“Hoodie-Footie #3″

Just in time for winter*, let your heart and soul get toasty-warm with my newest video, “Hoodie-Footie #3″:”

Why? Well, if my previous attempts at a heartfelt folk-pop number, a 70′s Hall-and-Oates soul wannabe, and a for-real attempt at hip-hop aren’t enough to convince you of the many virtues of Vermont’s own superawesome adult onesie…well, one more song oughta do it…

Hoodie-Footie #3

Hey, you with the sandals and the suntan
Winter’s comin’ and there’s nothin’ better than
A Hoodie-Footie!
A Hoodie-Footie!
When Hoodie-Footie is around,
That is where I will be found:
Hoodie-Footie!

Hey, when you’re cruisin’ down the highway
You look so fine when you’re doing it my way
In a Hoodie!
A Hoodie-Footie!
When Hoodie-Footie is around,
That is where I will be found:
Hoodie-Footie!

Hey, don’t even bother with a sweater
Everybody knows you look much better
In a Hoodie!
A Hoodie-Footie!
When Hoodie-Footie is around,
That is where I will be found:
Hoodie-Footie!

Hey, you with the backpack and the power drink
Time for finals, but you find yourself thinkin’
‘Bout my Hoodie!
A Hoodie-Footie!
When Hoodie-Footie is around,
That is where I will be found:
Hoodie-Footie!

Hey, you wanna keep your loved one warmer
Here’s a suit that’s a real performer
Hoodie-Footie!
A Hoodie-Footie!
When Hoodie-Footie is around,
That is where I will be found:
Hoodie-Footie!

So come on over, but don’t you bother knocking
‘Cuz we’re all zipped up, and everybody’s rocking
In a Hoodie!
A Hoodie-Footie!
From the bottom to the top
All the fun doesn’t stop
From the east to the west
It’s the suit that’s the best
Every day and every night
I’ll be zipped up tight:
Hoodie-Footie!

© Copyright 2010-2012 Nate Orshan

Full disclosure: I am not making money from any of my Hoodie-Footie songs. I used to be a part of PajamaGram parent company Vermont Teddy Bear Company, during which time I wrote these songs (after work) hoping they might prove of some use. Bottom line: All of my Hoodie-Footie songs were basically delightful writing exercises for me.

Having said that…yeah, PajamaGram is a great Vermont company, and nothing would please me more than learning that these songs helped convince some folks to join “Team Hoodie-Footie”. It’s a very warm and very comfy team, yo.

* In the Northern Hemisphere, of course. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s time to enjoy summer.

”Together May We Stay” Live at Rose Street

OK, so this song got me my wife.*

(Note: My introduction’s a little long, so move the video’s time slider to 1:04 if you’d like just to cut to the chase.)

I could (will?) probably write a song or two just about the whole process by which I finally decided to propose to Kit; for the purposes of this story, all you have to know is that she and I had been living together for a year, and I just knew it was time to propose. (I admit that writing a song for her wasn’t the first proposal method that came to mind, but once the idea was in place, I knew what I had to do.)

The problem was logistics. We were living together, and we were both working full-time, so there was no way I could take a few nights to compose this thing with my then-girlfriend in earshot.

K: “What’s that you’re doing? Is that a PROPOSAL SONG?!?”
N: “What gives you THAT idea? It’s, uh…ironic. Yeah. Post-modern.”

No, I had to do it during the day. So I planned for this day in late February when I was sure I could work on the thing all day long in peace, and then, just a few days before, I remembered that, since Kit was a teacher and had February break at the same time, she would be home during the day, not at work.

But I was undeterred. I knew I didn’t want to wait much longer to propose, and I was fairly confident I could pound the thing out in a day. So I rented a rehearsal space** for the day and told Kit nothing, i.e., she thought I was at work.

Luckily, I had a pretty clear idea of the music when I went in, so the hard part –per yoozsh– was words. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being straightforward and writing something as simple as, “I love you, please marry me”…unless you’re me and want to try to write a proposal song without either of those.

So, motivated by true love and an hourly rate for the rehearsal space, I sat all alone in the corner of this big ol’ room where normally Burlington bands like Wide Wail or The Pants might have practiced, and, with my keyboard and guitar at hand, I completed my assignment.

Then, the hard part: Playing it for Kit. I forget how I glossed over the fact that, to her knowledge, I’d schlepped music instruments to work and was now bringing them back home in the evening as if it were an everyday thing, but apparently it didn’t arouse any suspicion. I set everything back up in my office, and then, that evening, asked her to come check out this new song I had just written. I sat at a keyboard, lyric sheet in front of me, and I performed “Together May We Stay” for its most important audience.

If you ask Kit about it, she’ll tell you how, once I stopped playing, she was fairly frozen in place because, well…what if she had just misinterpreted my song and told me, “I do”, and then had to suffer instant mortification as I recoiled, saying, “No no no, you’ve got it all wrong: It’s just a song, dude…” Luckily, I had a fallback: the engagement ring. As soon as the song was over, I reached over to where I’d hid it, and I offered the ring to her.

It couldn’t have gone better, then or since.

Together May We Stay

Wouldn’t it be grand?
Wouldn’t it be sweet
If you spent the rest
Of your life with me?

Only you can stand my ranting
And my languid pace
Only you can carry me
And put me in my place

Wouldn’t it be true?
Wouldn’t it be real
To say that I’m a spoke
In your loving wheel?

Turning up a road that’s buried
In our future’s haze,
May we roll together
All our days

   For you I will be brave
   Together may we stay

Let us say the word
Let us make the sign
Say that I’m your equal
And you are mine

May the growing older bear
An interwoven truth
That these hearts are closer than
We thought they were in youth

May I take your hand?
May I take your smile?
May we both avoid only
Self-denial

It’s the greatest role
That we’ll ever get to play
May I be your co-star
Today?

   For you I will be brave
   Together may we stay

Wouldn’t it be grand?
Wouldn’t it be sweet
If you spent the rest
Of your life with me?

Would you spend the rest of
Your life with me?

© Copyright 1998-2012 Nate Orshan

This version of “Together May We Stay” was recorded live at Rose Street Cooperative and Artists’ Gallery in Burlington, Vermont, USA, on Friday, September 21, 2012. Those kids you hear in the background? They’re just a regular part of the Rose Street mix!

* Ohhhh, ohhhhh-kaaaaay. She probably woulda said “Yes” even if I’d gone to less effort. But still…

** Any Vermonters remember The Kennel on Williston Road? I never practiced there in a band, but I really liked its vibe. (“It’s like a house…for making music!”) Above all, I never would have ended up with this song. That must say something about the place’s feng shui.

“Putting Peace to an End” Live at Rose Street

(Note to trauma survivors: This song is about a child abuser, so if you think you may be triggered, even by oblique and poetic references to that kind of person, just skip this one.)

(Note to everyone else: My introduction’s a little long, so move the video’s time slider to 1:32 if you’d like just to cut to the chase.)

“Putting Peace to an End” is one of my songs that came about from a traditional, bottom-up process. In this context, “bottom-up” means it’s a song that started life from noodling, goofing around, or just being playful. Somewhere in the midst of a seemingly-random jumble of notes and words, I’ll come across a particular combination that catches my ear, so I decide to keep it instead of “catch and release”. (The opposite of this is “top-down”, i.e., a song written with a specific agenda from the get-go.)

It didn’t take me long into this bottom-up process to realize that I was writing a song about a child abuser. The question “Where did you learn?”, of course, is rhetorical. I believe in the hardware of genes, but I believe just as much in the not-yet-understood software of memes. And what people who think in terms of exploitation need above all is…better software.

Putting Peace to an End

Where did you learn to color the sunset
A dozen dull shades of blood red?
To sing along sweetly and ever discreetly
Ensure that your friend is misled?

Where did you learn to burn a hole
In every Welcome mat?
Where did you learn…
To work someone over like that?

Where did you learn to wait like a snake for your
Supper to stumble to you?
To stare, never blinking, while children go weeping,
And break every crayon in two?

When was it sane when love became
A game of tit-for-tat?
Where did you learn…
To work someone over like that?

   How did fate create a merciless robot from a man?
   Did it seed the sharpest weed with leather belt in hand?
   Does the gutter call you brother, alley call you friend
   Every night that you spend putting peace to an end?

Where did you learn to nurture each word that old,
Sick mother English threw up?
To carefully carry, bind, and then bury all
Feelings you ever knew of?

Conjuring compassion like
A rabbit from a hat,
Can’t you see your likeness in
Each bawling little brat?
Will they learn their lessons from
The blackboard or the bat?
Where did you learn…
To work someone over like that?
© Copyright 1999-2012 Nate Orshan

This version of “Putting Peace to an End” was recorded live at Rose Street Cooperative and Artists’ Gallery in Burlington, Vermont, USA, on Friday, September 21, 2012.