The Short Version
The Long Version
I hadn’t written a Christmas song before, and hadn’t particularly planned to. Other people seem to do it very nicely, I’ll just play those if need be.1
Then I was invited to play in a Writers’ Night, in-the-round with other local songwriters (and also a benefit), a few weeks back. The advertising was Christmas-themed, I knew others would be bringing Christmas songs, and I was gently asked if, you know, maybe I might have one?
I didn’t, and decided to be OK with that. But a week before the show, the germ of an idea showed up. It bounced around as these things do, and the night before the show, I sat down and made myself write some verses. Normally I’ll be all “I have to wait for the muuuuuuse”, but what did it hurt? If they were terrible, I already didn’t have a song. No harm done.
They weren’t terrible. I liked them a lot. It was funny, but also wistful. My song, my rules. And I love me a power-pop melody and a big singalong chorus.
The day of the show, in lieu of lunch, I wrote the middle. I made myself a little demo, something to listen to in the background the rest of the day, so that I might remember it. I posted that demo to Facebook for a really small group of friends - mostly other writers - to hear; basically, I was surprisingly proud of the song. Here’s that demo:
The show went really well (although I think I seriously flubbed the middle — we’ll see when the DVD is available2).
The next day or so, my friend Pete sends me back my demo, but he’s added drums. Tricky, considering the demo’s rather flexible approach to timing.
But it sounded really cool. I sent Pete a new demo, this one with a click track, and a sample sequenced drum part which I hoped he’d ignore. A couple of passes later, and there were drums. Good ones, alongside my little guitar/vocal guide track.
I spent much of this weekend adding bass, guitars, and real vocals. I mixed, and mixed, and re-mixed, and basically learned a lot more than I’d known before about home recording.
For example, I learned that my closet makes a nice, dry vocal/acoustic booth.
Monday night, up the song went to my music page, where you can buy it right now. It’s $1.00, but you can spend more. All profits (that is, every penny I actually see, after PayPal and Bandcamp fees) will go to charity.
I knew, when I decided to work in earnest on this track, that I wanted it to be for a cause. The choice for Pete and I was obvious: The Haven For Children. It’s a local charity, run by people I admire - and both my mom and Pete’s late mother have given countless hours volunteering and fundraising for them.
Why the Haven?
In their words:
We are licensed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of the State of Florida to provide therapeutic shelter care in a homelike environment for children from birth to age ten at admittance who have been removed from their homes because of neglect, abuse or abandonment. The Community Based Care of Brevard County and other community based care groups in Central Florida refer children to The Haven.
The Haven for Children, Inc. program’s goal is to nourish and protect the children in its care and guide them toward positive self-growth. Currently, we have three homes that serve an average of ten children each. Three shifts of trained staff provide 24/7 care 365 days per year. We also receive the services of a nurse practitioner from the Brevard Health Alliance who provides on site medical care to our children.
I’ve seen first-hand the dedication of these people, and the incredible change they make in the lives of children who desperately need that change. They’re superheroes, as far as I’m concerned. If we could help in some small way… no, it didn’t take a lot of thought.
If you like the song (I do!), please download it for a buck or two. If you don’t (I’ll be okay!), you can donate directly to the Haven at this page; or you can send a check to:
The Haven for Children, Inc.
P. O. Box 327
Melbourne, FL 32902-0327
Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Have a joyous January 17th, if that’s when you read this. The Haven will still appreciate your help.