Yes indeed. Another birthday to celebrate. This time around, it’s my daughter who turns nine this week. The funny thing about it is that I planned to write her birthday song next week as #47. There’s a little story behind why it came a week early. Let me explain.
Early last Sunday morning, I sat down with the acoustic guitar (surprise, surprise) to get started on this week’s song. As I fumbled around with chord and lyric ideas, I happened upon a chorus-y feeling lyric and melody that went, ‘One, two, three…(blah, blah, fill in the words)…Four, five, six…(blah, blah, fill in the words)’. I liked how it sang and felt, so I played around with it for a bit.
I had sat down that morning well aware that I had a birthday song to write the following week. One of the things I had told myself was that if I stumbled upon anything that might be well suited for that song, I’d be sure to set it aside. So as I was playing with this lyric idea and wondering what sort of words might make sense in the ‘blah, blah’ sections, it hit me that my daughter with the birthday this week was our fourth child and the sixth member of our family. Ta-dah! I had to make use of the ‘one, two, three, four, five, six…’ thing I had been playing around with in the birthday song. And why wait another week to write it if it’s coming in over the waves now? So that’s how this particular song came a week earlier than planned.
Now that you understand that part of the story, you’re probably wondering why I wrote a song about a football game for a nine year old girl. Well, it just so happens that she and I are a pretty mean backyard football team, particularly when we square off against her two older brothers. We’ve been known to practice separately from them so that we can work out our plays ahead of time, including motion in the backfield and changes at the line of scrimmage. (Strange, I know.) So football really wasn’t much of a leap. In addition to that, the song I was hearing in my head had a sort of jug band feel to it that seemed to lend itself to the telling of a story. So I ran with it.
The lyrics - as I hope you’ve heard - are silly. And they were a lot of fun to right. There are several references in there that won’t mean much to folks outside of our immediate family but that were important to get in. One I especially like is good old ‘Sammy Sideline’. I had a beloved high school football coach who always reminded his defensive players that there was a twelfth man on the field helping them out, that person being ‘Sammy Sideline’. My daughter and I joke about it often, especially at our practices. (I know, even more strange.)
As for the instrumentation, I kept it simple. I programmed the basic drum and bass parts. Again, I was hearing some sort of jug band thing in my head and I just did what felt right. At first it seemed a little too basic and repetitive but in the context of the song, I think it’s OK. I then added the doubled acoustic guitar part and finally a lot of vocal harmonies. I believe there are eight tracks of harmonies running through the song.
It took a while to get the mix feeling right. I’m still not 100% thrilled with it. My voice in the chorus and bridge sections was feeling very different from my voice in the verse sections. I tried recording it several times and varying it but that wasn’t really helping. Unfortunately, my voice is still giving me grief (although I did finally make an appointment with a specialist). I couldn’t really go too crazy with take after additional take trying to make it match, especially after adding so many harmony lines. In the end, my solution was to bring up the level on the background vocals and blend it all together. That seemed to mask the difference a bit.
And that was it. This was a fun one to write. It still cracks me up every time I listen back to it. Just the thought of my daughter tearing up the gridiron in an oversized helmet and shoulderpads like some cartoon character. I hope you enjoyed it too. For now, we put it aside as we move on to #47. Six songs left. Wow! Hard to believe. We are getting close. Thanks for following and have a great week!