Over the weekend – actually, on Saturday – Ian got a bug for a new song. He worked off and on for hours, plugging away at his keyboard, typing up lyrics, and generally working it through. It was a great weekend for it; with the high temperature at 2 degrees and a predicted blizzard, we didn’t have a lot planned. All day long the four of us alternated family game playing and meals with individual creative time – Jamie wrote, Eva read, I painted a wall in the dining room, and Ian made music.
At bedtime that evening, he was ready to share his final product with us. I was curled up on his futon couch, and Jamie leaned in the doorway. A lovely piece, he was so proud of it and attributed its sound to his work in music theory along with chord progressions Jamie had taught him over the years. The three of us sat there in that moment, enjoying the music, tweaking a couple of lyrics… Jamie suggested a bridge, and we talked about its musical and lyrical purpose. Ian’s really good at turning a phrase in his songs, slightly evolving the meaning or making the listener think it’s about one thing, when it’s suggesting something very different. We discussed all this, thinking he would work on adding a bridge the next day. But he was writing it in his head as we were talking, and in moments he had an entirely new section, lyrics and all.
The song is amazing, but I loved the evening too, so much. Before that final conversation, I had spent the previous hour in Ian’s room as he finalized his piece. He had his strings of white lights plugged in, which made it feel like we were being illuminated by candles. I’ve got a new novel I’m reading by Catherynne Valente, and it felt so great just to kick back in his room, reading and listening to him sing and play. Usually I’m folding laundry or straightening the house or something not nearly as magical. That whole evening – the reading and listening, the conversation and discussion about music and his song…. I don’t know. It just seems like one of those times that’s going to stick in my head to relive when I’m 70, 80, 90.
Tonight he had me film it for him. Lyrics are below the video. Enjoy.
Tell Me If I Did, by Ian Ridenhour
I’m not trying to love you, baby / You don’t have to hide / Here I am, a shelter from the storm / You can come inside / I just wanna be your best friend / If you need a place to cry
I’m not trying to hurt you, baby / I’m sorry if I did / There’s treasure here inside you, baby / Let’s find out where it’s hid / I don’t wanna keep any secrets / Tell me if I did
I’m not trying to love you, baby / I’m sorry if I did / Things have changed a lot between you and me / Let’s keep nothing hid / I don’t wanna make you think I love you / Tell me if I did
We could be so much together / Say the word, I’m yours / If I mess up, tell me, baby / I can close the door / I could be your very best friend / Or something more
Bridge: I’m dreaming all the time / You got me goin’ insane / I guess that now you’re mine / I am not to blame / I’m dreaming all the time
Life has ways of changing your mind / Now that we’re in love / I didn’t think I’d be your lover / Things have changed a lot / I don’t think it’s time just yet / So here’s a break-up song / If you forgive me, give me time / I’ll just play along