Music, musings and more from the mind of Ben Averch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Chance For Me to Stay

"A Chance For Me to Stay", from my first solo record, "Washington State" in 2006, is one my favorite songs that I've written. This song has a kind of loneliness, and openness to the sound, that is still very rare among my catalog of songs. For this one, I left out the big rhythm guitar and instead went for more of a fingerpicked lead kind of sound in the verses, leaving the drive and propulsion to the bass and drums. The vocals in the verses aren't multitracked, which is my usual compulsion, giving the song more of a sense of intimacy -- and of being a performance rather than a production.

This changes when we hit the chorus section, as the drums and bass drop out, and a big harmony vocal comes in over a wash of strumming guitars, leading to the refrain "I am the sum of the risks I take", a lyric that has been a favorite of mine, and kind of a motto to live by.

The second verse is now led by the bass and drums, with the lead guitar providing the ambiance, and the sense of anticipation. Into the second chorus, and we now have the promise of the opening chorus fulfilled, with a big rock band backing the big harmony vocal, making plain to the listener that life experiences are subjective -- the world that you experience can be created through willpower and effort, and fear has no place in a life well lived.

That's a lot of philosophizing, so it's time for a guitar solo! This one is over the verse section, and I think this solo has a sense of patience and has a place in the song that just really works. It's really restrained as my solos go, but by the end elevates into the final chorus, where I finally get the vocal harmony completely right and bring the whole thing home.

I've played this in a solo acoustic mode at most of the shows I've done, but it's really not the same without the full rock instrumentation (although I'll let you judge for yourself). In any case, this song is a keeper, and a reminder to me that there are a lot of ways to arrange songs and they don't all need huge rhythm guitars consuming all sonic dimensions!


You won't believe me when I tell you
How hard it's been to say
And the speed that the world keeps spinning
Is increasing everyday
Every time I remember how it used to feel
I can feel the distance in the time
It seems remote to me, the sun's absorbed my energy
I don't think that I used to feel that way

Dreamtime, wide awake, I am the sum of the risks I take
It's all the way down, where I have to go
Meantime it's the world I make, when I don't hesitate
I think there's a chance for me to stay

Looking out at the world through a windshield
I can feel it turn to motion blur
Everything's slowing down before me
And I think there's a chance for me this way
I can turn away from the life that I've known
And find a way to embrace the unknown
As every moment reveals itself to me
All I want is to feel your energy

Beyond the threshold
Beyond a point in time
Beyond that one decision
Is the dividing line

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