Search
  • Tom Benjamin

SONGS & PRAYERS


SONGS & PRAYERS is a musical meditation of sorts on the process of songwriting over the course of my lifetime. As the lyric says: “We’re just a moment in time” and only “passing through”. For me, much of that “passing through” has been spent writing songs. I’ve always found simple satisfaction in the process. When you find that elusive combination of words and music coming together in their own unique way to become a song ... for me, there’s nothing like it.  It’s elusive and ultimately inclusive when it works.


Suchi and I first met literally with her on guitar and me on drums one night at a live music/listening room bar in Nashville called “Mississippi Whiskers”. She was opening for Paul Craft whose band I was playing in that night. Her piano player asked me to “sit in” since Suchi’s band was a trio without a drummer. The third verse of SONGS & PRAYERS  is a nod to those days that formed the foundation of our life together. The first and second verses speak to the incredibly supportive and caring person she is … there really are no words that can do this of course …but I gave it a try. I’ll keep trying because I am so very grateful to her and for her. Like I said it’s an elusive/inclusive thing.  


SONGS & PRAYERS found its place on my “Cosmic Circus Tent” album as a ground wire to the concept of the macro (Cosmic Circus Tent, track 1) on the way to the micro (Sparrow, track 6). It speaks to the power of relationship in all its strengths and weaknesses over the course of a lifetime. The constant in our relationship has always been music, whether writing, singing, performing, or recording it. There have been many other creative endeavors along the way as well for both of us. For Suchi, it’s an artist’s eye working with ceramics, painting, digital imaging, web design, co-creative living endeavors, women’s circles, and the healing arts. For me, it’s been teaching, writing, and reading. However, all roads have led us back to music in one form or another. It wasn’t much of a journey because although we moved thousands of miles away from Music City, we never strayed very far from music. There was always a new song on the burner and another music project in the works.


I’ve done a lot of thinking about songwriting and it’s place in my life and it’s reflected in this song. I came up through a “quantifiable system” of how it’s done as a young songwriter in Nashville in the 1970’s. There was a fairly defined path that you went down in order to be “successful”. Virtually all my friends were songwriters doing any number of things to support themselves while trying to “walk the path” and have a career, either as a songwriter or as an artist. When you’re young, you blindly believe that all these things lead to your vision of what “making it” means. You work your tail off writing songs that show the care, thought, and skill you bring to the process every time. At first much of what you write is not that good, but it’s in the doing that the writing gets better and better. The pieces start to fall in place as the “magic” of the craft couples with the consistent work that is absolutely necessary, and your writing begins to show the results of this honest effort. These lessons learned from experience, are some of the things I try to pass on to my MTSU songwriting students as they walk down this path with their own passion for songwriting.  


Then at some point there’s a fork in the road. A choice you have to make or maybe it’s made it for you. There are many kinds of “writing” for many reasons with many different outcomes. Within my group of friends, all of whom were and are extraordinary in their unique songwriting skills, a divergence in how these skills would manifest took place. This divergence is what leads us all to realize the definition of “success” is so varied within each of our lives and personal experiences. All my friends were “successful” as songwriters first and foremost. They could all play you songs that would knock your socks off. Did these songs necessarily translate to the “path” that led to success in Nashville? Some did, and it was a rush when that happened, but many if not most did not!


It’s been said that some of the greatest songs in Nashville you may never hear. Although they are loved and respected by the music business community, the songs are not seen as commercially viable and radio friendly. That’s not to say that “commercial” or “radio friendly” parameters haven’t given us great songs and some of my favorite music. But, none the less, it’s a tough lesson to learn over and over and doesn’t help with self esteem or paying the bills. But, if you’re a songwriter at heart it’s just in your blood. The love of the process and the love of songs will keep you writing until you don’t anymore. I haven’t reached that point, and I’m a long way from the 1970’s. I hope I never do, but I get it, if one day I lose the joy and the spark. I hope I will at least remain very grateful for all I have received by having the ability to write songs.


The opportunity to record SONGS & PRAYERS on the “Cosmic Circus Tent” album was very special. Along with Suchi’s beautiful harmonies to complete the circle, we had the addition of Jim Hoke and his masterful playing on the steel guitar. Thanks to Kirby Shelstad, co-producer and engineer for this album, we were able to get Jim in the studio to add just the right emotional touch that made this song sing. 

As always ~ thanks for your time, support, and listening …. Tom B


(Click on the link below to listen)

https://www.thebenjaminwaters.com/videos



SONGS & PRAYERS

Tom Benjamin - music/lyrics

I write songs, she says prayers

Sometimes there's not, much difference there

When the sun don't shine and the world don't care

I write songs, she says prayers

Sometimes I'm dark, most times she shines

I'm an old scrub oak, she's a beautiful pine

Reachin' up to the star lit sky

Sometimes I'm dark, most times she shines.

We're just a moment in time

We're just a moment in space

Passing through to a better place

A broken hearted human race

Just a moment in time

Just a moment in space

I play the drums, she plays guitar

We sing our songs at the local bar

We take home the change from the old tip jar

I play the drums, she plays guitar

We're just a moment in time

We're just a moment in space

Passing through to a better place

A broken hearted human race

Just a moment in time

Just a moment in space…


  Website Design © Suchi WB 
~   All Rights Reserved 
Thank  you  Lauren Harris  at  TeaWaterDesigns  for your co-creative input !