Turtles All The Way Down

Wings of Fire
Like a Leaf
Redwing Blackbird

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Larry's Songs

Cantina on Mars
In 1994 I remembered seeing a National Geographic article about Mars showing mountains and canyons that were bigger than anything on earth. Since there is water on Mars, I consider it to be earth, too, not for conquest ("because it is there" is false. Pick up the trash on Everest because it is there.) but for life itself. People will go to Mars probably after we have restored and learned to steward the earth. This song is about a lonely blue collar (titanium collar) worker who misses his true love and uses the sentiment from "Rambler and Gambler" to say the sands might change but my love for you will remain.

On that Road
I wrote this in 1995 after Gerry Harthun loaned me his '63 Yamaha 12-string and I learned how easily open G with drop C adapted to fingerpicking and slide. The well-kept secret is that 5-string banjo chords are the same. This song is about being in touch with your heart wherever you are. I had to have hand surgery in 1990 and I thought I might never be able to play again. I learned that I'm always on the road home and now I know where home is.

This Time
Written in 1996. I was volunteering at Fiddler's Dream and closing down when everyone had gone home, when these verses came to me and hurried up home to write them down all at once. We make mistakes in life, life makes mistakes and flattens people, but if you're lucky, you get a second chance, or you make new opportunities by staying true to yourself, staying alert. Ambition is one thing, but awareness is precious.

Wings of Fire
I wrote this in 1997, again it was written all at once. I tried to use a minimalist approach to the music, just two chords in the verses, but more expression of the rhythm. It's about traveling and the lovely anticipation of returning home. A nice, short but intense song.

Kansas City Nights
Penned in 1999. I remembered this one time when we were all seniors then, the words are self-explanatory, a true-story song, rites of passage, passage of rights. No poetic license necessary. I still hear the birds singing at sunset, the roll of the earth, the temperature and humidity, the sound of traffic.

So Many Ways
First written in 1982, this song has been played in different keys, permutations and on various instruments. Then in 1994 I played it on my Strat through a digital delay that Tom Bertling gave me. I learned that I could send myself a musical message in the approaching future seconds by delaying the present and play on top of the original matrix. I know other bands use this, but then I learned to tap out the harmonics on the acoustic guitar. This song might change again since there are still so many ways. Sometimes your friends don't understand what you are doing, change is good.

Pennies, Nickels, Dimes & Quarters
Written in 1999, I came home from work and noticed some change laying on the table. The sentiment here is that even though you may not always have the money you want, or the wind is in the wrong direction, you can still set the sails and with a little grit, you just might make it through.

A true love song written in 1994 when there was no one in my life, a really idealistic expression and use of questions and answers in songwriting. I first got the idea when it was raining and I had my front door open.

South Pole Surrender
Written in 1978 to find out where Mrs. Santa Claus came from. A cartoon song about possibilities. A man who is a warrior of strength would know that surrender to love for another person is not a weakness, but an expression of wisdom. I believe we are not humans on a spiritual quest, but spiritual beings on a human quest.

White Sky
Written in 1985 in Kansas City. I was living in Oregon, but my mother was deathly ill and in the hospital and we siblings were taking our turns being at the old home and taking care of family business. I was very depressed one night, walking home from a cafe in my old Brookside neighborhood when I saw something coming down the old streetcar tracks behind 63rd and Brookside. Something was coming at me about 30mph and 12" off the ground. I froze in my tracks as it came right up to me and then flew straight up into the air, right past my face, I could still feel the wind. It was a killdeer, a little bird that eats insects at night. They are easily seen in the light of any billboard or baseball game in the Midwest. They lived up in Oregon and we have them in Arizona, so I'm sure they're all over North America, wherever there is food, but I like the way they circle and chase food to each other, at least I would like to think that they do that. I love the idea that swifts and swallows sleep on the wing and nestle in a bed of breezes.

Like a Leaf
Written in 1976 in the bathroom of my room in the Camlin Hotel in Seattle. The home I grew up in also had those little hexagon tiles and the acoustics were great in there. It's a song about how we are a fiber in the mighty cable of life. Maybe it's about the approaching storm but we all know the sweetness of the morning air after it rains.

Redwing Blackbird
This is the first of my experiential songs starting in 1978. There was a time when I wanted to write only about things I had personally experienced. I felt it gave a further authenticity to the sculpture if I cut the stone myself. Life and music are not all about me. I'm here on the planet with other fellow beings ("fellow" meaning all other life). But in early 1977 things changed, or a new chapter opened for me that allowed me to see further into the interdependency of life and the ripple effect of our actions. First this song was just two verses, then I wrote a third later, and there is actually a fourth verse, but I couldn't find it to put it on this version on the album, maybe when I play it live or maybe other experiences will present themselves because lately I've been seeing clouds of little orange-shouldered blackbirds on their way back and forth up the trail. There are distinct allegorical components to this song, but this too is good if used in proper proportion in the recipe, who needs bread with too much salt?

Grand Canal
Written in Phoenix in 1989. I explored this whole valley when I got my first mountain bike. I ride with finesse and fix the trails. I started out on the tame canal banks and graduated to more challenging trails, but sometimes there are very remote places right in the middle of big cities where no one goes, and nature is there in abundance despite noise and pollution. Ask any Peregrine falcon in Portland, Oregon. So I found a place where there are many hummingbirds all year because there is food and water. I won't tell you where, you have to get there yourself in the vehicle of your own heart.

Written in 1974, I first played it at the freshman orientation at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon that autumn. It is inspired by the diary of Benjamin Franklin.

Closing Down Hell
At 2:22 a.m. on 2.22.2000, I sat bolt upright in bed from a dream I had, and the words of the first verse were there. I stumbled and ran to find my notepad and pen and just let this song out onto the paper. I have had this experience before with the Muse, but not for awhile, I like this process better than sitting down to do what I call "bricklaying" songwriting, where people cut and paste and try to find out what rhymes with sponge in their lyrical cul de sac. I never set out to be famous. I wanted to write good songs that would stand the test of time. Sure, these songs identify me as an American writer from the American culture. I enjoy playing them when I am home alone or with friends or on stage. I have no compulsion to teach guitar or songwriting. I love this process that urges and then sometimes shoves me to write something down, then sometimes the creative wind howls and you lose your shirt, but you can't buy those experiences. I don't believe in hell. I don't believe that guilt is good for people. There is one heart per soul and one path per heart. There ain't no hell to send each other since we boarded up and closed it down.