|Coyote Moon - Behind The Music
The story about the songs
(Bonnie Wren's BEHIND THE MUSIC)
1. Santa Barbara
Produced in Pennsylvania at Four Star
Studios, but written in Santa Barbara, CA where I was living and working. I love that town and have lived there off and on for the last ten years. Some of my best times were
there, and some of my best friends. There probably isn't a sweeter place on the
planet, but like all travelers, I always miss the other home places, wherever I am. The song is about this feeling of homelessness that some of us have
- a kind of nostalgia for the heart's spiritual home, which is sometimes just a little hard to find. It was interesting to
me, as a traveler and songwriter, that even the best place on the planet, the Garden of
Eden, is not a replacement for that home of the heart we are all searching for. Somehow the smiling man in the trailer park seemed more at peace than I
was, even though his external circumstances looked difficult. So maybe it's not just about external circumstances so much as internal communion with the source of grace and peace.
Let's hope we all find and keep that place as our true home.
2. Soft-talking Blues
This song was written during one of my trips back east while I was living in Santa Barbara. I remember writing the first fragments in the airport waiting to fly
home, and then finished later as the trip sunk in. Songs take a few minutes or years to
write, depending on how the experience processes through your heart and mind and soul.
I'm still re-writing lyrics to old songs. A verse was omitted during the recording because it seemed to drag on too
long, but I like it so I'll include it here. Due to poor planning, I arrived out on the Cape around midnight with no motel reservation. I went through the fear process as I got off the bus in the
darkness, saying that if I really had to, I could survive a night out side, perhaps finding some bushes to sleep under. I guess we all survive a lot of stuff when we have to. But I found a
I stepped lightly off the bus into a Massachusetts midnight
It was the end of the line down that Cape Cod road
An old man in the lobby of the only motel open
And I ask him if he has any extra rooms
And he says yes I got one last empty room
I said I come from California and I have missed a few connections
And I got no reservations for your last empty room
He says that's Ok I can have it anyway
He says that I remind him of his daughter far away
His daughter who is living too far away
It seems like there are always angels guiding
us, and always the blues along the way.
3. Love Song #3
The title comes from the fact that is the third song on the CD. All the songs are love
songs, in a way.
Most of the words for this song were written a few years back when I was really really in love with someone I
couldn't have -(Complicated circumstances, but he was, and is, the love of my life.) I guess many of us have someone we would say was the love of our lives.
4. Hold Me
This was inspired by a woman I was working with in Santa Barbara who seemed to be one of those people who is always
upbeat, always beautifully smiling and laughing, and she blessed me often with that smile and that energy and strength. Then one day she came to me in my office privately and said "Hold
me, I'm hanging by a thread." I was so happy and touched to feel that she, my inspirational
friend, would come to me for strength and sympathy. In working on the song for a year or
so, it began to be about me, and many women I know and love, including my
mother, and I guess its just about how we serve and forgive one another all the time in different
ways, and how graceful that is.
5. Fifteen Miles
I was driving across
I-40, leaving the East Coast and going back to California for the umpteenth
time, and I passed a sign saying "Amarillo - 15 miles" In my head I said "15 miles east of Amarillo" and knew right away there was a song hanging on that line. I think a lot of songwriters would say that songs come out of the blue like that with one evocative word or phrase. And then life fills it in. I was listening to an oldies radio station
- the only station my car radio could pick up out there in the middle of
nowhere, and they were playing a Gene Pitney song, - He was a favorite of one of my East Coast recording studio engineers who I love and was deeply missing. So therein lies the song. When we move around a
lot, we grieve over our sweet friends in other places, and there's always a place in the heart that feels lonely for
them, and I wanted to express that.
I lived up in Monterey for about six months because my daughter lives there. I left cause my old job down in Santa Barbara came alive again and it was too good a situation to pass up. I really fell in love with
Monterey, with the delicious cool, foggy ocean air, with that unparalleled rocky
coastline, and with the poetic, musical, artistically inspiring ambiance of the place. When I was
there, there was a gathering of an unprecedented number of sea lions from far and
wide, who played and laughed and sang and lay around on the rocks all the time. I could hear that sound coming in through my bedroom window accompanied by that cool moist air. I lived about a half-mile from the
water's edge. It was a masterpiece symphony all day and night, so I wrote a love song about it.
7. The Visitor
I arrived at my office in Santa Barbara early one morning and I went out onto the courtyard to water some
plants, part of my regular morning routine. I was stunned to find myself face to face with a young man who was just getting up off the ground where he had obviously been sleeping. The fear in both of our hearts was palpable. I asked if he slept there every
night, and he could not answer cause he had no English. He was obviously an illegal Mexican running scared in search of a better life. I felt an incredible surge of protective love and compassion for
him, but I was alone in the office and he was alone in the world so we were both pretty scared. But we worked through
it, and pretty soon, he was gone. I hope he's OK.
8. Like a River
I was living in Santa Barbara and my
partner, John, had returned to his hometown of Albuquerque and he wanted me to come live with him. I was feeling some conflict about all of
it, and was sitting in front of the fireplace one evening, contemplating the mysterious pleasures and pains of love
relationships, and the song started. My engineer in Monterey re-wrote the first two lines. I think
they're really nice. The main theme is that when two separate people come together in
love, its like they become one thing, just like when a river flows into an
ocean, it becomes just all one body of water. And sometimes we like that and stay with
it, and sometimes we don't.
This was written in Pennsylvania when I beginning to get that familiar urge to go back out west. I wanted to try to explain this gypsy life I lead and I wanted to ask my friends and family to forgive me and bless me for my weirdness. I was working at my
brother's manufacturing company, and the recording studio I used (Four Star Studios) had rented space
there, so I went out onto the factory floor and invited anybody who could sing to come into the studio and sing on the chorus. We all had a great time doing that
- It was everybody's one chance to be a rock star. We called it the MPI chorus.
10. Coyote Moon
Southwest, the Pueblo Indian tribes name the full moons of every month. This is probably true all over the world with native people who are intimately connected to nature. I was looking through the window of my little farmhouse in Pennsylvania at the brilliant February full moon. I read somewhere that different Pueblo tribes had named this moon the Snow
moon, the Hungry Moon, the Frightened Coyote moon. These names seemed incredibly poetic and accurate to me. It was one of those mind-stopping moments when we become like newborns in a grown up body
- all innocent and new and open to all the magic that life has to offer. I'm never sure whether anybody gets the song
- Even I am bewildered by it sometimes - but it was nevertheless utterly true in that moment. People seem to like it and feel served by it when they hear it.