Tuesday, October 26, 2010
My brother Stephen is a musician. He writes and records his own songs. Talk about DIY! Stephen has been doing it himself, writing and recording his own songs since the early '80s, before there there was even a pat phrase to describe the concept. Songs are words and music put together, but as a lover of words myself, Stephen's talents as a lyricist are what inspire me the most. He doesn't write many songs about that most cliched of subjects, romantic love. His songs explore varied themes, including reverence for nature and the desire for world peace.
One of my favorite albums that Stephen has produced is Birds of Winter. Here is a sampling of lyrics from "The Crow," which is one of the most admired songs on the album:
"You can shoot crows with your pistol
You can kill them by the score
Old crow’s a survivor no matter what you do
He’ll keep coming back for more
When all of us have left this planet
All our survivors in their grave
They’ll hear the tale of our demise from the beak of some old raven
Who’ll say we got just what we gave"
Here's another favorite album that my brother has produced:
Taking Off is sort of a concept album about the years that Steve spent touring the wilds of Alaska, performing with his wife Kristi. The album has some great story songs on it, including "The Fisherman Hardly Ever Sleeps" and "Change." "The Fisherman Hardly Ever Sleeps" paints a pretty accurate portrait of what it's like to spend half your life out on the open seas; "Change" describes what it's like to live in the crazy-making and isolated environment of a small Alaskan town.
To learn more and hear samplings of the recordings, go to: http://www.sknebel.com/