The Power of Song
A personalized song can express a message that will linger in the hearts and minds of others for eternity.
My Return To songwriting
When I started writing songs again after a long hiatus while raising my two children, I wrote songs for people in my life. It started with the song “Come Sit In My Chair” for my Dad, who is a barber. I wrote it because he was celebrating 50 years as a barber and it was his birthday. I played the song for him at the Tweedsmuir Hotel in Tweed as part of an Open Mic on his actual birthday. Oh wow, what an experience! He was so touched by the song that it brought him to tears and did so for a long time afterwards.
My mother’s birthday wasn’t far behind, so I wrote a song for her too called “Momma”. I performed it for her as well at the Tweedsmuir while the band playing that night were on a break. It was very nice of them to allow me to do this for my Mom. She too was blown away.
... it continues
That started a streak of writing songs for my family and friends for special occasions. “More Than A Sister” for my sister, “Virginia” for my daughter, “My Witness” for my parents and others celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary are just some of the personal songs I’ve written. The song “I Soldier On” was inspired by someone as well. I love people’s stories and love to write about them.
If you have someone special in your life, an event coming up, say a marriage proposal, a special birthday, an anniversary, you kicked cancer’s butt, and would like a song to commemorate it, I would love to be a part of it. Please contact me and I’ll give you more details.
A SONG FOR YOU
Come Sit In My Chair
My Dad has been the barber in Tweed for over 50 years. Not only was he the local barber in this small community, he was an active participant in the community. He started the Kinsmen Club, drove his ski-doo across the lake in the summertime to raise money for the community and helped many people that would sit in his barber chair. This song commemorates all of those things. Stories of how he cut people’s hair, then they would get married and have children of their own. He would cut their hair as well and then when they died, he took pride in doing their hair one last time. This song has a country feel because this man loves country music. A tribute to him and now part of the archives for the town of Tweed.
Come Sit In My Chair
My girlfriend Trudy was turning one of the big 0 numbers. She asked me to play a few songs at her birthday party. I secretly emailed my song checklist to a few of her family and friends. They sent me back their responses and this song was written with the messages and information provided within the checklists. I had my own memories of our time working together as well and was sure to include those. What a blast it was surprising her with this song and getting to perform it live for her at her birthday party in Ottawa. I later recorded it in the studio.
A SONG WITH YOU
I Soldier On
I Soldier On
Sometimes you hear someone’s story and the song comes on its’ own. Those songs, many call “gift” songs because it truly is as though, as a songwriter, you are simply holding the pen. By chance, I saw a TV interview with a Canadian soldier Sergeant Chris Downey. He was wounded in Afghanistan in May, 2010 after being hit by an IED buried in the ground. He suffered many wounds; burns, broken bones, aneurysms, the loss of his front teeth, some of his upper lip and his right eye. He could not walk, talk, or see. This man, with the help of an organization called Soldier On, has overcome his injuries. After seeing this story on the news in Nov 2013, I was so inspired by his courage and honesty to share what he had been through that I sat down and the words for this song fell out of th sky. I found Chris and he reviewed the song and we made only 3 small changes to the song. What an honour it has been to create a French version of the song “I Soldier On” entitled “Je Vis Sans Limites” and to raise funds and awareness for the Soldier On organization.
Je Vis Sans Limites
I Soldier On
Since writing this song, I was able to perform it live for Chris at a fundraising event and am honoured to continue to know him. He continues to inspire me and has trekked to the South Pole, completed the London Marathon, ran from Trenton to Ottawa as part of the Afghanistan Soldier On relay and summited Mount Kilimanjaro. He was re-instated in the military after 4 years of recovery and continues to serve our country. He is a true inspiration and one story of many soldiers who have served and continue to serve our country. To read more about this song and the story, click HERE.
Grandma's Praying Hands
Betty Atkinson is a poet, spoons player and writer. She attended one of my songwriting group meetings in 2015 and shared a short story she had written about a necklace that her grandmother had of praying hands. Her story was so touching that most of us were in tears. She asked me to turn this story into a song. We worked together on the challenge of turning a 2 page story into a 4 minute songs. What an honour to work with Betty on this touching song entitled “Grandma’s Praying Hands”.
Grandmas’s Praying Hands
A SONG WITH GROUPS
The “Lake Erie” song is an original song collaboration of Essex County writers inspired by Lake Erie. It was written as the second part of a year-end showcase for the Songwriter’s Association of Canada’a Regional Writer’s Group in Leamington, which I co-ordinate. I have had many people ask about learning to write a song so the second half of the evening was meant to be an exercise in writing a chorus or perhaps a verse. The group that remained consisted of 30 people and we wrote an entire song about Lake Erie. We got together and recorded the song with Ed Evereart at Stonehedge Productions in Kingsville. Ed was great to work with and he opened his studio up to all 13 of us in the choir on the second day of recording. Thanks to my Friends for bringing your talent to this creation and for helping create this wonderful experience and collaboration. For more information on the Lake Erie song, click HERE
Francine Honey, Denis Bastarache, Dale Butler, Justin Latam, John P. Moran, Jacqueline Cadarette, Bernadine Reeb, Michael Honey, Bonnie Reynolds, Alice Hesselrode, Robert Hubbard, Bakhus Saba, Bill Hutchinson, Audrian Hutchinson, Janet Hutchinson, Nick Tiessen, Philip Scott Poli,Glen MacNeil , Ursula Tiessen, Lorraine Maurice, Mariette Preyde, Cathy Coonan, Darlene Caille, Rick Latam, Travis Latam, Jessica Klassen, Michelle Taves, Dave Taves, Andrew Taves, Evan Davis
I had the pleasure of working with a class of grade four students in Leamington, ON., along with their teacher, Mrs. Reeb. This original song entitled “Hello World” was written about peace as part of a “Skype in the Classroom” project to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Mrs. Reeb wanted to focus the song on goal 1 – “No Poverty” and goal 16 – “Peace…”
“Hello World” is written with the students in Mrs. Reeb’s Grade 4 class at St. Louis School, Leamington, ON Canada.
What a privilege to work with the students who expressed their heartfelt hopes for bringing peace to the world. This song was written in 80 minutes. These words are their message to you.
This video was recorded a week later in the same time period on Feb 23, 2018. Each person had a role to play and some students are working behind the scenes. All played an important role.
Written by Mrs. Reeb’s Grade 4 Class and Francine Honey
Filmed at St. Louis School, Leamington, ON
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