Monday, June 8, 2009

"Best Girl of '16" v. 2.0

I believe it was February or March of 2008 when I wrote the song "Best Girl of '16", a happy, coming home from the war sort of tune. I had written plenty of World War I tunes before, but this was the first one with a happy ending, I guess you could say. The song found its way onto my last album, An Evening With John Statz, which was recorded live in Chicago in April of '08.

Since then I've written a bunch of new tunes, and am gearing up for a new album. On July 10th my band, John Statz and the Cheap Shots, will record a live album at the Cafe Montmartre in Madison. This will be my first rock'n'roll, full band album, and I'm really excited to capture the guys live, as I'm very fortunate to have some fantastic players in the band.

More on that later. I really wanted to re-write "Best Girl..." for the full band, as the original song is in an open tuning and just wouldn't work well with a rock treatment. This morning I set out to work on the song, and couldn't be happier with what came out of it. It is now a very different song, with different chord changes, and some different lyrics. If you have the last album, I think you'll recognize it. The new version has more of a bittersweet ending with an anti-war message, a bit more my style :). I plan on keeping both versions alive and well, but for now, here are the new lyrics:

Well back in the summer of '16
There was a young woman I was seein'
Well I'd pine for her, and sometimes she'd respond to me.
Oh back before the war, and everything came in between.

Well when I got back was March of double 19's,
Had gone 'cross the ocean protecting the land of the free.
Well France was as much of the world as I wanted to see.
Oh back to Kansas City to find my best girl of '16.
Back to Kansas City to find my best girl of '16.
Back to Kansas City to find my best girl of '16.

On the train through Illinois
Well she is restless on my mind.
Hoping that she is unwed.
And that she took her time.

Well pulled into Union Station, military bands played loud,
nothing there was ventured, and nothing there was found.
Climbing from the rail car, my eyes gleaming 'cross the crowd.
Well I found my best girl waiting, and I kissed her on the mouth.

Well we got us a place in Jackson County,
my God and my country say they love me.
But Uncle Sam well he still owes me money,
so I'm flying home cuz my girl is my country.
I'm flying home cuz my girl is my country.
I'm flying home cuz my girl is my country.

As for the rest of the info on the new album:
It is untitled as of yet, though I have some ideas. The band members are Ben Johnson on the 'lectric geetar, Matt Donoghue on the bass, and Greg Schmitt on the drums. These guys are a blast to play with, can't wait to do this new album with them.

the other songs on the album (this can change yet):
Ghost Towns
How Best to Survive the Flood and Save the Girl
Jackson Hole
Everything to Me
Ugly Like I Should
Night Train to Sarajevo
Somtimes (Quittin' Don't Feel Half Bad) - Ben Johnson tune
and full band versions of older songs "Absentee" and "Silverton Mines"

Friday, July 10th - 9:30pm @ the Cafe Montmartre in Madison, WI
tickets are $8, and the night will also feature: Cameron McGill and What Army & Jeremiah Nelson. Hope you can make it out!

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