I Might Just Strike it Rich

This song was inspired by the New Yorker cartoon where a scruffy guy at a bar tells a well-heeled businessman, “As a potential lottery winner I’m in favor of lowering taxes on the rich.” The phrase “Nashville talent scout” has been a running joke with us ever since we started playing music, e.g. do you think there will be a Nashville talent scout in the audience tonight?

Again, a very rough recording done on the front porch. You’ll probably need the words to understand the low notes, which I can’t yet sing very well.

I might just strike it rich by playing that Powerball
Can’t tell you my system cause I want to keep it all
I’ll stop in at the liquor store once the jackpot’s big enough
Buy myself a ticket, then head home to pack my stuff   

     Big ideas are coming to me every single day
     Haven’t hit the jackpot yet, but the next one just might pay
     And then I won’t need an interest in some old cotton mill
     To keep me rolling in hundred dollar bills

I might just strike it rich with this new website I made
Can’t tell you what it’s all about, it’s a secret of the trade
I only need one million folks to sign up for the ride
If each one pays a little, the Lord won’t need to provide

I might just strike it rich with a little song I wrote
I’d like to sing it for you but I’m worried you’ll take notes
And when that Nashville talent scout comes knocking at my door
The boys down at the feed store won’t be laughing anymore

Which Side Are You On

I shy away from movements, but I am glad to see the Occupy folks raising some important questions. Whether that questioning will spread among the actual 99% remains to be seen. But I thought they needed a song, and when I discovered that no one had yet updated “Which Side Are You On” (even though the phrase is widely invoked), I thought I’d try my hand at it.

Here’s a very rough recording done on the front porch.

Come listen, you good people, this truth needs to be told
It’s time to tell the one percent we can’t be bought or sold

     Which side are you on, folks, which side are you on
     Which side are you on, folks, which side are you on

They’ll never hear our grievance until we raise a fuss
There’s only one percent of them and ninety-nine of us

My dad slaved for the bosses from dawn to setting sun
He worked and saved as best he could but now his money’s gone

They told me if I’d take a loan my future would be bright
And now to pay those bankers I work both day and night

The bailouts lined the pockets of the one percent
It’s time they told the rest of us just where that money went

Don’t listen to the ones they hire to fill the air with lies
We’ll never break free of their chains unless we organize

The McMansion in Our Little Cul-de-Sac

I was listening to the old song “Little Log Cabin in the Lane” and wondering what the modern equivalent of it might be. Then this song came to me. I don’t have a good recording of it yet, but here’s a YouTube video of us singing it in the family room (I was testing out the camera on my new iPod Touch).

One thing I like about this song is that it is not as silly as it could be. There are silly elements, but overall it tells the story of the past four years straight. That was brought home to me as we began practicing it. Cover versions of the original song are usually fast and jaunty, but the song itself, though corny, is sad and wistful at its core. Chris got out his banjo, and we found a slow and sweet take that brings out the sadness of the modern story.

All my friends were flipping houses and getting mighty rich
I didn’t want them leaving me behind
So I headed for the suburbs, signed on the dotted line
Had no money, but no one seemed to mind   

     Oh the chimney’s falling down and the roof is caving in
     And the bank just told me they don’t want it back
     So I’m sitting here rent free till the tax man comes for me
     The McMansion in our little cul-de-sac

It was two thousand and seven when I bought my slice of heaven
Granite countertops and in-ground swimming pool
One year later things went flat, my boss handed me my hat
And the people that I owed turned mighty cruel

Well, the bad news is the good news, so many folks are busted
That it’s hardly worth the time to mess with me
While I watch those fat cats plunder, I sit and wait and wonder
Is the good life that I had now history