Emma’s Lullaby

Emma’s Lullaby – Iroquois Studios (Dec. 2012) 

The Song

How children change our lives. In an ironic way they both shrink and broaden perspective; cause entirely focused attention beyond physical and mental borders–they are the change that cannot be seen without them.

I have taken to making things at Christmas time.  I feel it is the only way to accurately portray my gratitude for my children, for my partner, for our lives together and how they make me who I am, a better person, a better man.

Christmas 2012 I sought to give my daughter a song.  She is an artist – a maker, an observer, a feeler, a passionate being that knows only to sing loud, dance to rhythms only her heart plays, understands others by rehearsing their behaviour in the stage that is our home. She is an artist.

I am an artist because of her.  Because she, as only children can, parents me through my own hangups – “Daddy, you are an artist.” And so this song was an inspiration that took 6 years to emerge.   It was everything I wanted to say without giving away what is our own private conversation.  It was our song that only we could write.

It began on a guitar I bought as a 17-year-old artist, slogging away at Dave Snider’s Music Centre in Toronto.  It was paid for in instalments, weekly, in cash, at my discretion at the register when I got paid.  Dave Jr. probably would have accepted no payment for the guitar, but I paid for it for most of my grade 13 year. In that time it has written many songs with me.  It has been through love, and break-up; it has been a home for mice and my emotional fluctuations; it has been broken only to find new reverberations; it has lived with only my best of friends.  It is still my #1 guitar. Always will be. It came home with me. It was my classroom guitar.  It seemingly drew me to tune to ‘Open C’, and it gave me, as it always has, melodies and songs from no where.

Emma’s Lullaby came to me, wrote itself musically and lyrically, and seemingly recorded itself in about a week.  The guitar part arrived one morning.  The lyrics arrived later that day.  A few days later I was in Iroquois Studios laying down tracks.  When I listened to the first recordings I was disappointed.  As art seems to do, when I went back to essentials, to skeletons, to what was there before I complicated things, there was the song.  It had been there waiting.  Raw, but perfect. Hidden beneath what I thought was the art of recording.  And then all the noise turned off and there was a song left in its place.

When my daughter opened her song, I was overwhelmed.  What if…? She took out the CD, her first.  She asked to hear it.  She listened.  She began to dance.  Emma’s Lullaby filled the rooms of my youth and replaced the Christmas music that normally spilled from my parent’s mini-system.

It seemed perfect.  She listened. She danced. Emma filled the room of my youth and I never felt more alive. “Daddy, you are an artist.”  And I was.

Lyrics

Sleep,
you’re safe,
to close your eyes.
Shut, shut out,
shut out
the light.
That seeps
beneath
your door at night.
Close
your eyes.
Shut out
the light.
 
Lullabye,
I sing tonight.
My voice, my arms,
yours, yours alone.
 
If
your dreams
cause you to wake.
Cry,
cry out,
I’ll be by your side.
With arms,
to hold,
shoulders for tears.
Cry,
cry out,
I’m right here.
Lullabye,
I sing tonight.
My voice, my arms,
yours, yours alone.
 
Sleep,
you’re safe,
to close your eyes.
 

I am indebted to Ron Duprey, a colleague, who went out of his way to make my music a gift.  His generosity has filled our home more than once, anonymously, supporting my last minuteness in all its creativity.

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