American Impressionist Songwriters, Volume I


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American Impressionist Songwriters
offers an experience comparable to a walk through a fine art gallery. An impressionist
song is one that paints a picture and leaves something to the imagination.

“It’s always a pleasure when one stumbles across a whole new territory of musical
experience. …Waterbug’s American Impressionist Songwriters compilation is
a fine example of this.”
– Dave White, Rock ‘n’ Reel, England

“Sitting here in Omaha on a weekday morning, enjoying ‘American Impressionist
Songwriters’ – it is such a pleasure to listen to a collection where content
and theme are more important than any other consideration. The integrity and
passion behind the songs is evident to anyone who takes the time to listen,
and is an inspiration to those of us who work at writing this music.”
– Tom May, host-producer “River City Folk”

“…a great mix of emotional content, performing styles and classy production…
Examined by a lover of poetry and music, these 18 songs yield up a rich content
of language from points of view so divergent at times, it is difficult to understand
how they could all be included in a single collection and still maintain any
sort of continuity; but that is the case here nonetheless…”
– John McClure, Victory Review

1. Old Guy – James McCandless
2. Paper Boats – Kat Eggleston
3. The Deerhunter – Doyle Carver
4. Secondhand Story – Michael McNevin
5. Angels in the Snow – Jano Brindisi
6. Lefty – Chuck Brodsky
7. Peach Song – Andrew Calhoun
8. Jack’s Belted Galloways – Diane Zeigler
9. A Boy’s Life in Texas – Steve Fisher
10. Rocko’s Smile – Tom Payne
11. Doyle Carver – Brickyard
12. Rock of Ages – Diane Zeigler
13. Castaway – Michael McNevin
14. The Stranger – Kat Eggleston
15. Portrait of a Girl and Her Parents – Andrew Calhoun
16. Red Skies and Red Waters – Chuck Brodsky
17. Weak With You – Jano Brindisi
18. Saving Grace – Al Day

by Michael McNevin, Muddpuddle Music

Just a kid and so was he – that was back when nothing mattered
And Indians knew our name, and playing tag was just a game
You fall down soft and get up again
That summer he’d be there on the corner every mornin’
When old lady Fitzgerald watered
Where the puddle swelled up by the curb
He’d guide a palm leaf hours on end, watching the ripples and giving in
To something I couldn’t even see
I’d say, “Splash it more and see what happens”
But he just keep watching them overlappin’
I’d say “Hey there, what you see in your waves?
Is there hidden treasure and coral caves?”
He’d point deep down but he wouldn’t say
Not because he didn’t want to – it was just his way

We were different from each other, but even moreso from the rest
We grew up strong and faithful to our ways
We liked each other’s company
We stood the best of time and best of all, our time was free

But time caught up and passed us by, breaking laws and changing schools
He was outcast and so was I you know town kids never let it die
Came a time I wanted more
Another day, and soon I’d be in a place, three thousand miles away

So before I left, we took a ride, to a spot he knows down on the Bayside
By a rock wall, where the air is cool, we would’ve dug shrimp but we missed the low tide
So we picked up hooks at the local bait store, squid would do for what he knew
Sippin’ beer and smokin’ too, we cast our lines in the afternoon
As we sat down by the rock wall on the bay shore

He said, “Shark is good if you cook it right, but a bass today would sure be nice
I’ve been waitin’ all day for one to bite”
I said, the years they sure are goin’ by, but we’re still young enough to fly
Don’t you think the time has come to try?

He said, “The race it isn’t worth the time
I don’t want a worried mind”
I said, “But don’t you ever dream to be?”
He said, “Yeah, but only in my dreams”
And after that he looked away, his eyes were drifting on the bay
He lets the water wash him clear, no place he’d rather be than here

His pole tip, moved, and he hooked it fast
As he reeled, he said, “I wiah I had a gaff”
I said, “Shit, I’m freezin’, and we both laughed
A cloudy day for castaways, but it wouldn’t be the last
He finally caught his bass

Hey there, what you see in your waves? Is there hidden treasure and coral caves?
And are you happy just to drift all day, following the tide?
Well, if you’re a castaway, then, so am I

Michael McNevin has an uncanny knack for matching his lyrics and tunes to the sounds and feelings of life. “the puddle swelled up by the curb” – the music swells in a bell shape too. There’s an interesting shift of roles – his friend is the one who lives in the present, until the moment of hooking the fish, when MM says, “Shit I’m freezin’.” The meaning of the word “cast” changes with the characters’ lives – they were “outcast” by others – “we cast our lines in the afternoon” – which somehow means time and space at once – “if you’re a castaway, then so am I.”


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