Letting Go

When I drove my eldest daughter to take an entry exam at a local High School, this happened. When we got there, I asked if she’d like me to escort her, but she cheerfully said “no” and she got out of the car and skipped away across the field. I immediately felt a pang and I have recognized this pang is universal (I felt it again when my other daughter got married)

All children are meant to fly on their own and even though we become less “necessary” and we feel we have become “less important”, we are always there to support and the love continues and thrives.

This child, these hopes, these dreams, these aspirations
How could she know? How could she know?

My bursting heart is filled with Trepidation
I'll let her go Although I 
know her heart will break
And with each mistake
I won't be there to catch her
Or there to watch her

She's so naive she still believes
In happy endings
And when she finds
Life's lined with mines

Her heart so torn
Will bleed and need Some mending
She will be fine
The sun will shine

Her story will turn out
Without pretending
She will be fine 
The sun will
Keep on shining through
All because she knew
I would be there to catch her
And there to watch her

I will be there to catch her
And there to watch her

Silent Song

My niece did a walking pilgrimage across Spain and afterwards went to a Monastic retreat. When she told me of these wonderful experiences I was filled with envy for the silent retreat away from the world. At the time I was in the thick of my teaching career and incessant noise was weighing heavily on me.

I had recorded a demo of it after I first wrote the song, but I was never totally satisfied with the result, so when I was recording my solo acoustic album I re-recorded it using my Greenfield guitar.

If there was a place that I could go to
And be silent all day long
I’d try and put that silence in a song
And when I drop my heavy load
at the end of my weary road
After climbing a hill so steep
You know I’d sing, I’d sing myself to sleep

And when I’m asleep Nothing can harm me
Cause I’m dreaming all night long
When I awake I’ll try and catch that dreaming
In a song And I will sing
You know I’ll sing it all day long

There is a place that I can go to
in my heart all day long
my heart beats in the world of song
it won’t be long til your heart beats to my song
it won’t be long til your heart beats to my song

How Can This Be?

A friend of mine relayed the story of her elderly mum’s death to me. My friend’s Mother was given a break for the weekend from looking after her husband who was quite “labour intensive” due to his advanced Alzheimer’s. When the husband was returned to their apartment, his spouse was gone. She had died over the weekend.

Many of the lyrics in my song are actually transcriptions of his words in his bewilderment. Picture a child’s perspective of trying to understand loss and at the same time the life partner’s shock at having lost.

“Someone always leaves first” is an expression my wife uses often. Although inevitable, it is always a shock.

How can this be?
how can you do this to me?
What am I going to do without you?
How cruel and unkind 
To be left behind
I wanted to go with you!

I've looked for you nearly everywhere
You're not in your room, or your favourite chair
There isn't a note, 
how can you be so remote
When you know I've devoted
The best of my years to you

How can this be?...

You're nowhere to be found
And I don't understand
How you could leave me behind
You were here yesterday
But you aren't here today
I'm going out of my mind

How can this be?...

I want to hear your voice
I want to be given a choice
I loved everything about you
You left me here, stranded
I've come up empty-handed
I can't go on without you

How can this be?

Grey Day

I was fortunate that when my father died, I had the freedom and space to mourn his passing. I am a strong believer in feeling one’s feelings, expressing one’s emotions and being real.

The last month has been rife with preparations for yesterday’s funeral for my father-in-law. I watched as Sharon prepared: 1. transport from palliative care to funeral home. 2. Arrangements with funeral home. 3. dealing with the liquidator. 4. choosing the design for a commemorative bookmark. 5. Choosing the music for several different parts of the funeral. 6. Digitizing photos and creating a photo montage for the visitation. 7. dealing with the caterer. 8. Dealing with her mum. I am exhausted just writing about it, but you get the idea. The mourning has come in waves for Sharon. The lull between duties. Maybe a photo triggers a fond memory, a saved phone message. Much of the mourning came as death approached nearer and nearer.

My song is a creation culled from many memories, not just my own father’s funeral and burial. The first funeral I ever saw was JFK on a black and white TV. It was grey and cold in late November 1963. Then, 4 grandparents and so on. It seems as we age, there are more funerals now than ever before. Not just relatives, but friends, siblings leaving too soon as well. The heroes I had as a younger man are dropping. Jazz musicians, songwriters, sports heroes. We are all hurtling towards death anyways, so I make the most out of living each day to the fullest.

In “Grey Day” I tried to evoke the loneliness of mourning and the restorative power of crying and the need for fellowship to heal and continue. Not a day goes by where I don’t have reminders of my father. I miss him, but no longer to the point of tears. Music helped.

Blue…makes me think of you…anew…
grey… day…grey car took you far away

Colours fade if you let them
So wet them, so let them
Feelings fade if you wet them,
So wet them, and let them

Rain… lets me feel the pain…again…
Get… wet…grey day won’t let me forget

Problems leave if you let them,
Don’t fret them, forget them
Friends return if you feed them,
So feed them, you need them

Hurt… grovel in the dirt…alert!…
low… blow…know there is nowhere to go

© 2004 I.G.H.

Don’t Tell Me I Can’t

Dreamers and creative people who dwell in a world of fantasy and possibility are at odds with the “bean counters” and “suits” of the world. There seems to be a lot of thoughtless energy out in the world designed to quash this liberty of the artist.

My mother, when I told her my ambition of writing and performing music said “Oh, They’re a dime a dozen!” I loved my mom, but what an ignorant thing to say (and believe). There is not a day that goes by where I don’t hear those words in my head and I have to remind myself that creating music is not a “commodity”, it is an art. It would be lovely to have thousands that hear my songs, but it is not necessary for a song to be successful. A successful song is one that is finished and that satisfies me. The rest is just fluff.

I want to be a stardust collector 
I want to catch rainbows
I want to be a moon reflector
the scent of flowers in my nose
II: don't tell me I can't ,don’t tell me i can’t
don’t tell me I can’t
don't tell me that it's (1)too late :II

I want to ride on a Unicorn, I want to swim up waterfalls
I want to sleep inside a Stradivarius 
and vibrate in the best concert halls

I want to fly with a dragon by my side
I want to live inside an old oak tree
I want a world where tears are jewels
where nobody frowns and everything is free

I want to stay awake and never get tired
I want to live in my richest dream
I only want to drink the finest wine
and feast at the table of the king

I want to live in Shangri La, Lothlorien or Brigadoon
I want to live on the bottom of the sea
and take vacations on the moon

One Son Flew

This song came about after a conversation I had with a good friend. We were talking about her husband who is a confident and trustworthy and successful human being, and her brother-in-law who is almost the exact opposite. It turns out that most of us know of family situations that resemble this or are perhaps part of one themselves.

The sons in this song could very easily have been daughters. I was thinking of many of the people in my life experience where one sibling follows a steady path and another flounders. Nature/nurture argument doesn’t apply. I know a set of twins where one twin is a successful psychologist and her twin occupies the fringes of society and has trouble staying out of jail and/or being sober. They both had the same genes and the same parenting….the same opportunities, the same privilege.

one son flew.....  one son fell 
one son knew.....    the other …not so well

Both were loved    both were fledged
both free range birds both led to the edge

one son flew...

one flew straight away.      he returns when he can
building his own nest        was always part of the plan

One son flew...

one worries in circles.        he never really left 
afraid of the ledge              afraid of the test

One son flew...

afraid of the ledge.                but longing to be free
clinging to the branches.     of a disappearing tree

one son flew ...

in order to soar.        you need to trust your wings
It’s never really too late     to try on different things

The coddling can’t continue you’re really on your own
waiting for the words..... “This bird has flown”


The Lorelei legend is about a rock on the river Rhine that is sometimes mistaken for a beautiful maiden.
My Lorelei is about a beautiful maiden who masquerades as a rock.

You were recklessly abandoned
So you floated to love
You chose a mate at random
And you gloated above
You lived your life in tandem
Until you’d had enough
And then with reckless abandon
You let push come to shove
Stick your chin out – hang tough

Lorelei Lora Lorelei, Don’t let them see you cry, Lorelei

Sticks and stones can’t hurt you
Through your rough tough had enough skin
And people can’t desert you
If you never let them in
And if you never buy a ticket
It’s for sure you’ll never win
If there’s a problem you can lick it
Or just take it on the chin
That’s the ticket – that’s the spin

Lorelei Lora Lorelei Don’t let them see you cry, Lorelei

But I see you in the forest
Looking slight beneath the trees
I hear you sing another chorus
Lilting lightly on the breeze
And I sense your skin is porous
When I see you on your knees
But then you tense and you ignore this
And return to your deep freeze
Another day – you didn’t seize

Lorelei Lora Lorelei I love to see you cry, Lorelei

Caught In The Doldrums

I wrote and recorded this shortly after reading “The Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel. There were many aspects of my life that were out of whack. I felt stuck…no goals to reach, no safe place to land…no going back… ennui.

The sax solo is by local legend Dave Turner.

Caught In The Doldrums

I need just a little breeze
To fill my sail
Just a little breath of wind 
to lift your veil 
just a little breeze
to give me a nudge
I need a little breeze 
Or I can’t budge
Caught in the doldrums

Caught in the doldrums
Drifting aimlessly
Caught in the doldrums
Nothing on an endless sea
Caught in the doldrums
It’s all the same
There’s nothing new

I’ve been bobbing on the tide
Such a useless endless ride
I got nothing left to try
And no tears left to cry
Caught in the doldrums
Caught in the doldrums

I’ve been sitting, waiting for
Something to occur, but
Time is hesitating and 
Nothing wants to stir
Caught in the doldrums
Caught in the doldrums

Caught in the doldrums
Drifting aimlessly
Caught in the doldrums
Nothing on an endless sea
Caught in the doldrums
It’s all the same
There’s nothing new

Don’t know where I ought to be 
But I know it’s not at sea
Don’t know what I ought to do 
Everything I see is blue
Caught in the doldrums
Caught in the doldrums
(repeat A and B )

©2008 IGH

Come Into The Light

Darkness and shadow can be overwhelming. A friend showed me an experiment. He asked me to cup my hands so as to have a small pocket of darkness. He then asked me how much my pocket of darkness affected the room. Then He turned out the light and struck a match…  
This song chronicles the crooked path I had to take from trying to salvage something that had changed forever to forgiveness of myself and my first wife. I had just watched The Buona Vista Social Club and my setting for this song kind of reflects that. I particularly loved "Chan Chan".

I used to see the sky 
Reflected in your eyes
The stars, the clouds, The fireworks
Revealed your soul

But now they don’t look back
Except when they attack
There’s an overwhelming lack
And a gaping hole

The days are getting shorter 
and the dark drags on forever 
and the sleepless nights 
so heartlessly provoke

now that shadow rules the day
the truth gets in the way
and the fading light’s 
obscured by smudge and smoke

If we could find a balance 
Between our torments and our talents,
Change our habits and create an equinox
We need something to remind us
Of another place to find us 
Than between the proverbial 
Hard place and the rocks

Come into the light 
Keep it in your sight
Let the stars above 
Illuminate your soul

Forget about your ghosts
‘cause life’s too short to host
resentments, hatred
will never make you whole 

I Couldn’t Get Across

In August 2007 a bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. In September I was driving to work which included a few kilometers on highway 25. One of the overpasses had been dismantled and they were building another one. I got to thinking about “what ifs” and imagined a young couple “hot to trot” that each lived on opposite sides of a river. I imagined someone in Lachine in love with someone in Kahnawake on opposite sides of a river that freezes in winter (The St.Lawrence)

Reading the lyrics just now, I am struck by how much this lyric resembles a Roadrunner cartoon plot. Only thing missing is a delivery from ACME.

I took it to the bridge, but the bridge was gone
I couldn’t get back to my baby
The river’s very wide, couldn’t see the other side
So i had to decide what would the way be
(I said)
Why’s she gotta be so far away
How come I can’t get to her today
I just want her to come out and play
But today it’s here I gotta stay

I took it to the bridge but the bridge was down
I couldn’t get around to my baby
I’d have to dive right in, had to be sink or swim
I might have to drown for my baby
(I said)
Why’s she gotta be so far away
How come I can’t get to her today
I just want her to come out and play
But today it’s here I gotta stay

I went to the bank to see if I could ford
But I just can’t afford to see my baby
The bank was very steep and the water, way too deep
And baby, baby it was way too wavy
(I said)
Why’s she gotta be so far away
How come I can’t get to her today
I just want her to come out and play
But today it’s here I gotta stay

I went to find a boat but it wouldn’t stay afloat
I couldn’t get across to my baby
The water’s way too cold, it’ll freeze soon I was told
You can walk across and take it to my baby
But I had no winter clothes, and in trying, froze my toes
Now how am I supposed to find my baby
(I say)
Why’s she got to be so far away
How come I can’t get to her today
I just want her to come out and play
But today it’s here I gotta stay