One Man Garage Band

One Man Garage Band is the 2009 debut album by Ty Davison, a Salem, Oregon-based singer and songwriter. The 16 song album features lyrical themes of love and loss, peace and war, and darkness and light set to a dynamic rock and roll soundtrack.

The music was recorded using Apple’s GarageBand software on an Apple MacBook Pro using a Roland XP-80 keyboard, a borrowed Korg keyboard (thanks, Dave), a MOTU Traveler, a Griffin iMic, a Shure SM58 mic and a Roland KC-500 amp. I also used a number of Logic Apple Loops for the guitars, drums and bass. The final song, Magic GarageBand, is a “meta song” which describes how to create, in Apple’s GarageBand, the very music I’m singing over.

Buy the album in MP3 format at CDBaby or in AAC format at the iTunes Music Store.

—Thank you to—
My wife Erin for giving me the time and the encouragement to do what I love to do; Jonah, Elisha and Jillian for putting up with my incessant piano playing; Gretchen for believing at the very beginning; my late grandmother Norma for her unwavering support of my musical endeavors; Garr for his contagious enthusiasm and his always helpful (if not always heeded) constructive criticism; Dave for his life-long friendship; and Marsha for an album cover and design well beyond my hope or expectation.

Finally, my never-ending thanks to God for the opportunity to experience this reality and the love that flows through it.

I am so deeply grateful.

Ty Davison
June 2009

—Song Lyrics & Notes—
All lyrics and notes ©2009 by Ty Davison. All rights reserved.

New World Redux
Given the terrorism, war and torture that opened the 21st century, it’s not hard to imagine the possibilities for a better world. Some genealogists believe that we are all at least 50th cousins to one another. From that vantage point, we really are “one world.” NWR sets at the forefront the universal concerns of humanity’s future and the hopes that so many of us share. It seems to me that there are worse ways to open an album.

Musically, NWR has three things I really enjoy: acoustic guitar, bubbly electronica elements, and a little bit of chaos.

If this is one world what is all the fighting for?
We could be loving each other
Ad infinitum and that’s what we were made for
Ad infinitum and that’s what we were made for
What we were made for

Gaze into another’s eyes and see the mystery within
You, me and the whole of existence
Everything that is, will be, or has been

A cry from the heavens, nothing less ringing out
To you and me through the ages to this moment in history
Urging humanity to find its better angels
Urging humanity to find its wings

If this is one world, how about a little less destruction
And a little more appreciation
For life itself and the reality we’re all in
The sun sets, a new day dawns
The sun sets, a new day dawns somewhere

Listen to a sample or buy New World Redux at the iTunes Store.

America Flags
This song started with the title, which came from my then 4 year-old son Jonah. Like most kids of that age, he was a fountain of creativity and when I’d ask him for potential song titles he was happy and eager to help. Admittedly not every suggestion was usable. (Other song titles include “Penguin Day,” “I’ve Got Nuthin’ to Say Except Zero,” “Come On and Be the Hero,” and “I Don’t Wanna Go Surfin’ in the USA with You.”)

Kids put together things in ways that adults never would, and they can be adamant about it, which was the case here. “Surely,” I told him, “you mean ‘American Flags.'” Nope. “America’s Flag”? No. Jonah was clear: “America Flags.” This made no sense to me until I stopped trying to use flags as a noun.

After that revelation, the song came together quickly. By taking the lyrics to old patriotic tunes and changing a word here or there I could say exactly what I wanted. AF is an indictment of American culture, to be sure, but it’s foolish to think that a patriot must turn a blind eye to what’s wrong in his country.

The guitar/organ combination never gets old for me. AF gets a nice groove going then settles out into a wistful piano section before the coda emerges. I think the change of pace is both appropriate for the piece and a good for the album in the sense that if I can go from a relatively rocking groove to quiet acoustic piano, who knows what else is to come?

America flags
O say does that star spangled banter wave
O’er the land of the fee and the home of the paid?
O beautiful for specious skies
For a gambler’s waves of gain

Mind the music and the hemp and with the girls be handy!
Mind the music and the hemp and let the girls be randy!
America flags, America shags

Mine eyes have seen the gory coming of the Lord
His truth is marched upon

My country, ’tis a fee
Sweet land of libertines of thee I sing, of thee I sing

Mind the music and the hemp and with the girls be handy!
Mind the music and the hemp and let the girls be randy!

Over there, over there
Send the word over there
That the banks are coming
You’re the problem of the land that I love
The home of the addressee and the knaves

My country, ’tis a fee
Sweet land of libertines of thee I sing

Echoes of Romeo
Another case where the song title came first, this time in a dream. I remember it seemed like such a wonderfully evocative phrase. Everyone knows Shakespeare’s great tragedy, and many of the themes of Romeo & Juliet (love; time; light and dark; fate) are the same ones that I was interested in exploring musically. So I let the Bard tell the tale: Most of the lyrics here are Shakespeare’s.

I don’t know how many have felt the compulsion to be with a beloved, endured an arduous journey to be together, and met heart-wrenching disappointment in the end. I have, so EOR has the virtue of being true to my experience. Given Shakespeare’s talent for capturing human emotion, I’m sure I’m not alone.

Through the valleys and over the mountainsides
I am riding to be with you
Returning to the one I never should have departed from

Echos of Romeo
Like in ages gone by
Love goes toward love
It’s do or die

I am on the journey homeward
It is the east, and you are the sun
Nothing can stop me from being by your side forevermore
No, no one

Echos of Romeo
Like in ages gone by
Love goes toward love
It’s do or die

Come, gentle black brow’d night
Take me and cut me out in little stars
Mine will make the face of Heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with the night

Pay no worship to the garish sun
No one fairer than my love
Ne’er has anyone seen her match
since first the world begun

Echos of Romeo
Like in ages gone by
Love goes toward love
It’s do or die

Lovers star-crossed by the hands of fate
Lovers star-crossed by the hands of fate

O, I am Fortune’s fool

How It Was
The autobiographical story of my first love. The breakup was extraordinarily painful, but I look back now with gratitude for the times we shared and for who the sum of the experience helped me become.

You and me in the night
The skin alight
Fire deep inside
You and me in the night
How it was…for a time

You and me on the run
Emotions overcome
Everything is one
Then the sun

How it was…for a time

I remember love’s first light
The sweet summertime
When I was yours
and you were mine
You were mine

You and me and one lie
The heavens sigh
Everything undone
The long goodbye

How it was…for the first time

Shattered
Shattered was the first song I wrote for the album. The opening line (“In a night shattered by stars”) was an homage to Pablo Neruda’s magnificent Tonight I can write the saddest lines, which captures the feeling of love’s loss better than anything I’ve ever read. In Shattered the overriding sentiment is desperation, and desperate people to desperate things, which is who I became and what I did when my world crumbled.

In a night shattered by stars
You gave me back the pieces of my heart
and left me lying there

In a dream broken apart
You swung the hammer high and hard
and expected truth instead of sin

I can’t help these feelings
So I go down
So I go down to beg you back again

In a world bereft of hope
You played the starring role and left me waiting in the wings

In a vision of what could be you heard nothing but fantasy
and what I imagined you wanted to hear

I can’t help these feelings
So I go down
So I go down to beg you back again

I would have told you anything to get you to stay
I would have told you anything to get you to stay

In a night shattered by stars
You gave me back the pieces of my heart
and left me lying there

A Return to Eden
An ode to innocence lost, and the idea there is perhaps some knowledge we shouldn’t have.

I sold my soul at the crossroads of youthful innocence and egocentrism
I sold my soul

A return to Eden is all that I’m asking
A return to Eden is all that I’m asking of You

A devil’s bargain,
this winding road,
from childhood onward until the dust welcomes us
A devil’s bargain

Knowing things I shouldn’t know
Searching for the way home

A return to Eden is all that I’m asking
A return to Eden is all that I’m asking of You

I can never go home
Finding a flaming sword
telling me that all things end eventually
I can never go home

A return to Eden is all that I’m asking
A return to Eden is all that I’m asking of You

Sweet Lamentable You
I never ceased to be amazed by people who claim to be unaffected by societal pressures. We are all products of our historical, political and cultural environs, and though the more self-aware among us attempt to transcend these limitations, a goodly number of people never even realize how they are being influenced and manipulated.

Sweet lamentable you
Caught in history’s pull
A product of your days
Naive in the ways of the world

Everybody sells everything
Congratulations, you’re buying
Neural pathways created anew
By everything you think and do

Sweet lamentable you

Thee, for whom the bell tolls repeatedly
We made you who we wanted you to be

And in the darkened haze
at the end of your days
will it be enough to say
you did it the only way
you knew?

The only way you knew
Sweet lamentable you

Let’s get the education blues
Thinking you know what’s true
Graduation, what a day
A paper proves they taught you what to say

Look at that on TV
Advertising doesn’t work on me
The jackals laugh and have it their way
The jackals laugh and you can Have It Your Way™

Sweet lamentable you

Thee, for whom the bell tolls unceasingly
We made you who we wanted you to be

Optimism
I despaired for about a year after my first major relationship ended, drowning my sorrows as many are wont to do. I remember so clearly the awful, urgent longing to be with her and the knowing it was not to be. Those who have lived this type of thing understand exactly.

One particular evening not long after the split we were to meet. I sat through what I’m sure was an excellent program by the Oregon Symphony with Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg as the soloist and all I could think was that soon I would be with her. (“The most beautiful sound came cascading, raining down. Behold! Behold! Desperation or nothing without you.”)

Optimism defines me
Shows me who I can be
Or it did before I was bereft of you

Whiskey sours after hours are no way to kill the pain
When the heart is rent
That’s the voice of experience
It’s true

So go away
Leave my head
Depart my dreams
Forsake me for dead
I’ll make my way to rise again

The most beautiful sound
Came cascading, raining down
Behold! Behold!
Desperation or nothing without you

So go away
Leave my head
Depart my dreams
Forsake me for dead
I’ll make my way to rise again

So go away
Leave my head
Depart my dreams
Forsake me for dead
I’ll make my way to rise again

Then you returned and thought you’d stay
Reel me into your life again
It was tough, love wasn’t enough
For optimism to define me

The Darkness and the Light
It will sound insane, but this was originally an attempt to make a song that would fit in on Moby’s Play. While almost wholly unsuccessful in that respect, I continue to be enamored with this combination of strings, acoustic guitar, woodwinds, piano and female backing vocals. The popping bass isn’t bad either, if I do say so myself.

The wind blows me off course again
Spinning me around, whirlpool going down…
Darkness is everywhere
Spinning me around, whirlpool going down…

Then the light of You
Am I coming to realize there must be more to this life?

Then the light of You
Am I coming to realize there must be more to this life?

How come I fall down again?
How come I fall down again?
How come I fall down again?

What will I see in the end?

Then the light of You
Am I coming to realize there must be more to this life?
The light of You

Purge
Purge might start out sounding like a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, but I don’t think John Fogerty ever went this dark lyrically. We are creatures with an extraordinary capacity for evil as even a casual reading of human history attests. What stops us—or most of us, anyway—from acting on the wicked thoughts of our human nature?

I never had a cause to begin this purging of my brain
But the ride from shame to forgiveness passes this way

Time eats holes in what I know
Does it matter if it doesn’t show?

Even Icarus had a dream and some things are worth dying for
But hidden in my head are visions of innocent dead by my hand

I doubt that I’m alone in wondering if I’ll reap what I’ve sown

This insanity so inviting, so perfectly compelling
I wonder if the mind said go would the body be willing?

Power is mine to control
I don’t care if you live or don’t
Oh the horror I can devise to insure my lust is satisfied

This is an accounting of my soul and my being—
In case you didn’t know—
A twisted and evil reverie buried in my psyche

All the crazy thoughts—that our better angels stop—
Waiting for the thrill of release by free will
All the crazy thoughts that our better angels stop

Mystic
A happy little instrumental.

Elemental
A love song for my wife Erin. For those interested, I “looked out to sea” from atop the Big Dune of Cape Kiwanda at Pacific City, Oregon. Elemental also contains my favorite musical moment on the album, the section about how one can feel all-powerful yet be reduced to nothing without love.

I need you more than you know

my love, my world
my love, my world
my love, my world
my home, my…
Words have never convinced you
Perhaps a song will do to help you see what you mean,
To help you see everything

The elemental truth of what you do:
I need you more than you know

The elemental truth of what you do:
If we get one life to get it right, I want it with you

Words have never convinced you
Perhaps a song will do to help you see what you mean,
To help you see everything

I never forgot the day I looked out to sea,
Wishing for things that seemed so far away

my love, my world
my love, my world
my love, my world
my home, my…
Words have never convinced you
Perhaps a song will do to help you see what you mean,
To help you see everything

Elemental truth…Elemental truth…

I imagine places beyond, the universe at my beck and call
Planets align, stars revolve
From these heights, from these heights I fall without you….

You are my home
Give me what’s real, and nothing’s wrong
All else I’ll forgo to be with you
With you I am strong
It’s how I feel

You are my love
You are my world
You are my home
It’s the elemental truth in everything you do:
If we get this life to get it right I want it with you

Perhaps a song will do if it’s the elemental truth

Floating and Dreaming
An attempt to capture the feeling of love in a song.

Floating and dreaming
Floating and dreaming the days away

Baby Girl
The second song I wrote for the album, dedicated to my little girl Elisha Jeanne. I suppose there will be any number of guys wondering what all the hubbub is, but I dare say that those who’ve fathered a daughter know where I’m coming from.

Baby Girl
Baby Girl, baby girl

Baby girl you rock my world, baby girl you rock my world
With the possibilities of who you’re gonna to be

With your smile, with your love, I’d the say world’s in trouble
‘Cause here you come, you beauty
Here you come for all to see
Here you come, looking lovely
Here you come, baby

Giving out everything
Love for you is love for me
I think that I can see
A princess who’ll be queen

Here you come, you beauty
Here you come for all to see
Here you come, looking lovely
Here you come, baby

Baby girl, baby girl
Baby girl you rock my world

You’re as sweet as honey
What else from your daddy?
A smile from you and the world disappears for me

Baby girl, baby girl

How is it that all the love you give is free?
What did the world do to deserve the likes of you, Elisha Jeanne?

Here you come, you beauty
Here you come for all to see
Here you come, looking lovely
Here you come, baby

Baby girl
Baby girl
You rock my world

Around the Sun
A major life lesson I’ve learned as I’ve grown older: Love conquers fear and that faith in that love is sufficient. For me, the consequence of that realization has been enormous gratitude, and that, in large measure, is what I return to in the quiet moments of each day.

All these times around the sun
Sometimes all I can do is hold on
All these times around the sun

The sounds of life catching my ear
A din of words I could not hear
I did not know or comprehend that love conquers fear

Love conquers fear
Sometimes all I can do is hold on
All these times around the sun
And I did not know what was going on

The ringing chords in my ears
ThIs isn’t hell, it’s heaven
Here in this time and in this place and in what’s to come
Everything ends, ends in tears, whether bred or made
In love’s true light what surely ends also begins again

I feel a faith unrestrained
in things unseen,
in things unproven
in things I’ve lived
in things we’ve done
I feel a faith unrestrained

The ringing chords in my ears
ThIs isn’t hell, it’s heaven
Here in this time and in this place and in what’s to come

Everything ends, ends in tears, whether bred or made
In love’s true light what surely ends also begins again
Begins again…Begins again

All these times around the sun
Sometimes all we can do is hold on

Love conquers fear

All we can do is hold on with gratitude for what is
and what’s to come
Around the sun

Magic GarageBand
A “meta” song, wherein the lyrics provide a description of how to use Apple’s excellent GarageBand software to create the song itself. Not for nothing, but the entirety of One Man Garage Band was recorded using GarageBand; I almost called it “One Man + GarageBand.”

Hey look what I’ve done
Hey look what I’ve done
There’s nothing like a little Magic GarageBand

Hey look what I’ve done
Hey look what I’ve done

Drag the loops and move ’em around and what do you know
Here’s what I’ve found: That everything sounds okay

Hey look what I’ve done
Just a few loops in Magic GarageBand

Change it to strumming
Change it to bouncing
The drums are head bobbing
The piano is riffing
Vintage guitar, that’ll go pretty far
In Magic GarageBand

Magic GarageBand

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