(originally posted as a blog on my myspace page
Listen or download the song here (mp3) Note: I had a problem with the recording volume so you will probably need to adjust your speakers to hear this...it's very quiet.
Why there’s a “Will”
I wrote the lyrics to this song quite some time ago as part of the Taking the Fall screenplay’s soundtrack. Upon initially penning them, however, I didn’t necessarily plan to ever put music to any of these particular songs myself, as I felt (and continue to feel, at least to some degree) that this should be the domain of the as yet undetermined actor/musician who eventually comes to fill the role of the fictional character to whom the songs “belong”, Joshua Gray.
Then again, was it possibly just laziness, or the same lack of courage described in my blog “disclaimer” regarding “How ‘How We Become’ Became” that rather led me to this “easy way out” of the actual work required to create the finished songs…and thereby avoiding the ever present threat of rejection all artists fear when subjecting some aspect of themselves to the public eye for critical review?
Honestly, I’m not sure I have the answer to all that…though, having completed one of these songs at last – yes, indeed, indicating others are likely to follow – it’s arguable the point is now moot anyway. However, a separate aspect of my recorded body of work to date which remains interesting to ponder is why exactly I’ve chosen musical styles for my first two songs that are not only quite divergent from each other, but also vastly different from any genre in which I would be most likely to regularly listen to work by other artists.
And, while the simple truth is merely that the music I’ve set down is that which “came to me” in each instance, I can at least offer a bit of additional understanding why this has proved so in the latter case. And it is therefore this bit of insight I’d like to share here with anyone who listens to the song, and subsequently reads this blog I see as a very important companion piece to it.
That lengthy introduction over, let me explain “Will” itself by first noting that it is intended to be very different in style and tone from the other songs on the aforementioned soundtrack…in that it was written as something of a surprise for Joshua Gray’s girlfriend in the film, to whom (in the intent of following the established advice of writing about what you know) I lent many aspects of my own familial background – including a greatly beloved grandfather whose many and varied talents included his own musical career (primarily in the country/western world – during the post-Depression era he played live on an eastern PA radio station every Saturday for 7 years), and a lifelong interest in auto mechanics and antique car restoration.
Armed with this knowledge, it quickly becomes obvious why the melody and lyrics prove appropriate for that particular aspect of Josh’s intent. Beyond that, however, the title and theme also bespeak human choice in determining one’s destiny (i.e. “free will”), while the lyrics likewise represent the spiritual aspect of such choices in that the character described can also be interpreted as a metaphor for Christ, and God’s Divine powers of healing, love, patience, etc.
Ultimately, then, this very simple song (recorded on a “simple” computer program I won’t tell you how many hours I fought with to bring it about!), like all honestly created and presented art, can be viewed as so much more complex that it might at first blush seem. Be that as it may, delivered in the “halting tongue” (and guitar work) of its creator, I will once more leave it to the eyes and ears of the beholder to decipher whether it’s a bit of scrap worth salvaging – or rather, indeed, a mere hopeless pile of “tin”!
Of course, that said, I’m sure it’s a piece the composite “Will” character it introduces would be pleased with, and one that would undoubtedly make my adoring grandpa proud. And since, in my book, to touch even just one person with a bit of art makes its creator a great success, I am already thrilled at the certainty I’ve attained that goal twice over.
Oh, by the way…as for my adoring – and adored – grandpa…that’s a publicity photo from his radio days displayed beside the song. Needless to say, it’s a picture and a person of whom I “will” forever remain very proud indeed.
(And, again, here are the lyrics if you haven't already read these elsewhere.)
Had a friend in high school, Will;
He’d fix old beat up cars.
His eyes glazed with the promise he saw
Underneath their scars.
I thought Will was nuts
Wasting time on all that crap.
I saw broken headlights
And a dented pile of scrap.
He’d just laugh at me
Like I’d missed some inside joke.
But my eyes glazed with boredom
As in reverent tones he spoke.
He said each car told a story;
It was like a broken heart.
With a little time and patience,
There weren’t many Will couldn’t start.
Never thought about Will
All that much after high school.
Suppose he bought a body shop;
I hope his life is cool.
At eighteen he was smarter
Than I’ll be at eighty-three.
He looked past all that was
And saw all that could be.
It took a lot of years and tears for me to
learn that trick.
Don't know how Will hung with anybody quite
I hope now he’d laugh with me, glad I
finally got the joke.
So much beauty and perfection in what
others see as broke.
I don’t want a new car;
Give me one with lots of miles.
One that’s been banged up enough
To even make Will smile.
Because me -- I’m an old truck
That was once falling apart.
But with a little love and patience
Even I made a new start.
We’ve all got a story,
And most tell of broken hearts.
But with patience like Will had,
Love can give us all new starts.
Where there is a Will -- well,
There really is a way.
And if you won’t believe it now...
Hope you meet Will someday.