May 18

Songwriting Series: In A Heartbeat

I don’t think it will be a surprise to anyone when I reveal that at some point during the record contract ordeal I fell completely in love with Matt.

We’re talking 5 page soul-bearing-letter-writing- oh-my-god-I-know-we’re-just-friends- but-I-think-I-Love-You- whadda-ya-think obsessive kinda loopy love. (That story might be told sometime later.)

This song was born out of that 22 year old hopeless romantic cheeze-ball. I was driving around Nashville and was passing the Green Hills Mall in Nashville when a disc jockey friend of mine was on the radio talking about the Spice Girls. He said that hit any one of them “in a heartbeat.” This song was almost completely written before I made it over to Hoss’s place to record it.

Admittedly, the drum beat on this song is really weak. Drum tracks are the hardest for me to write. I just don’t have the brain for it. And UMB described the brass in this song as completely hokey. But whatever.

Matt is singing lead. Swampie and I are singing background vocals. You remember Swampie, right? She’s the girl from the Christmas Movie Moment. Oh yeah, she’s also the one who incurred my wrath and had a legion of gay nudist hikers invade her wedding.

Matt didn’t know at the time that the song was really about him. I’m sure he figured it out later.

[audio:InaHeartbeat.mp3]

In A Heartbeat
© 1997 Paul Harris

Walking on water will be an easy feat
Lonesome Lane becomes Easy Street
Miracles will happen to me everyday
Now that your love is a heartbeat away

In a Heartbeat
I can feel the fire
In a Heartbeat
Full of Desire
In a Heartbeat
Every time we meet
I could fall in love
In a Heartbeat

I don’t need a good luck charm
When I’ve got you hanging on my arm
You must have been sent from above
You’re the first and the last thing that I think of

Murphy’s Law says if it can it will go wrong
But things have been going right all day long
The grass is always greener on my side
My cards are on the table honey let the bet ride

I hear it in the air
The sound is everywhere
Blood rushes through my veins
The way you feel drives this man insane

It should go without saying that these lyrics and audio file are protected by standard artist copyright and are not licensed for use by any other entities without my expressed written permission, regardless of the Creative Commons License that applies to most other posts.

May 04

Songwriting Series: Club 501

Hoss Burns and I wrote this song about the tool shed in my backyard that my friends and I converted into our “clubhouse” when I was a kid.

When my parents replaced the long green shag carpeting in the house* we cut remnants up and used it in the clubhouse. My neighbor Bryan and I built seating complete with a “secret compartment” where we could stash our dirty magazines, cigarettes, and wine coolers.

We even devised an “intercom” system using a water hose to keep out any unauthorized visitors. If someone were wily enough to bypass the top notch password system, we always had a small arsenal of slingshots and BB guns on hand to defend ourselves.

It is probably important to note here that we were the only kids in the neighborhood. That’s hardly the point.

I’m singing lead and most harmonies on this demo. Hoss sang the lower harmony. We were hoping to pitch this one to Delious, too. This was recorded sometime in early 1997.

Ten years ago. Damn.

[audio:Club501.mp3]

Club 501
© 1997 Harris/Burns

An old shed made of wood
Became the center of our neighborhood
We cleaned it up and painted it for fun

Old green shag upon the floor
Metal numbers hung over the door
We all cheered when it was done
for Club 501

United we stand, divided we fall
Became our battle call
Just a bunch of boys against the world
Picking fights and chasing girls
We were young
Club 501

Extension cords and trouble lights
Camping out those backyard nights
Guarding the door with BB guns

Comic books and GI Joes
Soon turned to Playboy and Marlboros
Our walk to manhood had begun
at Club 501

The rafter where we carved our names
Is about all that remains
Of forgotten days in the summer sun

Our first look at love
Our first taste of beer
I remember it happened here
When we were young
At Club 501

*Remember this stuff? It was that really dark avocado color and like 3-4 inches long. It required a rake.

It should go without saying that these lyrics and audio file are protected by standard artist copyright and are not licensed for use by any other entities without my expressed written permission, regardless of the Creative Commons License that applies to most other posts.

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May 01

Songwriting Series: Pieces of Love

I blame Kristy for this. I spent most of the afternoon buried in a gigantic leaf bag full of old cassettes looking for tapes of songs that I have written or co-written.

I found many of them and plan to share them here over the next several days. I also found some tapes that you are just going to have to hear to believe.

Hoss BurnsThis first song I’m going to share with you was written by Hoss Burns and I in the spring of 1997. We wrote this over the course of an afternoon, sitting on his back deck in the sun. I told Hoss that I wanted to write something with a bit of an Eagles feel to it, with a built in background chorus. I hoped to pitch it to Delious for inclusion on our record.

I don’t remember specifically which of us came up with the hook. I do remember that this song came together frighteningly fast. I think it’s true that some of the best songs write themselves.

This song actually got published, and George Strait had put it on his “hold” list. When a song is “held” for an artist, the publishing company doesn’t submit it out to any other artists until the holding artist either records the song, or releases it. Unfortunately, George never added this song to an album, but he held on to it until after the publishing contract expired. Technically, he could decide to record it still, but the publishing company isn’t actively pursuing a new artist for it.

That makes it available if there’s any artists out there who are looking for a song.

I’m posting two versions of this song.

The first features Hoss Burns on lead vocals. You can hear me doing some backing vocals.

[audio:PiecesofLove.mp3]

The second version of Pieces of Love was the demo sent to George Strait. It features James Griffin on lead vocals. Those with a strong knowledge of 70’s pop music will recognize James Griffin’s name and voice, as he was a founding member and vocalist with the super group Bread.

[audio:PiecesofLoveGriffin.mp3]

Pieces of Love
© 1997 Harris/Burns

We can split down the middle everything we own
Put a for sale sign in front of our home
Box up the memories and give up on us

We could sign all the papers, take off our rings
Try to win the battle and lose everything
Just throw away these pieces of love

Pieces of love
Lie broken and battered
Two hearts have been shattered
They’re windblown and scattered
Oh there’s nothing sadder
Than tiny broken pieces of love

Can we pick up the pieces of our wounded hearts
Take the time to find the missing parts
Put back together these pieces of love

Do we work on this puzzle
Do we cast it to the wind
Do we sweep them away or
Do we try to mend these pieces of love

It should go without saying that these lyrics and audio file are protected by standard artist copyright and are not licensed for use by any other entities without my expressed written permission, regardless of the Creative Commons License that applies to most other posts.