Tag Archives: lyrics

Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker

Who’s Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker? After this blog post you’ll be asking the greater question. Why have I never heard of him? If you’re ahead of the game and know all about Baker, then you’re either really into history, Indiana, or motorcycles.

I got my first taste of Baker from an IndyStar article published a couple weeks ago. I was blown away my this man, and even more so that he slipped under my radar for so long. Here are some facts I found interesting about Baker.

  • He lived in Garfield Park just a stone’s throw away from where I used to live when I first got married, and since moving, now only about a mile and a half away.
  • He won the first motorized race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909, which was a 10-mile motorcycle race. Side note: the first race ever at the IMS was a balloon race.
  • He also raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1922 and finished 11th.
  • He made more than 143 attempts at a variety of timed, long-distance records. One of his most noteworthy transcontinental rides was in 1914 when he rode from San Diego to New York City in 11 days, 12 hours, and 10 minutes.
  • He rode and drove roughly 5.5 million miles from 1908 to 1933.
  • He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

These are just a few facts that sparked my attention. It just so happens that we are in the midst of the 103rd anniversary of his record-setting 1914 ride. He began on May 3, 1914 (today is May 4) and finished May 14, 1914.

I found a website that has Baker’s journal notes from his 1914 trip. It was such a wondrous story, I had to write a song about it. I just finished it today, so I thought I would  share the lyrics with you. I typically don’t like to share the lyrics right after finishing a song, but it seemed fitting.

Verse 1:
Headed East from San Diego
to the City of New York.
For a record-setting ride,
I filled my canteen to the cork.
The sand pushed me to the limit
as I pushed my two-speed horse.
With only a few paved miles laid out,
I would have to set the course.

Verse 2:
Spent the morning in the desert
at triple-digit degrees.
By the time I called it quits,
I rode a mile above the sea.
I worked my way toward the valley
full of bleached-white cattle bones.
Would this machine keep me alive,
or would it become my tombstone?

Verse 3:
Took all day to cross the river
that was swollen on all sides.
I looked for a shallow answer,
but learned the depth of my pride.
I had thousands of miles ahead
with no easy route in sight.
I worried about tomorrow
before I made it to tonight.

Verse 4:
Tried to not let the storm catch me,
so I mounted my machine.
With no time to stop for breakfast,
the thought of mud was my caffeine.
I rode atop the railroad ties
to escape the tough terrain.
“Clear the road: I am a-coming”
was the native-spread refrain.

Verse 5:
Made up my mind I would not stop
till I touched the city streets.
As my journey came to a close,
it all felt so bittersweet.
I came in strong though late at night
upon my seven-horse steed.
Little did I know that I’d be called
the pioneer of speed.

 

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Avenoo Blues – Song 2

My second song is about Indiana Avenue, and the music

scene during the early to mid 1900s. Blues was one of

the popular genres during the Avenue’s heydays. The

song is written from the perspective of someone who

knew the saloons, bars, and juke joints during its golden

years, which is why they are singing the blues. They miss

the greatness that once was. I also did my darnedest to make

it sound as if it was recorded during that time period. Give it

a listen here.

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Song 5 and 6 “Boss Angeles” and “LAX

I figured I would combine the last two songs

into one blog post just to keep it brief. I won’t

say much about “Boss Angeles.” It’s similar

to “City of Angels” but slightly different. “City

of Angles” is meant to be ironic, and “Boss Angeles”

is meant to be satirical. That’s all I’ll say about it.

Go ahead and listen to the songs, and you’ll see what

I mean.

 

“LAX” is the most uplifting, happy, and resolved song

on the EP. Every other song is full of questions, doubt,

darkness, uncertainty, and ends on an unresolved note

musically. This song has no questions or uncertainty,

just a sense of longing and waiting. But it’s not the kind

of waiting that causes doubt, uncertainty, strife, and

uneasiness. Like when you go to the doctor to have major

tests done, and you’re anxiously waiting for the results

for the results. It’s a waiting filled with trust, certainty,

rest, and patience. Like when you’re sick and tired of winter

and you long for spring. You know spring will come, the

snow will melt, the sun will come out, and the temperature

will rise.

 

This is the kind of longing found in this song. It’s the

resolution we’ve been waiting for the whole EP. The

peace we’ve been seeking for the previous five tracks.

Just as the first five songs long to be resolved and the

tension dismissed by the sixth, so to do our souls long

to be resolved, the tension dismissed, and wholeness

ushered in.

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Song 1 – “Lost Angeles”

The first track on the EP is titled “Lost Angeles.” It acts as

an intro, and helps set the stage a bit. Since this EP is meant

to be a cohesive project and to stream together, it seemed fitting

to give an introduction. If you come into this EP not knowing the

first track is an introduction, you might think I’m a shut-in without

electricity, because the first line is, “Los Angeles, where are you?”

The next line is similar to the first, and these lines appear a bit

code-like. As the song continues the key is given to crack the code

of the first two lines, and ultimately the rest of the EP. You’ll see

what I’m saying once you listen. It’s still a bit mysterious for everyone

else at this point.

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#Wordpainting

On January 1st, I posted about something new I was

going to try in 2015, which I titled “word painting.”

In the past, I primarily used journals to house my ideas,

chord progressions, lyrics, and sketches, but I thought

it would be fun to spice things up a bit. I found a brand

of paint swatches that were about the same size as the

pages in my journal.

Down the road, I would like to find a way to display

these in more of an artistic fashion. If anyone has an

idea, I would love to know.

#wordpainting

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Trying Something New

I released my debut album “Blinds” three days ago.

I’m really excited for people to hear, listen to, think about,

reflect on, engage in, connect with, and enjoy these songs.

Some of these songs I wrote over a year ago, and they still

have great meaning to me. Others I’ve only had for 7 months

and they’re still growing on me.

 

Most people write music that will grab their listeners within

seconds or less than a minute. I write music in which the listener

needs to listen to the whole song, and really the whole album together.

 

I like to create stories, some based on truth; some fictional. I write songs

that appear simple, but spend some time with them and hopefully the

beauty will blossom. Some songs are more about the visual picture

being created with words and less about the story. Other times, I’m

not specifically talking about what the lyrics are talking about. There

may be a larger theme at play, or the subject of the song is just the

mouthpiece for a bigger subject.

I understand this is hard to do. It’s not easy to find time out of our

busy schedules, let alone find time to spend with a new artist or new

music. This is something I’m trying to learn for myself. Would you

join me in the struggle of getting out of our comfort zones and trying

new things, new music, new artists, and just plain new?

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“LA” EP Part 2

Nowadays I feel like what I write about

has nothing to do with what the song

is actually about. I write about something

specific, but it’s not about that specific thing.

It is, but it goes beyond that.

I think my lyrics would be boring if it didn’t.

They should cause people to think, interact,

and go beyond the obvious. People don’t

like to do that these days, and I’m included.

Yes this EP is about LA but it’s also not about LA

at all.

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Lyrics – “War in the Sky”

I thought I’d post the lyrics to “War in the Sky” just in case you’re like me and get curious from time-to-time.

 

A clear night for a war in the sky;

lying in wait for shots to fly.

Magazines of stars in every gun;

a civil war that’ll never be won.

A civil war that’ll never be won.

 

The land below provides a soundtrack

to the film above in white and black.

Rustling of trees; breaking of waves

are the limbs of men who fought and gave.

Are the limbs of men who fought and gave.

 

The clouds form from the bonfire wood,

and the fog looms where men once stood.

The outer space and the countryside

seem to be one; a seam that’s been tied.

Seem to be one; a seam that’s been tied.

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