The Song Material I Wish I Didn't Have

In the country music and folk world there is almost something cool about divorce. It seems to earn a musician membership into an elite organization of creative writers who paid the penalty for their craft as musicians. It’s so common one might think that choosing a career in roots music is making a choice to experience divorce and write songs about it. 

Some of these songs are heartbreaking (D-I-V-O-R-C-E by Tammy Wynette), some are comical and ridiculous (She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft by Jerry Reed). Regardless of the angle of a divorce song, I’m here to tell you that divorce is real, and it’s hard. It also, as in my case, has nothing to do with music. 

Mine began about six months ago and is still in its final process. It’s the main reason for my songwriting hiatus. 

One of my good songwriting friends, Aaron LaCombe, recently told me, “You’re about to have a whole lot of good songwriting material.” He said this in reference to my broken relationship inspirations. He may be right. Up to this point though, I have had no emotional energy to create. And the few times that a song idea crossed my mind, I either couldn’t handle thinking about the feelings enough to write them down, or the lyrics seemed inadequate to describe the pain inside of me. 

I’m not telling you this to try to earn some sympathy or make some excuse. More than anything I just want to be real. I want to be real as a writer and real as a friend. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody, and yet it happens to so many of us. 

I’ll also tell you that being a musician is not my top priority in life. There are certain things I wouldn’t lay on the altar in order to create music. There are plenty of colleagues in the industry who would disagree with me on this. But I’m here to tell you that my role as a father, friend, and husband outweigh my role as a musician. Now there is a caveat to this. I’m also learning that it is important to be authentic to myself, and to expect my relationships to love me for the man that I am, and for the things that I love to do. Too much self-sacrifice leads to buried resentment, and that can wreck a marriage as quickly as being out on the road playing shows, right? 

I’m not one to bear my soul to the world through inappropriate outlets. That’s one of the reasons why I shun most social media. However, I will say that I’m committed to a life of continuing to be a good father to my daughter, and the best man I can be to my ex. Why? Because that’s important to me being the man that I WANT to be. And if that means taking some time away from songwriting to process the pain and find my feet again, then I will accept this. I’m also committed to continuing to grow as a writer and developing the gift and skill of sharing my heart with you through my music. 

I did write one song early in this separation process that is very meaningful to me. I really had a difficult time singing it for anyone for several months because I didn’t have any prior experience being that vulnerable on the stage. But I want to get better at this. As a songwriter I’ve chosen a life of sharing my human experience through music, from the fun to the painful. 

This song will be around a while, and I expect will eventually make its way into the recorded world. But I’m going to share the lyrics with you here today.  It’s called “Might as well Fly”. 

Might as  Well Fly 

Look at you reaching and grabbing at any hold you can find 

Hoping that paper-thin ledge will bring you some peace of mind 

I wish I could tell you all the ways my love can save you now 

But my love pushed you over the ledge, yet you took it anyhow 

You’re probably wondering how much longer you’ll fall down into the dark 

Wondering how the bottom’s gonna feel when you finally hit your mark 

Let me tell you I know bottoms like a father knows his son 

So what I’ll do is pray to the father this will be your only one 

So raise your arms and close those teary eyes 

Say the prayer that you were saving till the day you planned to die 

There’s an empty space ready and waiting to hold you when you cry 

So if you’re gonna keep on falling, I guess you might as well…guess you might as well fly 

On the battlefield I fell weeping at the weight of the damage done 

How do I pick up the pieces when I’m holding the smoking gun 

Here among the dying a sparrow takes up to his wing 

In homage to the soon to be buried he offers now to sing 

So raise your arms and close those teary eyes 

Say the prayer that you were saving till the day you planned to die 

There’s an empty space ready and waiting to hold you when you cry 

So if you’re gonna keep on falling, I guess you might as well…guess you might as well fly

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