Rights Unprotected

Below are the lyrics to Rights Unprotected, the first track off of Tight Connection. What initially drew me to them was their neutrality. This is not a song about being for or against gun control. It simply paints a picture of our world, while exposing some of the dark truths we must all face, no matter what side of the argument we happen to be on. Yes, taking away our rights can have a devastating impact on the moral fiber of this nation. On the other hand, abuse of those rights, especially by some of the deranged psychopaths we’ve managed to breed, can be equally destructive. The images I selected for the video depict many of the tragic events that have occurred in recent history, but they are not meant to make a case for stronger gun control laws. What they are meant to do is to remind us to always keep our minds and hearts open, to carefully analyze what it is that makes people behave the way they do, and to continue searching for ways to resolve the underlying issues that have left us, as a society, so disturbed and desensitized.

Rights Unprotected

The right to life and liberty
Pursuit of happiness
The right to choose divergent views
All these we possess.
Freedom of religion
Freedom of the press
The right to earn a little more
To pay a little less.

The right to guard our families
Our homesteads and our farms
So it’s reckoned, by the second
Amendment . . . . and the right . . . . to bear arms.

Free from fear and free from want
With freedom of expression
The freedom of assembly
To take aim at oppression

At Congresswomen who pass laws
To register and wait
Handguns, rapid fire weapons . . .
. . . thou shalt not regulate.

Thank goodness for the good guys
Who keep us safe, unharmed
ArmaLite, Bushmaster,
. . The right to keep us armed.

He buys his weapons one by one
On the internet
Just yesterday a good guy
But today he feels upset

A semi with a pistol grip
Made of carbon steel
Exerts his right to keep,
To carry and conceal

He picks a school or movie house
But triggers no alarms
Just the children he’s selected
Unprotected . . . by the right . . . to bear arms…

An Eye for Detail

My friendship with Andy Clingempeel goes back a long way, to a time when he was an established creative director and I was a fresh Mass Com graduate, just starting off in the work force as an errand boy, at the greatest Ad Agency Tampa has ever known, Louis Benito Advertising. Through the years, we established a working relaionship, as we ventured off into our own respective business’s. Over a decade or so ago, he moved away from Tampa, and we lost contact with each other, until last year, when we were able to reconnect on Facebook. And in that year, I have been able see a part of Andy that I had never seen before, in a form of photographic expression that goes beyond the realm of the “Mad Men” mentality that we originally got know each other in. I got to see the deeper, more introspective imagery that he is capable of creating. And his personal artwork has managed to affect and inspire me in ways that his commercial artwork, though equally significant to the world of marketing, could not. So after months of seeing these magnificent images on his Facebook page, I decided to put together a video, using samples from several different series of his works, with the intention of introducing his talent to potential viewers in my social media networks. I selected a song that I felt was conducive to the mood, and a rhythm for the images that I believe will have an impact on those who watch. So please, be my guest: sit back, click play, and enjoy this collection of images that have emerged from the mind of Anderson Clingempeel. For additional information on the artist, visit his website at www.andersonclingempeel.com.

Longing for a Tight Connection

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Two years ago, I visited the Reverbnation page of Mitchell Small, a writer who goes by the name of Songs Unsung. He had begun writing lyrics a few years earlier, then posting his quirky a cappella renderings of them on RN, with the hope that other artists might take a stab at interpreting his work in their own styles. As I scrolled through his song list and listened to his words, I began to notice a special quality about them. Not only were they rather witty and entertaining, but his themes were relevant to the times. And on top of that, his lyrics were sprinkled with many pertinent historical references, as well as insightful thoughts that expressed a heightened sense of social consciousness. Here was a full time college professor of civil engineering, moonlighting as a songwriter, and coming up with some very profound literal perceptions of the world around him. I took my interest in his work one step further, and produced a song called My Mountaintop. We were both very pleased with the outcome, and thus began our unlikely long distance union. Twelve songs later, here we are releasing our first full length CD, appropriately titled “Tight Connection”, not for the song of the same name, but for the bond that we’ve come to share as a result of our mutual passion for music. We have recently registered our project with CD Baby. They will handle it’s worldwide digital distribution through sites like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. Neither of us have any delusions of grandeur regarding fame or fortune as a result of this project, but we are both very enthusiastic about the potential of it’s wide range availability. We invite you to visit the link provided and to sample, comment, and share our work with others. Perhaps you will be affected, as I was, by the power of Mitch’s lyrics. Perhaps my arrangements or my vocal attack will move you. And perhaps you will feel that connection, too…a connection that is real….a connection that bridges whatever distance there is between us all….a Tight Connection.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/balujaandsmall

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

If you’re thinking about the profits that will be rolling in from your new digital distribution deal, think again. Here is a link to the quarterly royalty statement of a Grammy award winning artist:

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/04/03/streamingstatements

Chances are, you’ll do much better playing on a park bench, with an open guitar case beside you, inviting passers-by to toss some spare change your way. This is a tough time for songwriters, singers, musicians, and bands as far as finances go. On the other hand, there are many more opportunities to be heard than there was 20 years ago. So if spreading your your music around the world is something you’ve always dreamed about, guess what? Your dream is within reach. Keep writing, recording, and putting your music out there. You may not make a fortune from it, but there are treasures far more valuable than gold. Aspiring artists must be content with doing what they go for the love of the game.

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Single Drop of Rain

This song was originally featured on our 2013 EP, Nowhere to Land. We will include it once again on our full length CD, Tight Connection, which is scheduled for release in December 2014. According to the description of lyricist, Mitchell Small, “This song provides a 1000 year history of the Mississippi basin, as seen through the eyes of…a Single Drop of Rain.”

Viewing lyrics for Single Drop of Rain (Baluja and Small) by Songs Unsung.

A Single Drop of Rain . . . it’s my story, true but sad, and I’m stickin’ with it

MJS October 2009

Sailing near the Gulf coast, to rest and recreate
The sun beat down and called to me, “Come evaporate!”
Said you’ve traveled on the land, for a thousand years
Tell us of your story
The laughter with the tears.

I floated upwards towards the sky, jogged my memory
The day I burst free from a cloud, landed near a tree
Somewhere in Wisconsin, on a glacial plain
And so began the journey of
A single drop of rain.

I seeped down through the soil, to aquifer below
400 hundreds years of silence, then I began to flow
Surfaced through a river bed, in 1491
Down the Mississippi….
I took my maiden run.

Scooped up by outstretched arm, with a deerskin flask
Lakota wacipi (wa-chee-pee), dancing, drum and mask
The Shaman’s trembling vision, three ships leaving Spain
Men thirsty for a new land, and
A single drop of rain.

I trickled many years, through the sacred mounds
Then I heard a new voice, new settlers and new towns
Nearby in St. Louis, explorers on a quest
Clark and Lewis unlatched
The gateway to the west.

I drifted 8 years on the banks, to a new town, New Madrid
A massive quake then shook the earth, I thought I flipped my lid
Buildings crashed, hillsides smashed, through the splay I sprang
They say it was the big one
The Boston church bells rang.

For 50 years I rested, an oxbow lake my home
Then soon once more I reached the shore, and I began to roam
Fort Pillow, Tennessee…. . 1864
Grey and blue, black and white
A blood red Civil War.

The General gave the orders, we’ll prove that they can’t cope
Soldiers slaughtered in the Fort, blood reached the river slope.
The North blues bled a plume of red, left the river stained
Too much to see, for even me
A single drop of rain.

I sank beneath the bank, ’till 1975
Cities, highways, factories, filled the countryside
Drifted on to Memphis, drawn in for its supply
Piped down to the land of grace
I heard a fearful cry.

I heard the song, of a King once strong, bittersweet and deep
I won’t be cruel, but what I saw, could make a teardrop weep
Swallowed with his pills, helped him ease the pain
A fatalistic voyage
For a single drop of rain.

Capped and treated, discharged, to the river valley
PCBs, refineries, all through cancer alley
30 years to ….New Orleans…., music in the park
The squeeze box turned silent
The daytime turned to dark.

I rushed on down to the Sound, the winds and rain were heavy
But tidal surge, brought me back, through the broken levee
No help for those I flooded, abandoned in our shame
Katrina’s wrath, chose the path
For a single drop of rain.

Slowly . . .

So that’s my story, true but sad, and I’m stickin’ with it
The angels cried, but hid their eyes, fearful to admit it
I pleaded . . . don’t weep . . . they answered and explained
. . . .Our tears are how you came to be . . . . .
. . . . . A single drop of rain…..

To hear more of the CD, visit our Tight Connection page on Bandcamp.

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Looking Back at The Zombies

The Zombies always had a certain aura about them. Their songs were clever and catchy, but they didn’t feel like the conventional pop music of their time. The band’s sound had an airy and mysterious quality that set them apart from their contemporaries. The following song, Tell Her No, was one of their bigĀ hits. Sit back now, and enjoy that laid back, hipness that made them so popular then, and has enabled that popularity to survive through the years.