Song Origins

People often ask “What’s that song about,” or “What inspired that song?”   Here are a few explanations, but mostly they are fictional and come to me at random–at 3:00 in the morning, on a drive, in the bathtub, etc.

Semi tire

After a recent trip to what’s left of my hometown, I wrote this song.  This Welsh word might be a better explanation, just don’t ask me to pronounce it.

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“Kiss Indiana Goodbye”

The title is deceiving. It really has nothing to do with my home state, and hopefully none of my fellow Hoosiers will think of it as a slight. It’s really just an emotional snap shot–a girl who is tired of feeling overwhelmed and is finally putting the past in its proper place.

“Who Am I Kidding”

Growing up, I was skinny as a rail, wore glasses and often dressed in my brothers’ hand-me-downs (presumably why I often still prefer men’s clothing). My Grandma Pearl would infuriate me at every visit with the same question, “Have you found yourself a boyfriend yet, sugar babe?” In retrospect, maybe it was just her curiosity about my sexuality. I was quite a conundrum. I didn’t mind wearing dresses and being girlie, and I liked boys–but preferred rough-housing and getting dirty, to dolls and tea parties. Fortunately, I found someone who embraces, or at least tolerates my quirkiness.

“Lil’ Red Girl”

This is a pretty obvious little love/hate song dedicated to every woman’s most loathsome visitor.

“Ode To Middle Age”

This was written in response to all the nostalgia in this world for lost childhoods–so many people wishing they could go back in time…”Oh to be a kid again.” I say, “NO THANKS!”

“Emmett Till”

While watching a documentary on the murder of Emmett Till, I was so inspired I had to write about it. Although I was a long time Dylan fan, I wasn’t familiar with his song “The Death Of Emmett Till.” I was hesitant to include the song, for that reason, but it was one of Otis’ favorites and a story well worth re-telling.

Homebody Blues

This is a traditional blues song written as a tribute to the few folks in this world who are indeed happy with their lot in life. People who don’t worry themselves with lottery tickets, or the latest gadget, but are instead on a quest for simplicity. “The endless pursuit of shiny things, is like chasing your tail to misery.”

Livin’ On Beans And Cornbread

This song was inspired by an auto-biographical series of books written by Rick Bragg–describing his family’s struggle to exist in the South during a time when people were often slaves to a cotton mill, the company store and/or bootleg whiskey.  ”Cotton in your whiskers, cotton in your shoes, a cotton lint tornado following after you…”

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