to Jasper
And another hundred from there to Tupelo

That makes it sound like that's where the singer and her dad are headed. But then why would she later say "make my way back to Tupelo" if that's where they're going anyway? Maybe:

We're 80 miles from Jasper
And another hundred from there to Tupelo

As if they're headed away from there. Is that what you mean? And if so, what was it about Tupelo that would make her want to go back there? Am I overthinking it? smile

The only other thing I noticed was this: "Tell him he made a child with a woman"...she's old enough to be having a baby but really, she seems so young, still just a girl?

If you do end up playing this out with your band, please get it on video and share it...I'd love to hear you live!. Miss you. smile

RIcki

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Hi Wendy,

Very nice vocal on this sad song. I enjoyed it very much. The only thing that left me wondering a bit is in the lyric I'm first believing the daughter is perhaps a young teenager but them learn she is carrying baby, suggesting she is older than I first thought - since she was riding with her dad, it also made me think she was younger.

But all that said, it's sad song but told in a sweet voice that rings gentle and understanding. Very nicely performed! Good luck with it.

David

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Wendy,

Very nice simple yet tragic story. I can hear a fiddle in this one, especially the solo. You do indeed have a sweet voice with a unique tone. A great song for a sparse musical accompaniment, yet also a subtle build with it would be cool as well. Good luck with it!

steady-eddie

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Wendy D Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
Hi Wendy,

You have successfully gotten into this young woman's head and let her tell her story in a way that feels honest and real. You know I love stories about salt-of-the-earth types. Real people..sometimes downtrodden..and with a humanity few can see. You always see it, and bring it out, and make me cry a bit in the process..

She tells the story and it totally makes sense, and it's heart-rending, cuz its heart grows from the thoughts and actions of the young woman that any of us might feel in her situation growing up in a house on wheels. A unique and sadly beautiful example of realizing at a young age that there's more to life..out there...

Thanks for sharing this. Totally makes my day..

This song will be great live, giving you a chance to talk about it, like you do here, cuz you do it very well. Your spoken intros are in the great folk tradition of artists who elevated that like Townes Van Zandt and John Prine. We came to expect a little talk before most of their songs. Explaining in the spoken intro that the "Dutchman" in the song is a trailer might be helpful when a few folks get to the last line of the first verse and are confronted for a split second with the possibility that the family is pulling along an actual person. But a spoken intro is certainly not neccessary cuz she tells us everything we need to know for the story to make sense, and contextually we all know that the Dutchman is a "house on wheels" in the very next line...

Mike



Howdy Mike,

Thanks so much for your thoughts. We have some shows coming up in January and I am being pressured (nudged) to do more of my solo, singer/songwriter stuff, so maybe this will have a chance to reach a few ears. I have decided to eliminate a verse and Don can improvise a decent break where I just hummed. I only added the humming so the break would not be as boring.

Anywhoo, thank you very much for listening and commenting.


http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,235
Wendy D Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Ricki E. Bellos
I love it when Wendy comes to visit! smile You always tell such great stories in your songs. They're different, maybe because they're the stories of the disenfanchised that don't usually appear in mainstream songs, which is probably why I like them and how you present them.

A small thing that you could make clearer...you say:

it's another 80 miles to Jasper
And another hundred from there to Tupelo

That makes it sound like that's where the singer and her dad are headed. But then why would she later say "make my way back to Tupelo" if that's where they're going anyway? Maybe:

We're 80 miles from Jasper
And another hundred from there to Tupelo

As if they're headed away from there. Is that what you mean? And if so, what was it about Tupelo that would make her want to go back there? Am I overthinking it? smile

The only other thing I noticed was this: "Tell him he made a child with a woman"...she's old enough to be having a baby but really, she seems so young, still just a girl?

If you do end up playing this out with your band, please get it on video and share it...I'd love to hear you live!. Miss you. smile

RIcki


Howdy Ricki,

Thanks for listening to this crap demo.

Re: your comment on the miles lines. Having written this while driving the route, I had the geography right there outside the car windows. I am cutting the verse about stopping at the campground anyway, but basically the idea is that they would drive well past Tupelo before stopping for the day and it would be the nearest town but she would have to get back there.

Also re: the age of the singer and language. That was purposeful to show a bit of a transition within the singer and how she sees herself. She has made a life changing decision. I don't see her as taking this lightly. So I chose the language on purpose.

Thanks again.


http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
Joined: Oct 2017
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Wendy,

Your song strikes me as a wistful ballad that speaks to family and life choices amidst the blight and struggle of the common rural American. I like the simplicity of the vocal and guitar. Even if you do choose to add some further instrumentation, it could have an Ingrid Michaelson type of vibe to it.

In the first line, you have the word "on" on the strong beat just before your offbeat downward strum. Consider putting the word "been" on the downbeat instead. This will create a more natural cadence to the lyrics. The same goes for "had" in "He had nice eyes and a Stetson Hat". And "had" doesn't have to come right on the first beat of the measure - it could come on the third beat. You might want to experiment in general with having some lines start after the downbeat for some added variety.

I'm not a big fan of lines where the melody pitch is repeated for every syllable such as with "Something pulls on daddy and it flips a switch" and "I met a boy outside a laundromat". Harold Arlen famously began "Come Rain or Come Shine" with 13 repeated pitches, but he added additional pitches to round out the end of the phrase. Consider adding some pitch movement to these lines.

Originally Posted by Wendy D
...I am cutting the verse about stopping at the campground anyway, but basically the idea is that they would drive well past Tupelo before stopping for the day and it would be the nearest town but she would have to get back there...


I don't think you need to cut the verse about stopping at the campground when she runs off. It really adds drama and context to the song, and allows you to wrap the song up focused on the new child. However, you could drop these two lines:

"It's another 80 miles to Jasper
And another hundred from there to Tupelo"

In their place, maybe give us just a bit more about the encounter with the young man. Otherwise, I kind of wonder if they made a scene in the laundromat or even spent the evening there, but maybe that is what you're going for.

Going to the A minor chord on the word "feels" was refreshing and felt right, drawing attention to the root concern in the song. I'd love to also hear an A minor chord on the word "wheels". Maybe wait until the start of the next verse to go to the C chord. Otherwise, "house on wheels" sounds too happy to me when it is both a symbol of what is wrong in this situation and the center of the problem. You could end the song with a C chord on the last "wheels" to give the song a sense of hope in the new mother and child.

Originally Posted by Michael Zaneski
...Explaining in the spoken intro that the "Dutchman" in the song is a trailer might be helpful when a few folks get to the last line of the first verse and are confronted for a split second with the possibility that the family is pulling along an actual person...


That gave me a grin!


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