"Grow Away" - thoughts behind the song


TethertheStar
I want to share with you a few of the thoughts behind the song Grow Away.

My partner in time and space, Brian DeWeese, and I just released it under the new name Tether the Star. We'll be adding more recordings so be sure to sign up for the email list if you're interested. (www.tetherthestarmusic.com)

You can purchase/stream/hear the song on most digital media oulets. We have digital distribution through DistroKid and it is on Apple Music, and Spotify. You can also hear it on YouTube . Please check it out and share it around.

I also published it on ultimate guitar because that's what I use to learn songs. If you are inclined to learn the song, the chords and lyrics are at ultimate-guitar.com.

We recorded and mixed everything in our new home studio. I am pretty excited about being able to record at home because the whole process is quite delicate. There seems to be a window when you get your best takes. Sometimes the best takes are the first ones and if you drill too many in a row, it actually works against you. Much of it depends on your mood, so it has been interesting to have everything at home to be able to record when we're in the mood. 

This is the first time I have recorded piano, so it is a real milestone for me. I feel a lot more comfortable on guitar. I have always tinkered around on piano over the years, usually having to sneak in and play on any free piano I could find. I'd spend hours at the one at Hayner Cultural center in Troy, Ohio. Edison's stage in Piqua, Ohio. Then at Kelly Hall on Antioch's campus, in Yellow Springs. Ohio State had a lot of pianos you could sneak into in the music building. Even though I didn't really know how to play anything, I would just spend hours at a time exploring the sounds and how they all fit together, it was therapeutic for me. 

My earliest memory of bonding with piano is when I'd play the song "Memory" from the broadway musical "Cats" when I was about 10 years old. We had the sheet music and I played it every time I wanted to tune out my parents.

Piano is so visual when it comes to songwriting, and so I feel songs differently when I start writing them on piano (vs. guitar). For now, I am jumping back and forth between the two according to what the song asks for. This song asked for piano, guitar, vocals, and cello!

Luckily we know an amazing cellist and performance artist! We asked Ha!Man to play on the song as a guest and he graciously accepted. (You can find tons of info about him on his site www.hamanworld.com)

Okay now onto my thoughts about this song:

“Grow Away” was written with a particular person in mind, and at the time of writing, it was a moment where I couldn’t express my feelings directly. Many of my songs come from that because, to me, that’s why I started writing songs in the first place. The very first song I wrote was to my best friend who had just lost his mother to cancer and we were only in high school. He was devastated and I was speechless as to what to say to comfort him so I wrote him a song. It helped. There is a gap between saying something in conversation and the other person absorbing what you actually mean behind the words. That’s why music can go deeper into the heart of a matter, rather than just be a mental exchange.

In this case, I could see myself in her position because I had been a child of divorce and at the time of writing this, her parents were going through a really rough patch, so I felt like reaching out. I wrote her a letter and sent her an early copy of the song last month.

Here is part of what I wrote to her... 

“This song is for you. I wrote it back in 2009 when you came to visit us in Seattle. I remember being so emotional about the similarities in our lives. You were going through a hard time with your parents being on the brink of break up. My parents went through their divorce when I was eleven. We were the same age, and I, being exactly 20 years older to the day, saw myself in you. It was like getting kicked back in time. I thought to myself, what would I have wanted to hear when I was in the midst of it? That’s when I wrote this song and the lyrics too. It was shortly after you left to go back home. The kids were out and I just sat down at the piano and the whole song came out almost exactly as it is here. I remember crying during and after I completed it. 

The message of the song is resilience and celebrating the ways in which we can overcome and rise above our adversity. The idea started from being confused and hurt by family drama, something we both went through at the same age. But as so many years have passed, the meaning of the song has broadened to encompass any adversity. 

I see the song differently now that 10 or so years have passed. In some ways, we are always at the beginning of our story because our story is always just starting. I wrote the lines to mean “you’re young”/“your story starts here”, but now it has expanded to kind of be a mode of being, or a way of living life….a way of disconnecting from our past. We are all in the midst of creating our “story” and we get to decide where we see ourselves in it because it is all relative.

There are seasons to life and the seasons change according what cards we are “dealt” in life. Another way of saying that is “God’s cycle” like it says in the song. By saying “God’s cycle” I am saying to accept fate, or whatever God faces us with, be it adversity or advantage. That is the part that is not up to us. There is so much that is not up to us…countless variables in life. We are only really in control of a small percentage.

But what can we do with that small percentage? I imagine it like pages and pages are being written of what our life is, faster than we can read, or keep up. What can we do? We can take the reams of white paper with the stories inscribed in them, and stack them to get ourselves always escalating…constantly learning and going up. Growing up. We can resist the escapist idea of “go away” and change it to “grow away” to embrace the hand we’re dealt, and grow from it. Onward and upward." 

Here are the full lyrics:

***The one and only painting to accompany this song is currently available and can be found here!


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