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Erin Jordan: Music

Arizona

(Erin Jordan)
taken from the RPM Challenge blog:

"As I am running out of time I knew I had to put a good amount of time in to this project today. As I did not have anymore 1/2 finished songs I wanted to finish I decided to write a new song. The songwriting process is truly amazing and something I have studied and discussed with other songwriters. I know that part of the RPM challenge is not waiting for inspiration - just doing it. I have definitely tried this method in the past. I read this interview with Nick Cave and he said he no longer waits for inspiration - he goes to his music writing room and clocks in as a songwriter. I have had some success with this - I once gave myself the assignment of writing a song in Spanish and a murder ballad that takes place in a brothel. Both of those songs turned out quite good and made it on to my last album. Overall, however, most of my songs have been the product of waiting for inspiration. I decided not to finish the song I started writing on day one of this project because it was just not haunting me the way a good song does. What usually inspires me to start writing is coming up with an instrumental part I like. As I have been in love with the sound of the banjo (that I have only been learning to play throughout the course of this project) I picked it up and started playing with ideas. A song surfaced that is tentatively called "Arizona"- it is a companion song to another song of mine called "Tale of a Missouri Girl".



"Tale of a Missouri Girl" is about a girl from Missouri in the 1940's who is the queen of her hometown parade and the star of all her high school productions. After she graduates from high school she moves to Hollywood to become and actress. She ends up being a waitress at an all night diner. At the end of the song she wonder why she ever left Missouri.

"Arizona" is about a seamstress from Ohio who moves to an Old Western town in Arizona to start a new life, only to become a drunk and a prostitute. At the end of the song she goes back to Ohio, realizing she liked her former self much better.

"Tale of a Missouri Girl" kind of seemed to surface out of nowhere - until I realized it was about myself. I am from Chicago and moved to Seattle (the 1990's version of Hollywood for a young singer/songwriter) many years ago. I am also a waitress. So when I wrote "Arizona" I was aware that this song was coming from the same place in my psyche.

As I am new to the banjo, it took me a long time to record a really good take. I did a vocal track, but I need to redo it - I want to rehearse the song some more and play with the melody. Overall, I am happy with my work. I managed to write a song in a few hours and record the main instrument track. I love the banjo and am getting better at it - it hasn't been that hard to learn since finger picking has always come pretty naturally to me."

*Tale of a Missouri Girl appears on the Bakelite 78 album, What the Moon has Done.
You don’t feel right in your own clothes

The days grow shorter and cold wind blows

You hear winter’s cruel footsteps heading toward your door

You jump on a freight train with no baggage of your own

Cause a freight train has plenty of weight of it’s own

Anything not rooted down rolls to the west

Goin’ to Arizona Gonna start a new life

Leave behind Ohio and winter’s cold and strife

And I’ll find me a cowboy who’ll make everything all right

And ride off in to the sunset

You find work sewing and mending people’s clothes

But at the end of the day you find you’re still alone

While the purple mountains loom high

Over an endless sunny sky

You start working on some dresses for the girls at the saloon

They’re so much more pretty and exciting than you

A seamstress is not a glamorous trade

You think it’s time for a change

Your goin’ to Arizona gonna start a new life

Leave behind Ohio and winter’s cold and strife

And find yourself a cowboy who’ll make everything all right

And ride off in to the sunset



The years pour by like whiskey on the shelf

You try to drink enough to disolve yourself

But underneath all the garters and the lace

Your just a seamstress from Ohio - drunk and out of place

The hazards of the trade have become too much

Hangovers and ills and every stranger’s touch

Your not the fragrant flower that you used to be

Seven years older an bitter as can be

You jump on a freight train with no baggage of your own

Cause a freight train has plenty of baggage of it’s own

Leave behind the canyons and the dust storms and the heat

You miss the seamstress from Ohio that you used to be.