2018 WINTER LYRIC CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Thanks to  lyric contest director, Gene Schilacci, for these comments.

SEMIFINALIST

Shey  by Kenneth Adams, Rockwall, Tx
Dreaming by Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ
Homeless Sky by  Michael Roth, Arlington, VA
If You Have any Questions, Ask You by Ken Adams, Rockwall, TX
Five Day Weekend by Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ
The Bridge is Higher by Minnie Murray, Sante Fe, NM
You Are My Fantasy by Myra Litton, London, UK

WINNERS
First Place::   Shey  by Kenneth Adams, Rockwall, Tx

I liked this song because it did not have a lot of hazy, gauzy imagery in its first verse — it gets directly to the point.  The singer and Shey have a problem they’ve been avoiding and its “time we faced the truth”.  Shey wants a structured life, which apparently isn’t to the singer’s taste.  She wants children, a house, a conventional life, and judging by the “sigh” it sounds like she’s been seeing it, although she doesn’t want to face it.  

When the song breaks for the chorus, I like the imagery, he’s “hungry for the wind, a Texas tumbleweed”  I can feel his joy as he sings about the blowin’ in the wind lifestyle in the last two lines of chorus, I can almost hear them without even knowing what the musical structure of the song is.  

    This is not a new song subject, it has been done before, but it is well structured, well thought out so that all the lines contribute to the song, and well written in my view.  I would like to know what went wrong, Shey and the singer obviously had something that drew them together so that they are in the close relationship they find themselves in now, what happened to change things?  Change of heart? Or maybe there’s no simple answer, but the fact that I WANT TO KNOW MORE tells me the lyricist is crafting something that draws me in.  Maturity changes things, and the bridge might be better used to explain where things went wrong rather than rehashing positions that Shey and the singer have already staked out in the early verses of the song.  Still I believe this is a fine lyric, and I would love to hear the finished product, with music, as I felt I could almost hear the chorus in my head in the “waiting for me, Ah hah, waiting for me, waiting for me, Ah hah” ending.   Shey, isn’t it time we talk about it

Shey, isn’t it time we faced the truth
I’ll never be what you want
A man to be, what you want
We both know it Shey, we know
Shey, you want the house, you want the kids
Shey, two for sure maybe more
Don’t look at me that way
What’s with the sigh?
I’ve seen your eyes light up just thinking about it
Shey, I’m too shaky for the ride
Shey, the clock is ticking

(Chorus
I get hungry for the wind
Like Texas tumbleweed
I stagger and stumble unpredictably
Deep inside there’s a flying machine
Waiting on the runway, waiting for me
Ah hah, waiting for me, Ah hah

(Bridge)
Have the house, have the car, have the kids, have the yard
Call it desire, call it destiny
We’re all hunters searching for a place in our dreams

(Chorus)
I get hungry for the wind
Like Texas tumbleweed
I stagger and stumble unpredictably
Deep inside there’s a flying machine
Waiting on the runway, waiting for me
Ah hah, waiting for me, Ah hah
Shey, before things get more complicated
Shey, let’s take a minute to reflect
You want that life, make it, you have a right, take it
I’ll only zig zag down the road, get out of line eventually

(Chorus)
I get hungry for the wind
Like Texas tumbleweed
I stagger and stumble unpredictably
Deep inside me there’s a flying machine
Waiting on the runway, waiting for me
Ah hah, waiting for me, Ah hah

(Conclusion)
You can’t change me Shey
You can’t save me Shey
I might stay for a while but the day will come
When those engines call for me.

Second Place::  Dreaming by Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ

I liked this song because it has a very nice description of dreaming, and I can relate to what the lyricist describes about their dreams, I’ve had the same kind of dreams.  Those familiar faces, the feeling of deja vu, that I’ve been in this strange place before, brought the experience of a dream to me in a way that is down to earth enough that it could be a pop or country song, or it could be done in a very spacey, Pink Floyd way with misty synths and string sections, they lyrics sound like they would work either way.  I also like the way the chorus is a summary of the whole experience, it draws the whole song together.  If anything, I might add a bridge or some more specific description in verse of people or places that the writer has seen in his dreams, preferably something that everyone can relate to, such as a dream about grandma, or a long past love, something like that.  But I liked the flow, everything seems to move coherently together.  Nice lyric!                         

V-1  I LAY MY HEAD DOWN ON A PILLOW, AND TRY TO GO TO SLEEP
BUT MY MIND IS SPINNING ROUND, THOUGHTS ARE DIGGING DEEP
SOON I GUESS I’M SLEEPING, BUT I’M NEVER REALLY SURE
EVERYWHERE SEEMS SO REAL, LIKE I’VE BEEN THERE BEFORE
V-2  I DON’T GO TO BED WITH A PLAN, I JUST CLOSE MY EYES
WHEREVER THE NIGHT TAKES ME, IS ALWAYS A SURPRISE
THE STREETS, HOUSES, TOWNS AND SO MANY PLACES
REMINICENT SMILES, ON FAMILIAR FACES
CHORUS:  DREAMING YES I’M DREAMING, SLEEPING MY LIFE AWAY
THE MORNINGS COME TOO FAST, I WANT MY DREAMS TO LAST
DREAMS TAKE ME BACK IN TIME, I NEVER KNOW THEIR MEANING
THE WAY I FEEL IT MUST REAL, BUT I’M ONLY DREAMING
V-3  I RECOGNIZE THEM RIGHT AWAY, HAVEN’T SEEN SOME IN A WHILE
BUT EVERY OLD FRIEND I RECALL, IS SURE TO MAKE ME SMILE
MY DAYS ARE ALL TOO LONG, I CAN’T WAIT TO GO TO BED
WHERE THE BEST TIMES OF MY LIFE, ARE STREAMING IN MY HEAD
CHORUS:  DREAMING YES I’M DREAMING, SLEEPING MY LIFE AWAY
THE MORNINGS COME TOO FAST, I WANT MY DREAMS TO LAST
DREAMS TAKE ME BACK IN TIME, I NEVER KNOW THEIR MEANING
THE WAY I FEEL IT MUST REAL, BUT I’M ONLY DREAMING

Third Place:: Homeless Sky by  Michael Roth, Arlington, VA

I like this lyric because of the imagery and turn of phrase that are used throughout it, but I think it still needs a re-write to make it clearer what the message or theme of the song is.  Lines like “It’s not the town it meant to be” hint at some very powerful messages that just don’t quite come thru strong enough.  It has the feel of a song that is describing what is wrong with America of today, but I think it needs some wording changed here or there that would make it really shine as a message song.  I like the line “On the invisible front of the new civil war”, but I wonder about the two sides in that new civil war, who are they and what do they represent?  Or perhaps it is better to leave it from the perspective of a homeless person, who is dazed and confused with his own personal battles with life.  I just find some of the lines in it very apt, like “When the weather gets too drunk again” but I’d like a clearer message in it.  I really appreciate the writer’s craft in this lyric, and wish to see the vision brought into sharper focus.

I’m really not a drinkin’ man
I come here for the atmosphere
A stone’s throw from the Goodwill store
Where the wounded drag in from the battle
On the invisible front of the new civil war
While I’m nursing a beer in Seattle

Chorus:
And the morning fog will steal your dreams
Like a wallet from your shabby coat
Before your very eyes
Life never measures up, it seems
To that poetry you like to quote
Beneath the homeless sky
The homeless sky

Body shops on boomtown streets
It’s not the town it meant to be
It always wants a little more
And who am I to begrudge them
The evergreen air is perfect and pure
But it carries the odor of judgment

(Chorus)
I’ll sleep beneath a highway bridge
When the weather gets too drunk again
Every day’s a poker hand
My luck ran out at the age of seven
I feel like a sailor lost out at sea
Searching for signs in the heavens

(Chorus)

Fourth Place: If You Have any Questions, Ask You by Ken Adams, Rockwall, TX

I found the turn of the lyric “Ask You” instead of “Any Questions, Ask ME” interesting.  The first verse describes things very logically, and it is clear where the lyric is going, and takes the listener with them, step by step.  Every verse takes the listener somewhere different, and it reminds me of “By the Time I get to Phoenix” written by Jimmy Webb and done so well by Glenn Campbell.   I believe the bridge could be re-written to describe other problems that led her to leave. As it is now, it just restates things that are already in the verses.

By now, you read the note I stuck to your door

By now, you cursed me up, down, sideways too
Guess I wasn’t sophisticated enough
True, I’m a country girl
This country girl knows how to get rid of you
Sorry to miss tonight’s lame excuse
Something like, “I have to work late, special project, it all falls on me”
Well, I know about your project, it has two legs curves n’ curls
I did a little investigating, something just wasn’t sitting right with me
Like a room without a wall, a truck without a wheel, a horse without a stall
Something just wasn’t adding up you see
Well, I’m half way to Tulsa, took the cat and my guitar
Changed my cell number, changed my passwords, changed them all

Chorus
Ask you if all your fooling around
Ask you if your intention to make me a victim of a sad country song
Worked out like you though it would
Did your double-dipping scam work like it should?
If you have any questions ask you

Bridge
I won’t let you steal my self-respect
I don’t need some lying Tom to twist me up, mess with my head
I don’t need you to warm my bed
I’ll be clearing Arkansas by nine
Cat curled up beside me, radio cranked, keeping time
By now, you’re probably executing plan B
Give her a big ol’ kiss, a hap-hap, hap-hap-howdy from me

Bridge
I won’t let you steal my self-respect
I don’t need some lying Tom to twist me up, mess with my head
I don’t need you to warm my bed

Chorus
Ask you if all your fooling around
Ask you if your intention to make me a victim of a sad country song
Worked out like you though it would
Did your double-dipping scam work like it should?
If you have any questions ask you

Conclusion
If you have any questions
Look in only one direction
If you have any questions ask you.

 

Honorable MentionFive Day Weekend by Bill Kapac, West Wildwood, NJ

This is a song I think EVERYONE can get behind, a five day weekend! Nice lyric I can almost hear coming from the juke box of some honky tonk.  Every verse moves, chorus is a nice summary of something we can all dream of!

V-1  WE’RE GONNA CHANGE THE WEEK MY FRIEND
ALL THIS TIME AT WORK HAS GOT TO END
WE NEED MORE NIGHTS TO PARTY AND DISCOVER
THE FUN WE’VE BEEN MISSING, AND HAVE TIME TO RECOVER

CHORUS: A FIVE DAY WEEKEND IS WHAT WE WANT
WHO STARTED THIS TWO DAY WEEKEND ANYWHO
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING, WE NEED TIME FOR DRINKING
THE TIME HAS COME, THE WEEK NEEDS A CHANGE
IT’S STILL SEVEN DAYS, THEY’RE JUST RE-ARRANGED
FIVE DAY WEEKEND, A FIVE DAY WEEKEND
WEEK’S STILL SEVEN DAYS, THEY’RE JUST RE-ARRANGED

V-2  WE’LL WORK EXTRA HARD, ON THOSE TWO WORK DAYS
WORK RIGHT THROUGH LUNCH, NEVER ASK FOR A RAISE
WITH THIS NEW TIME OFF WE’LL CELEBRATE
START A BIG PARTY IT’S TOO LATE TO WAIT
V-3  NEW SCHEDULE SOUNDS GREAT, A WORKERS DREAM COME TRUE
WE ALL NEED MORE TIME OFF, THAT’S NOTHING NEW
THERE’S NO TIME TO WASTE, WE’VE BEEN WORKING TOO LONG
ONLY TWO DAYS OFF, IS ONLY JUST WRONG

CHORUS: A FIVE DAY WEEKEND IS WHAT WE ALL WANT
WHO STARTED THIS TWO DAY WEEKEND ANYWHO
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING, WE NEED TIME FOR DRINKING
THE TIME HAS COME, THE WEEK NEEDS A CHANGE
IT’S STILL SEVEN DAYS, THEY’RE JUST RE-ARRANGED
FIVE DAY WEEKEND, A FIVE DAY WEEKEND
WEEK’S STILL SEVEN DAYS, THEY’RE JUST RE-ARRANGED
A FIVE DAY WEEKEND A FIVE DAY WEEKEND

( IF WANTED)  BRIDGE:  LIVING AIN’T EASY, TIME GOES FAST
LIFE IS FRAGILE, NOT MADE TO LAST

CHORUS: A FIVE DAY WEEKEND IS WHAT WE ALL WANT
WHO STARTED THIS TWO DAY WEEKEND ANYWHO
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING, WE NEED MORE TIME FOR DRINKING
THE TIME HAS COME, THE WEEK NEEDS A CHANGE
IT’S STILL SEVEN DAYS, THEY’RE JUST RE-ARRANGED
FIVE DAY WEEKEND, FIVE DAY WEEKEND
IT’S STILL SEVEN DAYS, THEY’RE JUST RE-ARRANGED

 

Honorable Mention: You Are My Fantasy by Myra Litton, London, UK

I like the jist of this lyric, the sort of unrequited love fantasy of it, and I think it shows promise,  but it needs to be re-written to eliminate a few of the strained rhymes.  The Chorus is nicely done.  I’d like to meet this librarian, I’ll bet when she takes off her glasses and lets down her hair, she’s a real looker!

I am the librarian in my little recess
You’re the guy I’d like to possess
You come in every week with your stack of books
You lose yourself among the crannies and nooks

I stroll past your aisle every chance I get
But you have never noticed me yet
You never notice me
I’m part of the furniture, you see

I’m the librarian stereotype
Can’t I be your brainy prototype
Take a break from those glamour girls
Go for me with my twinset and (fake)pearls

Look at me I’m a diamond in the raw
Even if have a bucketload of flaws
I see you at your window seat
You certainly turn up the heat

(Chorus) You’re my fantasy
Can’t you see what you mean to me
You have a crop from a barber’s clipper, steely blue eyes
I’m Cinderella I’ve lost my slipper ,you’ve got one my size

I’ll show you I’m not a dusty musty miss
If you would just go in for a kiss
Check me out when you check out that book
Say ‘Why Miss Jones you are beautiful’’

As you take a look
I am shy and inhibited it’s true
But when I’m shelving won’t you take a pew
Imagine that there’s another side to me
Layers of onion skin waiting for thee

My desire for you like a Shakespeare sonnet
I’m full of unbridled passion ‘neath my Easter bonnet
Ask me a question as you scroll through the catalogue please
Don’t make me feel like I’m analogue I beseech

As you browse through microfiche spare the librarian a thought
I’m growing neglected in this relentless drought
Request a rare item as I go in the depository
Don’t let me regret, make me feel sorry

(Chorus): You’re my fantasy
Can’t you see what you mean to me
You have a crop from a barber’s clipper, steely blue eyes
I’m Cinderella I’ve lost my slipper you’ve got one my size

 

Honorable MentionThe Bridge is Higher by Minnie Murray, Sante Fe, NM

This lyric sounds to me like a protest song against building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, but it just isn’t clear enough for me.  It sounds like it is trying to be both a protest song and a bit of a love song.  I believe it has promise, but needs a re-write to focus it more.