“You surely are a truly gifted kid
But you’re only as good as
The last great thing you did
And where’ve you been since then?….”
“….If it’s uphill all the way
You should be used to it by now…”
“….You must know me, father it’s your son
And I know that you are proud
Of everything I’ve done
But it’s the wonders I perform
Pulling rabbits out of hats
When sometimes I’d prefer simply to wear them”
(c) Paddy MacAloon “Moving The River” from the album “Steve McQueen“, 1983
This one was written in May/June 2015. What fired the imagination initially on this one was the title which came from a misheard part of a riff from a famous Allman Brothers track, Midnight Rider – I had been watching a show where they had performed a really sparse version of it and the “…I got one more silver dollar…” line was the catalyst for this song.
Ultimately, its a story of unfulfilled ambition. And, ambition that is thwarted through the artist’s own inaction and reticence, a lack of time, a lack of willingness to share their gift or just cynicism with the industry. And, to echo the words of Steve Hogarth, “… will you get what you want… to be cursed with your dreams?”
As with life itself sometimes, it isnt the destination that brings the fulfilment and the rewards, its the journey that teaches you the most, so they say.
If you dont take that final step off the highway to reach your eventual destination… does that keep the creation that you’ve poured your heart into that bit more pure and untainted? Maybe so, maybe not. Depends why you got into the business in the first place. Having seen members of my own family make their living in this profession and walk away from it, broken and cynical, I think I can understand that lack of desire to fully engage with it.
Anyway. This is seen from the perspective of a songwriter, an author, a painter and a musician. All getting to within that one last step then questioning whether it was what they really wanted. But understanding deep down that maybe, just maybe that they had something special. If only for a short while…
Im hoping that this one will start to take a more solid form for the KOAS London Road project, but there’s quite a way to go yet. It could well end up with a partial or full rewrite.
Once Was Promising
Watching the clock running down
Aint got forever any more
God knows I’ve learned its hell in the hallway,
While you’re waiting for that opening door.
Dont believe much in Jesus
But I’m told he once believed in me
But what would he think if he’d chosen the same road
And walked in the same shoes as me?
Just one more shot at the silver lining
Just one more rainbow to follow
If not today, then theres twice as far to run tomorrow
Dont care nothing any more for money, dont care to beg steal or borrow
Because I once was promising… but now its left me hollow
Just one more song, that’ll open the door
Just to prove I’ve got it, then I wont worry anymore.
But the chords wont come and the words wont flow
Dont want ya to hear it yet, I dont wanna hear you say “no”
Maybe I’m a fool, but its my call to say so
Just one more chapter of the story to tell
I already know who dies in the end, I wrote it so well
Lost in an online sea of unknown dreamers just like me
Trying to be heard above all the noise in the game
But it all sounds, exactly the same
Just one more brush stroke to finish the picture
To hang it with all the rest
Forty years of dreams on canvas
Like I’ve given myself a test
A life’s work in a gallery on Main Street where no one comes
But they’re snapshots in time forever, what is done is now done
Just one more performance, one more show
To find a dream realised and end up so soon despised
But I cant afford to let it go
So much talking, drinking, tobacco, it doesnt move me any more
I always thought this was what I wanted… but now I’m not so sure any more.
(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2015