TAKE ME AWAY – PART 1

TAKE ME AWAY with my guitar
TAKE ME AWAY

Copyright 2014 by Judy Unger

 

I’m on a road; I’ve traveled so far

not sure where I am or where you are

I long to escape when I go to sleep

but my dreams are so vivid; they make me weep

I know you are gone; I just can’t move on

 

Take me away to a lovely day

where I’m holding you again

it’s hard to face; I’m crying while I’m dreaming

of seeing you someday, but in my dreams

you take me away

 

for the first time I’m on my own

everything’s changed; all that I’ve known

I wanted to leave my sadness behind

but memories of us fill up my mind

I know you are gone

I just can’t move on

Take me away to a lovely day

where I’m holding you again

it’s hard to face; I’m crying while I’m dreaming

of seeing you someday, but in my dreams

you take me away

Take me away to a lovely day

where I’m holding you again

it’s hard to face

that you’re gone forever

every night and day

in my dreams

you take me away

 –

FLOWER GARDEN

Click the blue link below to hear audio of my song:

Take Me Away Acoustic 1/4/17 Copyright 2016 by Judy Unger

TAKE ME AWAY-5/28/16 Copyright 2015 by Judy Unger

I work with an arranger named George once a week. He is very private and prefers that I don’t share any pictures or use his last name.

George has been a musician his entire life and we have been working together since 2010. We often joke about how it went the first day I came to him. It was only a few months after I started playing my guitar and singing again; I had not done music for over thirty years. I saw his ad on Craiglist and it caught my eye with the words of: “If you’re a songwriter, let me help you sound great!”

At our first session, I sat down next to George and asked him how many songs I could work on during our three hours (his minimum); I wanted to get my money’s worth. So on that first day, we didn’t arrange anything at all and George recorded me warbling a few songs.

If I ever want to be reminded of how far I’ve progressed, I simply listen to 10 seconds of any of those recordings! At that time, I hardly imagined that I would passionately embrace arranging my music with him on a regular basis. It was after I separated from my husband that I felt free to do that.

After our first session, I returned to George to arrange one song at a time during a single session (I usually spend 3-4 sessions now on one song). I would come to him about once every two months.

For two years, I worked with George to rediscover every song I had written as a young girl. George always told me: “Jude, one day I know you’ll write something new. All this old stuff is just about purging.”

This is an example of an old song where all I had was this sheet. “No Words” didn’t have any verses and I couldn’t remember the melody.

This is an example of an old song where all I had was this sheet. “No Words” didn’t have any verses and I couldn’t remember the melody.

He was right; eventually, I began writing brand new songs.

It was thrilling to rediscover the magic of songwriting after three decades of silence. It began slowly with the expansion of old unfinished songs. In some cases, I wrote new lyrics for songs that had chords written for them long ago. In other cases, it was the opposite; I used lyrics from the past and composed new chords for them.

I can’t believe that I wrote this page 33 years ago for one of my song compositions. I no longer write out music anymore.

I can’t believe that I wrote this page 33 years ago for one of my song compositions. I no longer write out music anymore.

All of my song compositions as a mature woman have helped me to heal. Many of my rediscovered songs addressed my grief over the loss of my son who died in 1992. I was amazed how my sadness and grief from almost two decades before began to ease once music re-entered my life.

I was far more prepared to cope with the death of my father in 2012, because my song “Set You Free” was truly a gift to guide me. And only a year later, I sang “Set You Free” to my mother as she took her last breath on earth.

The song that truly changed my life was “The Unknown.” It led me to divorce my husband after 31 years of marriage.

THE UNKNOWN

“It all starts with a magical moment”

There is never a shortage of music for me to create with George. Even when I’m not arranging a brand new song, I enjoy working with him to create new arrangements for older songs. We experiment to find ways of making every song arrangement unique, while at the same time we often go back to certain sounds I love.

I have sometimes wondered whether there are other singer/songwriters who have as many multiple versions of songs as I do! I love every version and plan to release them all someday.

There is nothing like the excitement of creating an arrangement for a brand new song. A new song lifts my spirits, but it takes a lot of energy away from other things I want to work on. At every session, George tells me, “C’mon sis, your new stuff is great – just bring me a few chords and we’ll start working on arranging something new!”

It’s hard for me to understand how I am such a passionate songwriter when I seldom consciously choose to write a song. I cannot compose a new song by simply playing my guitar and wishing for it to appear.

A song unfolds for me, and it usually happens at a time when I’m very discouraged.

It all starts with a magical moment.

Blue river

Like magic, suddenly I will hear an exquisite melody and beautiful chords appear on my guitar. My life transforms as my new song’s melody envelops me with energy and joy. Despite the beauty of this process, I would not have created my recent songs if it weren’t for George continuing to prod me.

Last December, I was dealing with eyesight pain and depression as I sat across from him with my eyes half closed. I told him I was definitely not in the mood to write any new music.

But then, I remembered an old instrumental from 1980 named “Waterfalls.” Because I had studied classical guitar, I had a few instrumentals in my repertoire and had even turned one of them into a song with lyrics before. My instrumental, “Farewell” became the basis for my song, “You Were There.” “Every Season” was also an instrumental song before I wrote lyrics for it.

I always envisioned how one day the piece “Waterfalls” could become a cool song. It had great chord changes, but how in the world would I compose a melody for such dissonant chords? There certainly wasn’t a chorus with a hook either.

George’s eyes twinkled. He said, “Okay, let me hear those chords.”

As part of the process, I share below my instrumental “Waterfalls,” which I recorded in 2011. Click the blue link to play audio:

WATERFALLS GUITAR INSTRUMENTAL-Copyright 2010 by J. Unger

Cool waterfall

I pulled out my guitar and demonstrated each chord for him, note by note. He quickly translated them into piano chords for his keyboard.

I came home from that session with a single track of keyboard guitar. It was reminiscent of “Waterfalls” but clearly different. It was the first time we had arranged something that was so unfinished. I had an assignment; I needed to write lyrics and compose a melody for it.

George found ways to shorten and streamline “Waterfalls.” I could feel the verses, but not the chorus.

A month went by and I was still stumped; I told George I was having trouble developing the song. He added a few instruments to the verses in hopes of inspiring me. Now I really loved those verses. They sounded spooky and cool – and had me imagining that I was travelling somewhere. As I listened with George, I hummed a makeshift melody for fun. I sang, “Take me away!”

George looked at me and said emphatically, “That’s your song, Jude. Take Me Away!”

For fun, George added the sound of a tropical rainforest at the beginning. I laughed and thought it was a silly title. I didn’t take him seriously because I felt it wasn’t very original.

TAKE ME AWAY IN PROGRESS-Copyright 2014 by Unger


Waterfall and Rainbow

Another month went by and I still wasn’t able to finish “Take Me Away.”

Finally, with honesty I told George I didn’t really like the chorus chords that he had helped me write. Some of his chords were taken from my old instrumental; I didn’t care for anything except the verses.

George tried again and wrote some new chorus chords for me. I liked them more than the prior ones, but no magic melody came to me.

Then one night, I decided I’d pull out my guitar and see if I could figure out my own beautiful chorus for “Take Me Away.” I started with some of the chords George had written and then I went somewhere else . . .

Colorful Guitar

It was then when I had a magic moment!

Within an hour, the chorus chords were formed and the melody began to play. My heart was dancing with joy. This was exactly what I needed to be doing. I was transported somewhere else and taken away from all the stress in my life.

With anticipation, I couldn’t wait to share what I had composed with George. I came into our session with a big grin and handed him a paper with the new chorus chords on it.

As we added other instruments, the magic continued. I was hooked and my beautiful new song was born. The song arrangement was gorgeous, but the only problem was I hadn’t written any lyrics for it yet!

I wanted to finish my song, but I still was not sure what it was going to be about. I searched deep within my heart for words that would move me. It was no surprise that my lyrics were sad and painful. The sentence of “Take me away to a peaceful place, far from pain of losing you,” was exactly what I was feeling as I missed my mother and father.

I also knew that I was channeling the intense grief of other people. I could feel myself writing and dedicating my song to them. This song was for Tersia, Sammi, Relinda, Julie, Len and Brenda.

At my next session with George, I was almost reluctant to share my lyrics. He listened and told me he did not like how I mentioned pain. He said, “I thought you were going to write about being taken to a tropical place on a vacation!”

I let him know how I wished I had been able to. The truth was that I wasn’t feeling like going anywhere and I couldn’t invent words that weren’t honest.

Still, there definitely was a place that I wanted to go.

I wanted to go to a place that would heal me.

Mom & I on the waves

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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3 Responses to TAKE ME AWAY – PART 1

  1. jmgoyder says:

    George sounds fantastic – love everything here Judy, especially you!

    Like

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