NV means no vocals.
Clicking “Play The Songs” link, above, will open a player with each song listed. Click one to listen to it. You can switch windows and otherwise use your computer while the song plays. The player has a previous song, next song button, stop, play, shuffle and loop (play over and over) buttons. If you click the loop button a second time, the player will play the same song over and over.
The Muse brings me poetry that I turn into songs and brings me melodies that I add poetry to. Sometimes I sit down and write all the words for a new song as if I had already known them. I write as fast as I can and in a few minutes I have the words for a brand new song! It’s an amazing experience.
In the last Great Muse Adventure, I found a song named A Thousand Dreams in my Google Drive folder on my iMac. Not recognizing the name, I opened the file and found this poem.
A Thousand Dreams
by Barrymore Keene
And though I dream a thousand dreams
I only think of those of you
Where you are is safe and sound
Great Peace and Joy your heart has found
Night sky and morning Sun
Each chases just the other One
Day dreams only of the Night
Night only of the morning light
As long as time goes on and on
Days and nights long for the other One
Only in the twilight and the dawn
Are the times they can be one
So in my days and in my nights
As I sit and dream of Thee
I wish much more love for you
Than can be told in an eternity
When I dream of horses flying
That find me here in my dark nights
A gift from you I think is trying
To remind me of your sweet delights
As long and long as time goes on
Are we longing for the other One?
As I sleep and dream of Thee
Do you sleep and dream of me?
I tried to edit the file but my iMac told me I could not edit it because the file did not belong to me. When I did a Command + i (get information) I discovered the poem showed “nobody” as the owner.
I searched the Internet with EVERY line of the poem and found no matches. This means this poem is, as yet, unpublished.
The way I work, I record song idea snippets using Cubase Pro 8. I wait until The Muse helps me with lyrics and then I work to cut a song DEMO. This means I have to play guitar or keyboard all the way through. Then I add enough additional recordings to finish the song idea and the instrumentation. The whole idea is to preserve the beat, feel and musical parts so that I don’t forget the musical gift The Muse brought me. The way I work—my “work flow—” is the modern day equivalent of writing music on paper.
Sometimes I forget to listen to all the snippets as I’m composing the song. When this happens, I sometimes find a really musical snippet and then I have to re-write the song to use it. It’s OK. It’s the work part of producing music.
Usually, by the time I get through writing all the songs and recording the song demos, my chops are good enough to work on the “keeper” recordings. So I go back and produce the definitive version of the work.
Because Cubase is so easy to work with, I usually wind up making the demos sound really good. I keep improving them until I find one of the following is true.
Provenance Of The Songs
Click the song title to read the lyrics.
Angel Of The Mountains
A song about a mountain beauty I thought I would make a life with. Her family thought so too. When I met friends with her step-dad, Jack, he always introduced me as his “future son-in-law.” In Mexico, Jack let me drive his Sadly the beauty had an entirely different plan. We broke up. Now, only memories of our good times together remain— and this song.
In the wintertime it snows
My lady through the forest goes
Visiting the friends she knows
You might see her if you stay
Golden hair in disarray
On a horse she’ll pass this way
Mountain Beauty oh where are you
Eyes flashing brilliant blue
Up among the trees ride you
Long ago and far away
She and I went different ways
Now she’s coming back to stay
My Angel of the mountains
Oh my Angel of the mountains
Ooo ooo ooo I love you
Jim was my one-upon-a-time sweetheart’s father. After my own father passed away, Jim was kind to me. On one visit I worked on one of my books while his daughter and he played chess. She beat him. He was a good dad and a good loser. As we said goodbye to her dad, this usually staid gentleman rushed forward and gave me a fatherly bear hug. His new wife was astounded along with his daughter. This is because he rarely (if ever) hugged his OWN children! Without my own father to hug me any more, his gesture rocked my world. Much later he stumbled and fell on his pristine, sun-drenched Napa patio and received a small cut on his knee. The cut became infected. He fell ill and went to a hospital. Possibly a hospital worker (but I think his daughter) brought Jim a live MRSA infection that traveled through his body and then, even though his knee injury was minor, he passed away in the hospital anyway in 2013. I was thunderstruck. I cried and cried and then wrote him this song. Although my estranged sweetheart’s family members loved the song, I was not invited to the funeral. This made me sadder still. When I play this song live I can hardly get through it because I still get choked up.
Then Jack, the new husband of my girlfriend’s mother, passed away in 2016. I was heart broken again. He always referred to me as “my future son-in-law.” I liked that at the time (not knowing what I know now). I sang Jim’s song over and over again (using Jack) to the departed Spirit of the husband. Again, I was filled with sorrow.
In 2017 Laura, my ex-sweetheart’s mom passed from this world. All in all my ex lost:
At one time or another, all of us once gave her our love and now none of us do. I can’t imagine what that must be like.
Want to know how I felt about my ex sweetheart back in the days when it was briefly my turn? Just listen to all the songs I wrote and performed for her in this 2010 page.
The mom was wealthy and the daughter was poor. The daughter prospered only through the mom’s generosity. They were both artists who did not sell. Instead, the mom prospered from the dad’s astonishing winery successes. Ever the narcissist, the daughter thought that her mom’s money rightfully should be hers and that other poor people (like herself) were beneath her. The daughter put on airs based on someone else’s wealth.
Both the mom and the daughter owed me money. Over and over I tried to get them to settle their debts of honor with me—the promises they had made and then broken. Over and over they refused to do the right thing. I finally gave up on both of them.
Rich people make money their god. They become people willing to lie, cheat, steal and swindle just to keep the money they have or maybe to get just a little bit more. So be it.
A note to all the good people left out there:
Live ethically and honestly.
Once you pass from this world
it’s too late to make amends.
I wanted to write some love songs for someone else. I had a really hard time doing this. I asked my Muse John Barry to help me design a feeling-full musical item that was NOT dedicated to my Last Long Lost Love. I took a nap and when I awoke this arrangement was what was playing inside my head. It doesn’t sound like a John Barry melody inspired piece, but it’s still beautiful.
Girl From The North Country
One of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. It’s sad because it is the story of a love you once had but lost. My arrangement and singing in one verse, in my opinion, makes this version sound slightly Hawaiian—sort of like Don Ho sings Bob Dylan.
Love Your Man
A call to women-folk to love their men. There’s a new part I just added that I really like. It starts out sounding like a cello, then strings, then the drone pipes of a bagpipe. At 1:52 left I still get thrills from the boop boop guitars (my black MIDI Stratocaster with my Roland Guitar GR-50 Guitar Synthesizer hooked up to it) I laid down so long ago.
Morning Noon and Night
Based on a joke. When did I best like making love with my ex-sweetheart? Early in the morning, in the middle-morning, at noon, early afternoon, middle afternoon, late afternoon, early evening and of course late in the evening too.
Not My Train
Just an instrumental that has a lot of spirit. Based on Marianne Williamson’s statement (about relationships that don’t happen), “If her train doesn’t stop at your station, it’s not your train.”
Now I Believe Your Love
Everyone has doubts once in awhile. This song is about moments when all doubt vanishes.
On Swan Lake Bridge
There was once a bridge. There was once a girl. We would stop on the way across Swan Lake Bridge and kiss. Other drivers would patiently stop and wait for our kiss to end. They let us be. No horn was ever used because of our delay. It was the beginning of a great tradition.
Pachelbel’s Canon In D Major
I searched for a very long time to find a royalty free musical recording of this amazing work. When Pachelbel wrote this, it was NOT popular. Hundreds of years later (now) it is very popular.
Past El Paso
Juarez, Mexico. A site where hundreds of beautiful young women have vanished without a trace. The families cry and cry, but the women never come home again. This sort of criminal activity is simply unthinkable. Brenda was the name of one of the women who vanished. When I heard of this I wrote this song and sent it to all the local radio stations trying to raise consciousness. The radio stations didn’t get it. They mostly said, “Huh?” or possibly “Duh.”
The Grand 5
The Digital Audio Workstation company Steinberg created a series of Grand Piano recordings for composers to use. The name of the collection was The Grand Three. The sound quality is extraordinary. There were supposed to be three pianos, but there were actually five!
I was so delighted by the support I got and the sounds of these beautiful pianos that I made Steinberg this present.
Which pianos did they choose for the five? The Best!
• A Yamaha C7 Gand Piano
• A Steinway Model D Grand Piano
• A Bösendorfer 290 Imperial Grand Piano
• A Nordiska Pianofrabriken Grand Upright Piano
• A Yamaha CP80—the “baby” of the bunch
I have tried, but really can not pick a favorite. They are all just SO beautiful sounding.
The Bösendorfer is a HUGE piano. It’s so heavy that you can hear it in the high strings.
Just like with banjos, the heavier the banjo, the better the really high notes ring. With an inexpensive banjo, the weight of the instrument is very low. As a result, the high notes just go “ting” and die out instantly. With a super heavy banjo like an old, original Gibson Mastertone, the high notes do NOT die out. They go “tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnng!” There’s no mistaking this effect on the Bösendorfer’s high notes. The ring of the Bösendorfer high notes is just amazing!
The CP80 is a darling. I played one in Puerto Vallarta one night long, long ago. I never forgot it. I fell in love with it instantly. It sounds, to me, like the melding of a harpsichord, an autoharp and Rhodes (reed) piano. When you play it hard it goes “dong!” When you play it gentle it goes, “bing.” It’s only about as big as a minute and yet it has all this SOUND!
I announce each piano briefly and then do my best to perform “an invention.” No plan, no music, no idea what I’ll actually play. Just pure improvisation around some basic theme (perhaps from one of my songs or some classical music). It’s a little disorganized, but it is my hope that you can hear the passion I have for these extraordinary pianos through the pauses and momentary hesitations as I improvise.
I am entirely indebted to the tireless helpers at Steinberg who helped me understand the pianos of The Grand Three and implement them into my Steinberg Cubase Pro 8 music system. Due to their extraordinary assistance (well above and beyond the call of duty) I’m now in Piano Heaven!
Tara’s Snowy Waltzing Canon In C Major
I was playing Waltzing Matilda one day when I noticed that it is only one chord different than Pachelbel’s Canon In D Major. Then it’s possible that a Muse (from the long ago and far away) visited me to give me the idea for a joining of the songs. The reason my version is in C Major is because I can’t sing Waltzing Matilda in D.
The song starts out as Tara’s Theme from Gone With The Wind. Then two verses of Waltzing Matilda in the key of C. Then some of Jessica’s piano practice music from The Man From Snowy River. Then some more Waltzing Matilda. The song ends by switching the chord progression (by one chord) to Pachelbel’s Canon In D Major (except that my version is in C).
The Way You Smile
A very simple love song. Actually, this was the first song I wrote for Love Songs. It’s about how everything is so fine when your Sweetheart smiles at you and puts her arms around you. The beautiful way your Sweetheart looks when you make her happy so that she smiles at you. My Sweetheart of that time had a very beautiful smile. This is a song that celebrates that. May she live long and prosper.
When I First Met You
Sometimes a relationship takes years to develop and take root. Sometimes you just have to wait a long time for the chance to be with someone you love. As I was updating this song, I had been asking my most melodic Muse (departed composer John Barry) to help me. When you hear the counter melodies in the pianos and cello perhaps you will understand that I think my wish was answered. John Barry melodies are beautiful beyond compare. If he helps me again (from the Spirit world) I will be VERY happy. I just replaced the synthesized pianos with CD-quality-sampled, note-by-note recordings of a real Yamaha C7 Grand Piano. It’s an audiophile improvement (you may need Klipsch THX or Bose to hear) but it sounds much more musical and beautiful to me.
When You Wish Upon A Star
A most beautiful song from the movie Pinnochio.
Wrong and Right
A love song based on the A Course In Miracles saying, “Would you rather be right, or be loved.” This song came about as I was writing my fourth book, Felony Divorce.