For a while I’ve been playing with an acoustic meetup group in Larchmont.  I bring my guitar, but generally play electric bass. The format: each participant brings copies of a song, passes them around, and away we go. Often, the first run-through is pretty ragged so we do it again. Then it can sound quite good. I find a bass-line, most of the guitars get the rhythm, and the rest put in nice fills. It’s something you can do with acoustics but more than a couple of electrics is really hard to pull-off. Neil Young, Stones, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell. That kind of thing. A broad range of ages. Ten or more guitars and the bass. Last night, I brought in Jackson Browne’s “Late for the Sky”. In college Browne and Springsteen were the pillars of my musical tastes (and when Browne was inducted into the hall-of-fame it was Springsteen who introduced him).

After everyone finishes after an hour-and-a-half or so, there’s a “performance” segment. When I was last there, I wasn’t willing to try one of my own songs. I thought of Julie doing her stuff on stage but wimped out. You see, doing so means I have to sing, and I’m not confident in that.

This time I was determined. So I went through my stuff and came out with my sappiest one, “Awake”. It’s a simple song and not too long, which is why I picked it. I wrote it after awakening from an involuntary nap on a Saturday afternoon. When Guy asked “does anyone want to perform?” I said I did.

It’s a slowish piece, although it picks up towards the end with a key change. (Nothing fancy, from C to G.) It starts with a simple finger-picking (I don’t use a pick) of the melody into an Am, G, F, Em, F, G line. The playing didn’t go as well as I hoped. There are folks at the meetup who really can play the guitar. I’m not one of them.

Fortunately, the song turns into basic chords, so that was when I felt more comfortable. C, F, C, F, C, G. I soldiered on, emotions mixed between enjoying the fact that I was doing it and hoping it would just be over. To me the performance is not the performance per se but the chance to perform my music and my lyrics. People did say nice things about the song, which I like to think were heart-felt.

AWAKE

C
Did I fall asleep?
F C
Did you wake me up?
F C G
Did you tell me you love me?
C
Or am I dreaming still
F C
Am I all alone?
F C G
Far From where I should be
G Am G F Em F G
I’ve known what it’s like to be lonely
G Am G F Em F G
I’ve known what it’s like to be loved
C
When I am by your side
F C
With feelings no dream can hide
F C F C
Will you tell me you love me?

On many mornings
On many evenings
I reach to be sure you’re there
And when I can
Hear you breathing
I know I’m safe in the bed we share
I’ve known what it’s like to be lonely
I’ve known what it’s like to be loved
So when it’s true
That I’m next to you
I can sleep because you’re there.

G
With you I’m no longer the dreamer
C Em Am
Who fears waking up every day
Dm G
Who finds things so much cleaner
Em D D7
Without reality to get in the way

G
When I fall asleep
C G
Please wake me up
C G C D
And tell me you love me
For no matter what the dream
I’ll be all alone
If you’re not next to me
D Em D C Bm C D
I’ve known what it’s like to be lonely
I’ve known what it’s like to be loved
I’d rather stay awake
With your love to take
And know you are next to me
G b ccc d e f e c def ec e d

Not me:

This is me, recorded at home. 2013_07_20 Awake Electric

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