Wy Oming

I live in beautiful Wyoming and am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the community here.

I have lived most of my life in metro cities where everything you need is right down the street. Here in Wyoming, you have to adhere to a lifestyle that gives you less options. The payout, however, is that your life is greatly simplified. And the perks… come on!!! Peace and quiet. Less stress. And the air you breath is actually more than the price of admission.

And besides the stunning views right from your own backyard, I think what’s really unbeatable is the lack of traffic. Having been a city slicker most of my life, I can’t emphasize enough how transforming that is to anyone who’s used to the daily hustle and bustle.

Anyway, what I really meant to write about is that being a musician and songwriter, I find myself writing about anything and everything but the beautiful state I belong to. One day, I just thought, I should write about Wyoming. Maybe from a point of view of someone who’s not a native but has come to love it enough to make it his home.

So here it is. My own take on the place I call home. Wy Oming. Hope you enjoy it.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re so inclined, help me collect some royalties. Follow me on Spotify and/or buy the song/album on iTunes. Thanks much!

Like Father Like Son

On May 26th, it will have been my dad’s 84th birthday.

Time. Wow! Time can be so merciless. I can still vividly remember him taking me to the barber. And I hated it every time! Perhaps, I’ve always wanted my hair long.

I realize how undeserving of God’s kindness I am. He’s been so good to me all my life. And I am complete today because of him.

Yet, if there was one regret I have in life, it would be that I failed to forge a meaningful relationship with my earthly father. A dreadful iniquity on my part. And the aftermath will no doubt continue to weigh on me for as long as I live.

This song I wrote is not so much a tribute as it is a confession. A longing. A moment in sackcloth and ashes, if you will. It was a difficult one to write, for sure.

I wish I could tell my dad, for both the first and last time, that I love him. Because I truly did! But it’s a bit too late now, isn’t it? I was given countless chances and I blew them all.

Indeed, time’s up.

(Don’t) Wait For Me

This week’s SES prompt was a bit easier than the last one. Heck, I even got done writing and producing the song in under seven hours. That’s a first for me. Moreover, I like this one a little better than the first song, Standing in the Rain. I think I’m getting better at this. Well, I hope so.

Here’s my offering. By the way, I had to go the opposite direction as the phrase “Wait For Me” reminds me too much of the old Hall & Oates song. Love the tune but didn’t want mine to sound like it. Anyhow, without further ado…

Don’t Wait For Me

Don’t wait for me
Ain’t coming back to you now
Don’t wait to see
Where this may lead us somehow
I don’t believe it’s wrong
I’ve just been waiting so long
I hang my head low
As I try to find myself again, so

Don’t wait for me
I’ve given all I’ve got
It’s just not in me
To try to be the man I’m not
Can’t we be fair
Seems like we’re going nowhere
Go ahead and keep the door shut
And keep the good ol’ memories, but

Don’t wait for me
Please let me be on my own
Oh can’t you see
Right now I just need to be alone
Nothing else to say
Well then, I’ll be on my way
Nothing else to do
But just one last thing to remind you

Don’t wait for me…

© 2008 Chris Alma Jose

Funny Rich Man

I seem to not have a reason to post this at all. The SES prompt for this week was a wee bit tricky for me. Believe me, I tried. But since I’m writing a song and not a story or a poem, it has to be presented in a recorded performance format. I think I got distracted by The Donald’s mugshot and couldn’t get the image out of my head. You really could do other things with the “Funny Rich Man” theme… it could even be a sad story, I think. But I was stuck with having to come up with something of a comedic nature. Something I’m not very good at. And when you attempt to write lyrics with a funny tone, it gets even harder when you have to put melody on top of it and sing it in a convincing manner. I just don’t have the stomach to go on with it without feeling silly or stupid. I couldn’t get away with it like Weird Al can.

So, here’s my incomplete offering. Just words. It’s suppose to be sung in a campy, novelty, over-the-top, rap rhyming style. Whatever that means. I’m sorry, I really just couldn’t pull it off. So again, for what it’s worth, here’s my chicken scratch…

Funny Rich Man

I got money, lots of money
I got humor and a Maserati
The top comes down, it’s cool, you dig
But I keep it up ’cause wind blows my……. papers

Now I’m boss ’round here, thought you should know
You don’t ask question, I run the show
Stick with me and you’ll go places
Do as I say and you’ll get your wishes

‘Cause I’m a funny rich man
That’s what I am
I’m a funny rich man
Rich and funny

You say you feel tired, it’s all in your head
We got work to do, take a break when you’re dead
‘Cause if you wanna work for my company
Better know our Mission… “It’s all about me Me ME!”

Now it ain’t so bad as you might think
We’re all laid back here (and I go wink wink wink)
They all like me here, and I like them folks
But when I try to act smart they better laugh at my jokes

‘Cause I’m a funny rich man
That’s what I am
I’m a funny rich man
Rich and funny

That’s right… Uhhh!!! Now, take it to the bridge!

© 2008 Chris Alma Jose

Oh, by the way, I wanted the music and groove to sound a bit like 70’s funk. With a James Brown feel (btw, the band didn’t take it to the bridge, and they all got fired in the end). Unfortunately, it ended up sounding more like David Bowie, I think. So, I had to stop. Here’s a sample clip. Please, don’t laugh!

Standing in the Rain

I’ve got two things going against me here.

First, I’m not a story writer. However, I’ve written a few songs in my day. Songwriting is much easier for me. You don’t have to go through extreme details to convey a vivid message. Couple stanzas and you’re done. Haven’t you heard the great Joey Ramone proverb… Second Verse, Same as the First…? How much more vivid can you be?

happy boy Second, it’s naturally difficult for me to focus on the negative (an artistic limitation, you might say). And Selma’s writing prompt for this week seems to have that depressing connotation. At least, that’s what you normally think when you hear the line… You left me standing in the rain… isn’t it? So then, the challenge is to approach it in a positive light. And I did.

Turns out, that was the easy part. You can say, there’s a third concern that may have cost me my “quiet boy” reputation in the neighborhood. You see, my tools required more than just pen and paper. It also commanded the stark presence of my loud instruments and not-so-confident voice to create the song. And when you live in a flat and all the people next door ever hear is oohs and aahs and thumping of the drums, there’s a chance they might pass you off as being a nutcase. Or, worse!

Anyhow, onto the song… I wish I still have my basement and can sing as loud as I can without fear of being intrusive. But alas, I have to resort to quieting my voice for the time being. This means I couldn’t be as emotive as I want to, lest I get glared at the next time I say hello to the Pleasantville residents.

Well, enough said… I say, hey ho, let’s go!

Standing In The Rain

Never thought I’d be alone
Never thought I’d make it on my own
In the pouring rain
And the years they passed me by
Seems the thunder of your voice have faded
In the pouring rain

Though you, you left me standing in the rain
You, you saw me through my bitter pain

When the clouds embrace the sky
And the lightning strikes inside my mind
I’ll make it through
And when I try to touch your face
Just to find some comfort and some safety
I know you’ll find me, guide me

Though you, you left me standing in the rain
You, you saw me through my bitter pain
You, you left me standing in the rain
You, you saw me strengthened by the pain

As the sun begins to shine
And the birds begin to sing their song
And the waves of the ocean calms
I run to you

© 2008 Chris Alma Jose

Are you ready to gruuumble?

If only we had meat to eat… but now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna.
~ Numbers 11:4-6

You can’t always have what you want. And you can’t have everything either. At least, not all at once.

Have you ever struggled with having to choose between what you want and what you need? How about forcibly getting what you need instead of what you actually want? Of course you have. You’re only human, after all. It is a battle we all face, constantly. And there is no way out of it, I’m afraid. We will always be in a tug-of-war against ourselves. Unless, of course, you opt to simply give in. Then, I rest my case.

But, that’s just my observation.

Me? I’m usually pretty good at being disciplined about making sound decisions for my own sake. Like, you know… given the state of my own personal economy, I would buy something suspiciously cheap, if I deem it able to serve the same purpose as one that costs way more. It doesn’t always work but I, at least, learn from the experience. I’ve never been enticed by brand names. Not that it should matter to anyone else. However, if a brand name is more cost-effective in the long run, then I would not skimp. You can relate, can’t you?

When I was younger and was a working musician, I remember starving myself, eating only ramen noodles everyday, just so I can save the money to be able to buy a two thousand dollar guitar. Yep, I was that crazy back then. And I would sacrifice that way again and again, every time I had a piece of gear I “needed” to purchase. After all, the tools of the trade are a must, right? And so, worth dying for.

However, there are times when I’m not too happy with what I’m given either. Because what I asked for was something different. Something of selfish nature, perhaps. But in the end, I was glad because it all worked out well in the long run, as it always does for me. It goes to show how much I know about what’s right and what’s wrong.

These past few days, I’ve been trying to find a new place to move in to in three weeks. It’s a battle in my mind because a lot of people think I should go ahead and buy a house now. And I’m thinking… hmmm, yes I could. I’m able to… so, why not? For a couple of days, I was really tempted. I could swing this and get it done with, already. But then, I thought… I still have debt to pay off and other financial obligations I need to tend to, at the moment. Sure, I could make it all fit into my budget, no problem. But I had to stop and think of a better scenario. The big picture. The future. Instead of just today.

Today. Yes, today, I need to chill. I need to sacrifice today so tomorrow will be rewarded. I now believe in this philosophy. Sacrificing today doesn’t necessarily mean depriving myself or halting my life. I think, contentment is key. If I am content with little now, who knows, I may be rewarded with a bit more, later. I have to trust in hope. If you don’t have hope, what else can you possibly have? The cake is already good. But a little icing would be nice too, right?

So yeah, what’s it gonna be? Want or need? It pays to choose wisely since we’re only allowed one choice at a time.

Meat or manna, people… it’s either one or the other.

Meat Or Manna

don’t even think about it, it’s not what you need
don’t fly away forever, just to come back down to bleed
i have only one thing to say
you don’t have to run away

i was hoping you’d wanna
wanna choose meat or manna
it’s either one or the other
meat or manna

if only life was easy, you can do what you please
you just hide behind the curtain and pretend no one sees
there is only one thing that matters
but all you want is everything that shatters

i was hoping you’d wanna
wanna choose meat or manna
it’s either one or the other
meat or manna

you feed on your wisdom as you sit at the table
and you wanna save the world
but does your mind think you’re able
i know what you’re after tonight
don’t question my answer cause it’s black and white

i was hoping you’d wanna
wanna choose meat or manna
it’s either one or the other
meat or manna

©2002 Chris Alma Jose

Anyone interested?

I have an interesting idea for this year. But I’m still working it out. And I need all the help I can get. Anyone interested? Well, read on.

Most of you probably know by now, that I’m a musician. If you didn’t know that yet, I’d like to let you in on a little secret… I’m a musician! Ta da!!! Shhhh… don’t tell anyone. 🙂

Since the year 2000, I have committed to engage myself in a musical project in which I write (by myself or with a collaborator), more or less, a dozen songs each year. I actually, write way more than that. But more on this later.

Now, the fun starts when I actually set aside a block of time to go into the studio (the basement, in my case) and practically live there for about three or four months, roughly, out of the year. The first order of things is to sort out whatever material I’ve got on hand. Usually, I end up having enough material for two or three CDs that I can work with. From the list, I pick my top songs to include in my current project. And, whatever I don’t end up using at this time, I’ll always reconsider later, for my next project.

Unfortunately, the past couple of years, I have been overwhelmed with personal problems that I started to experience writer’s block. Or, whatever it’s called. I completed my last CD in November of 2006. And, that was the end of it. After that, I had run out of songs and nothing was coming out of me since. Last year, I wrote about four songs, I think. And, they’re halfway recorded. Some have drum tracks on them, some have only guitars and rough vocal tracks. But I’ve been very lazy, I must admit. I just don’t have the same enthusiasm as I used to.

I feel that last year was a such a waste, if only because I broke my own streak. It was the first year since 2000 that I didn’t finish a musical project. I’m afraid that I am beginning to be a different person by not practicing music. It is, after all, what I claim to be the air I breath. It’s not a job. Not a career (anymore). Not a hobby. Not a chore. It is simply, the air I breath. I have to do this, somehow.

So, I thought about this today. How I could make it work this time around. I thought, maybe a collaboration will help me get a little excited about making music again. Maybe, if I wrote with someone else, it would inspire my creative juices to flow once again. I have been visiting some online music collaboration websites lately. But they’re a bit technical and geared towards serious musicians only. For some reasons, I thought it would be cool to collaborate with people who simply want to try their hands in songwriting for the first time. A simple storyline set in poetry in which one can imagine being married to a melody and/or groove.

songwriting palsNow, if you’ve read this far down, maybe I have somehow sparked an interest in you, already. I’d love to hear what you think, then. As far as my own vision goes… it’s a little too early to tell. I’m open to anything, really. But the simplest way I can imagine this idea taking off, is if I could get one partner for each song I write. Say, if you are willing to write a few lines of (factual or fictional) poetry, I can attempt to write a melody on top of it, if you haven’t already. Then, I’ll record it, and post updated versions of its recording here, on a regular basis. I’ll do this until we’re both satisfied, and the master recording has been completed.

I’d love to have as many collaborators as possible. Although, I can always collaborate on multiple songs with just one. Also, I can’t promise that things are going to work out with everybody, or every pitched in idea. Since I will be the one doing the majority of the work here, I will have to figure out what works and what doesn’t, for me.

But the most rewarding of all, is that at the end of the session, we will have completed a major CD project, with songwriting credits given to those who had participated. And everyone gets a copy of the songs’ mp3’s.

Sounds good? Let me know.

Oh, and if you want to get an idea of my songwriting style, and the kind of music I’m inclined to play… you can listen to them on this page.