I’m starting a new initiative with this week’s Mount Everest song. Having returned to school, it has rapidly become obvious to me that it will be necessary to spend a bit less time writing songs. Time management demands this of me, and I have no choice but to acquiesce. That said, Mount Everest as a project is the sum total of my heart, so I will not be stopping. I have been searching for a way to structure the next several months worth of songs that will simultaneously necessitate stripping things down, but will also provide a framework for growth in a particular aspect of songwriting. Over the past several years I have featured a veritable menagerie of musical instruments on this website. I have played syth against banjo, paired mandolin with electric bass, and I’ve learned quite a bit more about the electric guitar than I ever thought I would. Some of these instruments have had their chance to shine individually, but others have been drowned out in a kaleidoscope of accompaniment. For the remainder of the fall, I will be featuring only one instrument, along with my voice, on each Mount Everest track. I will work my way through my collection of instruments until I run out, at which point I will write a song featuring only my voice to put a capstone on this initiative. The instruments that I will feature are (in no particular order) melodica, banjo, tenor ukelele, guitalele, nylon stringed acoustic guitar, steel stringed acoustic guitar, mandolin, electric guitar, electric bass, synthesizer, and human voice. To kick things off, I’ve chosen the melodica. Enjoy.
This weekend I found a metal ampersand on the street. An ampersand is a curious object. It is part word, and part punctuation, signifying a link between one object and another. I took it home and hung it on the wall. As soon as I hung it up it struck me that a lone ampersand must be evocative of something special. Stripped of its specificity, the symbol comes to embody “and” as a broader concept. What does it mean to add an object to an object? A person to a person? A person to an experience? Or a place? What about an instrument to a voice? We use “and” when we describe friends, lovers, and family. Without “and” we’d always be alone. As I continued to pass by this new object adorning my wall, it became obvious to me that there is a song in this concept. This song is an ode to an ampersand, and to the concept of “and” that ties us together.
“And” is inclusion and sewing it tight
“And” is the piecing together of lives
It’s a junction
A place we’re tied
“And” stands for “us”
It’s to add or amend
“And” adds to you like a lover or friend
It’s a concept to cease to end
What is ampersand?
Love is ampersand
“And” buys you time
An ellipsis, a thread
“And” bears the weight of connection when said
It’s a burden we place on “and”
“And” is the way that we know who we are
“And” says it simply what’s otherwise hard
“And” is family
“And” is not apart