A folked up week…

So carrying on from my last post I thought I’d post a little bit more background on the song She likes it rough. As I said I’ve been learning piano and I chose to study the rock n roll style to teach myself to use both hands and also to be able to change chords quickly and smoothly.

This song is basically rock n roll style following the 12 bar blues, to write the piano part I learnt a few different left hand patterns and I then used what I’d learnt to play some famous songs from the genre. I chose not to learn the songs properly, so that I would have to adapt what I’d learnt in order to play them and I thought this would help me writing my own ideas for She likes it rough.

The songs I studied where Roll over Beethoven and Great Balls of Fire. The former is in D and because of that has some tricky chords. I’d mainly been practising in the key of C which is very easy, as the chords don’t have any incidentals (black keys)….however in the key of D the D chord uses an F# and then there’s a C# in the A chord, which is played during a quick transition from G7 and then back again (so quite tricky at first).

Great Balls of fire has a flurry of chords in its opening ,which I’m still working on, but the rest of the song is relatively easy and features some really fun slides and other ideas during the solo. I chose to play around with changing the left hand rhythm part during the bridge, I think I’m actually doing the reverse of what Jerry Lee Lewis plays on the original…but as I said it’s my own interpretation.

For your viewing pleasure here is a snippet of a video of a guitar player attempting Great Balls of Fire on piano (badly).

My song-writing teacher has made some suggestions for my delivery of this song, and I found them interesting so I will be attempting to make a few changes of the next week and hopefully in my next blog I will have an updated recording to share.

The Hill I chose to die on

Ok so I’ve been enduring a bit of writers block lately, however this came to end with a post I saw on facebook. I think our society is going through a monumental change at the moment, at times it’s very inspiring, sometimes scary, and sometimes sad. I feel like somebody is trying very hard to divide society into as many opposing camps as possible, and I don’t like it. I won’t get into the politics of all this on here, but my newest song is influenced by one of the divides I’ve seen.

There is this horrible polarization of different generations. Some people want to blame all of our current strife on the needy entitled “Millennials”, who in turn blame the environmental disaster and economic down-turn on the so-called myopic and greedy “Boomer” generation. In one of these arguments between generations, somebody asked a “boomer” why so many of his ilk chose the issues in discussion (I don’t remember what it was, except that it was something trivial) as the particular hill they choose to die on.

Well the phrase jumped out at me and I started scribbling down a lot of lyrics….Here is a photo of my lyric journal…

I originally started writing the song as a kind of slow balad thing….was a bit Elton John sounding. I didn’t really enjoy the direction so I decided to try it on Acoustic guitar. I switched the keys and chords and it became a much more upbeat Celtic/Folk/Punk number. The lyrics still need a bit of work but here they are in an easier format for reading…

The Hill I chose to Die on
By Chris Barry

Verse 1
So this is the hill I chose to die on,
This is where you’ll find my grave,
I was a man who folks could rely on,
Quiet, reserved, with not much to say,

Verse 2
Built a world that gave you freedom,
Fought the battles, and won the war,
Did all that, so you wouldn’t have to,
So who the fuck are you to ask us for more?

The world was changing so fast without me,
people seem much colder than before,
Everyday I hear young people shouting,
But I don’t know what they’re so angry for,

So this is the hill I chose to die on,
Where I made my final stand,
This is where I put my foot down,
Where I drew my line in the sand,

I started writing this song as an almost angry response to the older generation. I was born in 1982, so I’m in a weird cusp between generations. I don’t identify with those who came before me, but I don’t identify with Millennials either. Internet and cellphones didn’t exist for me until my teenage years, I played outside after school every day and my parents didn’t worry. None the less I do feel angry that past generations have seemingly left the world worse than how they found it.

So as I said the song began a bit angry, but after some writing and thinking I started to feel sympathy for my fictional “boomer.” The world is changing at a much quicker pace than it ever has before and that must be quite scary to somebody who feels out of touch and increasingly insignificant. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this battle between generations may be extremely pronounced presently, but it’s nothing new. This is a battle that has always raged, and will always rage. If you want to start getting really deep, you might even argue that we’re actually just fighting who we’re embarrassed to have been, and who we’re frightened we will become. Well anyway here is a very rough demo I recorded very soon after having written it…


That’s it for this blog, I have another song in the works with a cowriting partner, so I will possibly post a second blog later this week detailing whats up with that.


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