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Tom Getter Slack: Blog

Song Story #6 - Don't Walk Away

Posted on April 17, 2011

Every song has a story. The 9 songs on Looking Glass are no exception. This is the sixth installment of a blog series to talk about how each of them came about.

In the last installment, I talked about how sometimes an instrumental seems like an unfinished song waiting for lyrics to be written, other times it stands on its own without the involvement of words. Unlike 'I Remember Now', the song Don't Walk Away spent a lot of time as an instrumental that ultimately belonged to the former category.

This is obviously a piano-driven song for which the chords and melody were quite clear for me. It may have stayed an instrumental, were it not for the fact that the words "Just don't walk away" insinuated themselves into the chorus. I didn't know exactly what it meant, but it absolutely fit the emotion that permeated the feel of the music. It was written at a time in my life when I felt like I had had enough of change and instability, and just wanted to grasp on to the things and people that meant something to me.

But, unlike most inspirations I get to write a song, the rest of it just never crystallized. So I decided it would be a semi-instrumental, with only the layered vocal part coming in at the end of the chorus. Jeff Buck and I worked with these basic tracks during mixing, assuming that was the final shape of the song.

As was my pattern during our mixdown sessions, I spent the long drive home (Jeff's studio is about 45 minutes from my house), listening to the mixes we had worked on that day. As I listened to this one, driving alone as the sun set, the concept of "long road" crept into my head. It seemed like a good metaphor - both for the amount of time it was taking us to produce the mixes for Looking Glass (!) - and also the amount of time that passes by without, at times, seeming as if you ever quite reach some of your life goals.

So this became the inspiration for the lyrics to this song finally coming to me. I began to realize that it was about not giving up on the things you love, even when the path seems unclear at times. And it wasn't just written for myself - I had some concerns for others in my immediate family who I thought might be giving up on life.

It might sound strange, but the song began to feel very much like an old Righteous Brothers tune to me, that kind of blue-eyed soul song about an emotional, longing feeling. Unfortunately, I can't sing like the Righteous Brothers at all, so I did my own soft, quiet rendition. Overall, I think this song is the quietest of all of them on this album.

Ironically, for such a quiet song, it is the only one that attempts to rock out just a bit (or perhaps jazz out as it were) with a guitar solo on the bridge. That being generally a trademark of my songs in the past, this ended up being the only one on the album to keep up the tradition.