How to rewrite a spiritual…

I grew up in a house where everyone spontaneously broke in to song, in response to whatever was going on around us… not musical theater songs, but  songs like Three Dog Night’s “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” (when we were happy) or Willie Nelson’s “Hello Walls” (when I was arguing with my parents), all done in a rock opera way. If I was pouting or whining, my parents would often pepper in songs like “Nobody Knows the Trouble” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” to counteract (and play into) my mood, which usually led me to A. singing along, or B. storming off more pissed. My parents told me that I would sing similar sounding songs in my sleep even. I had no idea those were “spirituals”  but I suppose that explains how the spiritual seeds were planted.

I already blogged about this song last month…  and now I’ve decided to jump in and take it on after all. I obviously can’t do a pre-civil war spiritual justice, so I’m going to have to rewrite the lyrics and find my own voice within it. I’ve re-written plenty of lyrics, but this cover is going to be very different for me, harder to write, I think. Daniel is going to sing the lower parts of the song, and the rest will be me – no instruments. Pretty simple.

Here’s the original point of inspiration, so we can compare later.

 “I’m Troubled in Mind”. 

ps. this was apparently recorded by a Spiritual Workshop group in Paris, but I can’t  find anything else out about the group or when it was recorded – bummer.

I’m really trying to follow my gut here. I’m generally very guarded in terms of the music I make, refraining from explaining lyrics or inspiration. A year ago I would have been terrified to take on such a song, to share so many random points of interest, or to even create a project like DAYDRIFTER, exposing my musical venerabilities, but here I am, to my own surprise. Yay!

Oh and just a word relating back to my rock opera upbringing… you’d be surprised to find out that I actually dislike musical theater (I could probably use a stronger word than dislike), but, I highly recommend turning your home into a stage and singing throughout your day, about your day.


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