Michael Jahncke

Songwriter/artist

Maybe Tomorrow

This song was a long time in the making.  Totally different when I first began working on it 12 years ago in Budapest.  The original idea had a guy very inside himself and the song keyed on depression.  The lyrics were very different, except for the recurring theme, ‘and this depression…’.  In this version, completed in Ottawa in 2011, it becomes more of a story.  The breakthrough for me as a writer – with my wife’s help – was crafting a song that could be credibly sung by a woman.

Maybe Tomorrow

Some days are better, some not at all
Reading your letter my tears start to fall
I look for a sign, some fragment of hope
Between every line of the words that you wrote

And this depression, I recognize it
Like an old enemy who knows where I’m weak
And it’s hard to hide it, but maybe tomorrow you’ll come back to me

I don’t understand it, I don’t even try
You said you were leaving but it wasn’t goodbye
What does that mean and why should I stay?
Reliving the pain of this lonely place

And this depression, I recognize it
Like an old enemy who knows where I sleep
And it’s so uninvited, but maybe tomorrow you’ll come back to me

I walk the streets alone in this sad, old town
Imagining that everybody knows what a fool you found
My world is upside down, everything is inside out
Would you even know me now if you were still around?

Do you remember what I said before?
This love’s going nowhere if you walk out that door
But I’m still here and the door’s open wide
Like it was when you left and a part of me died

And this depression, I recognize it
Like an old enemy who gives me no peace
And it’s so hard to fight it, but maybe tomorrow
Maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow
You’ll come back me, maybe tomorrow
Maybe tomorrow you’ll come back to me.

Copyright 2012 Wyatt Grayson.  All Rights Reserved.

My Gypsy Girl

I wrote this in Ottawa for my own gypsy girl sometime between 2010-2011.  Maybe you know a gypsy girl, too.  She has the world for a road map, and if there’s anyway to get from one place to another, she’ll find it!  In the writing, the song was a bit softer and ballad-like, even contemplative, which had a little more intimacy.   The Nashville treatment gives the piece some nice life, brightens the mood, that I think agrees with it.  It’s about separation, but instead of being real sad (which some songs like that can be), I think this has a positive outlook in that she’s not just leaving or gone, but always coming back.

 

My Gypsy Girl

My gypsy girl, she don’t stay in one place for too long at a time

My gypsy girl, comes and goes like the wind in the blink of an eye

My gypsy girl, well she knows every road like the back of her hand

My gypsy girl, she’ll have more miles to go when she gets to the end

 

Refrain:

And when my gypsy girl is wandering

I count the days until she’s back again

 

My gypsy girl sends me cards in the mail from the ends of the earth

My gypsy girl, she slips right through my hands, she’s as free as a bird

 

Refrain

 

My gypsy girl, with your hair hanging down, won’t you stay for a while?

My gypsy girl, when you’re gone I would give anything for your smile.

 

Copyright 2012 Wyatt Grayson.  All Rights Reserved.

Emmylou

I’m pretty sure this was written in Budapest sometime in early 2001.  Ever since I heard ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ in a friend’s apartment in Bay City, Michigan, must have been sometime around 1975, I was hooked on Emmylou Harris.   There’s a tribute to her in Nashville this month and we sent this song to some folks in hopes to get it in the mix for the celebration of her life and career.  But, there’s a long line and I’m towards the back of it.  I had just hoped she could hear it.  I was trying to express in my own way how special she is.  Maybe someday.

Emmylou

In the green, rolling hills of West Virginia

When first I heard your heavenly voice

I followed it down to a place by the river

Where your song filled the air with a joyful noise

And over the years I have come back here, time and time again

To hear once more those sweet refrains still floating on the wind

 

Refrain:

I’m just a wayfaring stranger under a cowboy moon

As I walked along I wrote down this song, because I was thinking of you

And I’ve come too far to let it go, I had to see it through

And say that I will always love you, Emmylou

 

Though I only have known you from a distance

I feel I have known you just the same

In the laughter and tears of the songs I remember

That spoke to me then and have ever remained

Your angel voice is in my head and in my heart as well

Like a mother’s child I come to hear the stories that you tell

 

Repeat refrain

 

Copyright 2012 Wyatt Grayson.  All Rights Reserved.

Wyatt Grayson – Words and Music

It was probably in 1965.  I was down in the basement in our home near the railroad tracks in Bridgeport, Michigan.  ‘She Loves You’ came on the radio and I think ever since then I’ve had music stuck in my head.  I’d noticed music before, opera my parents would play, things I’d hear now and then on the radio or a jukebox, The Everly Brothers, The Four Seasons, Lesley Gore, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson.  But for some reason, the Beatles (and later Bob Dylan) made me want to not just listen, but to play and write myself.

Over the years I’ve written a ton of songs, some performed by myself or groups I was in between 1968 and the mid-1980’s, some published, but most piling up and gathering dust in my private portfolio.  There was a period of approximately 13 years, from 1987 to 2000, that I did almost nothing with music apart from an ad hoc gig with old friends or new acquaintances.  This coincided with my work in the U.S. Foreign Service.  I guess it just turned out to be a long sabbatical.

It was in Budapest around 2000 that I began to write again, like crazy.  Without analyzing it, I know at that time for different reasons both psychological and spiritual, that I needed to get stuff out of my head and my heart, and my desire to make music sort of woke up again.  As my song list grew, I needed a way to get them out of my head so I wouldn’t forget them.  I began going to recording studios (first in Budapest and later in Washington, D.C. and Toronto), where I’d sit in front of a mic with the ‘tape rolling’ and lay down track after track with my acoustic.  It didn’t break the bank to do that, but it wasn’t cheap.

When I moved to Berlin in 2006, I began to home record.  This allowed me to save stuff to digital files on my computer in the comfort of my own digs, but I was never comfortable with the quality of my home recordings, nothing I felt comfortable to share as examples of my songwriting (even though I did).  Then, in 2011, with my wife’s encouragement, I sent some things off to a professional studio (Magic Shack Productions in Nashville)  to have demos made.  From the first mix that came back to me, it was apparent that this was a whole new level of making music.  Most of all, I began to feel good about sharing it with others.  Since then, I’ve been having songs ‘pitched’ through an agency in Nashville to major recording artists with the hopes that someone might hear something they’d like to record.  The idea, of course, is that some hot, popular singer will do one of my songs, sell a million, and there you go.  LOL.  Something like that.  Honestly, it’s just been fun, encouraging, invigorating, stimulating, all those things, just to be doing something like this.  Actually putting stuff out into the mainstream to see what happens.  And it’s encouraged me to write better, challenging myself, trying to one-up my last thing.

So now I have a number of professionally-produced demos, and besides having them pitched, nothing else is happening with them.  So I decided to set up a site on Reverbnation and post the songs there for sale as digital downloads.  This batch happens to all be country, both classic and contemporary.  There’s something about country music for me, very ‘American,’ and all the time I’ve been away from home, it’s become like a connection for me with the people in the towns on the back roads of the USA.  Besides that, it’s historic connection to folk (which I’ve played a lot of), and in my background the music of the Everly Brothers, The Byrds, Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc., all who took turns introducing me to different country styles and caused me to look past them to the roots of country music and Americana, bluegrass, Appalachian, country western; George Jones, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, so many influences right up to contemporary country, which I’m trying to get more into.

Now my plan is, as this blog develops, to devote individual posts to each song I have on Reverbnation for download.  I’ll tell a little something about each one and write out the lyrics.  And, if you find your way here, maybe you will not only enjoy what you’re hearing but you’ll enjoy reading the lyrics, too.  I hope so.  Sometimes they tell a story, sometimes they express a feeling.  However they come out, since that time in the basement with the sun streaming through the window back in 1965, it’s just something I’ve had to do.

Hello world!

In the near future, this blog will link to a music site where I’ll have a number of original, studio-produced songs packaged for download.  I’ll use this site to publish the lyrics for that music.