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New Song: “Afraid”

Play the song:


OM-18VI made this tune up in 2005 in Naples, Florida on my my newly purchased Martin OM-18V (see right). It was when I was noodling on some simple chords back in the hotel room, while getting used to my new guitar, that during much investigative prodding and poking, picking and strumming that I alighted on it. Why that should be when I was only interested in exploring the sonority of my new instrument, I don’t know. The lyrics came much later when I was back in the UK and when I had become aware that a song was lurking in these simple fingerpicked chords. And in the process I show my unerring ability to make the normally bright and breezy key of C Major something quite a bit darker. Ho-hum.


Be afraid
That’s OK
Your pulse can race but you can’t
Run away

They’ll try to blow you around
Well you can bend with the breeze
But you must
Stand your ground

Pride and grace

You can be statuesque
Or you can just feign death
Or you can just stand still and take a
Big deep breath

So staunch those tears
I’ve been that way for years
And no-one’s
Noticed yet

Pride and grace

© 2015 Dave Keir

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Outro in D No.1

This tune is very old (circa. 1979) and was made up when me and my partner were living with friends in Brackwede, Germany. I’m not sure what it is: a bit ragtime, perhaps? A bit of a swing-jazz tinge? It was originally intended to be developed into a song but it just doesn’t feel songlike (mind you, that hasn’t stopped me before!).

Outro in D No.12015OpenPlayDownload


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New Song: “After Dinner Drinks”

Play the song:

[audio: Dinner Drinks.mp3|titles=After Dinner Drinks]

This song is a ski-slope of calamity.

An innocent matrimonial candle-lit dinner with the bonhomie lubricated with some fine wine and later (and disastrously) by other more prosaic and economical beverages.

At first, warm-hearted smiles and faux-erotic kisses and hand-strokes accompany the shared reminiscences until. Until some almost forgotten and ancient slight is innocently recalled by one and met with a piece of jocular whataboutery of equal vintage and irrelevance by the other. Playful hair-tussling and smoochy ear-pecking is put to one side to allow space for lip-tightened smirks to replace teeth-gleaming peals of laughter. A slow-motion descent into competitive point-scoring-ping-pong ensues to the accompaniment of alcohol fuelled darkening of both mood and vocabulary. Goodwill evaporates as bloods begin to boil. Voices are raised as inhibitions are lowered. The encircling apocalypse is not even noticed until its finality and permanence is assured. Things have been said that can never be unsaid. At some point exhaustion caused sleep.

At the last there is the weary quiet of a bleak morning-after. A bag is packed and a taxi called. How did this happen?

The first lesson of skiing is to learn how to stop.

The song is written in the form of a reminiscing. But sentiment in numbed. All feeling – and it’s remembrance – is avoided. Shame teaches forgetfulness. Forgetfulness destroys no information.

After Dinner Drinks

After Dinner Drinks

I’m staying tonight
I’ve got every right
But I’ll be gone
Before it gets light

We got high as a kite
We got into a fight
Some things raised their heads should’ve stayed
Well out of sight

I can’t remember how it feels

We let it all out
We started to scream and shout
Just in case there was any
Reasonable doubt

It was like a roll-call
They were all up against the wall
All the hurts and the insults, all the
Negligence and all

I need to rest for a while
Close my eyes for a while
But I’ll get my shoes and coat
In a little while

© 2015 Dave Keir


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On Songwriting: What’s the Purpose of Writing Songs?

For a long time I never considered this question since making up tunes and singing along to them – relying totally on serendipity – was a childish habit I developed as soon as I was big enough to hold a guitar. This was long before I asked why anyone did anything. Only later in my early teens did I slowly become aware that writing songs could be a medium for something called “self-expression” – but I think I saw it as equivalent to others who might choose sport or some other recreation or hobby. Only much later, when writing and playing became my sole source of income, did I concern myself with the purpose of the songs – the “why?” of the songs. I no longer wrote songs for their own sake – songwriting became a means to an end. Then later again, when I quit touring and playing for a living, I wondered what purpose there would be in continuing to write songs since the means no longer had an end.  Habit? That wasn’t enough. So I decided to stop.

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Outro in A No.4

As promised, here is the first of my “Outros”. You can open and / or download the .pdf file of the guitar score and a simple .mp3 rendered from my scoring software (Finale) belo.

This Outro is a bit jazzy in a bluesy sort of way. And a bit sleazy, if I may suggest. A stripper could use this; in fact it can be hired for that purpose for a fee. Else, a songwriter with determination might have sung something nice with this. But not me.

Outro in A No.42014OpenPlayDownload

Should you be interested in having the native Finale file or .xml music exchange file for your own non-commercial use or just experimentation, please put in a request below in the comment box and register with this site and I will mail to you at your registered email address.

All other comments or questions are welcome below.

Have fun – I hope you enjoy it!

The Fannichs

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Overheard at an Open-Mic

Punter A: “Hey, She’s a really good guitar player! Like the songs too!”

Punter B: “Me  too…. hey, she’s got CDs for sale here – let’s buy a couple!”

Punter A: “Hell, no! Who buys CDs when you can stream this shit for free?”

Punter B: “Yeah, you’re right.

Punter A: “Wonder who’s playing tomorrow…”

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I will shortly post some pieces of notated music which I have given the collective title of “Outros”. They are part of an ongoing project to collect a multitude of snippets, ideas, still-born songs sans lyrics, wine induced vanities, juvinilia I’d hoped to take beyond nostalgia and some half-finished guitar interludes that would otherwise be waste paper. There are quite a lot of them and they have no titles or any differentiating features beyond their key and time signatures and tempos. Therefore I decided I would name each by key and unique number, ie; “Outro in <key> No.<ID>”.  Tempo will be indicated at the head of the piece. But there is one other issue: published Outros are not necessarily finished or complete and I might revise (improve) any and all of them from time to time. So published versions will be differentiated by a file and on-page naming convention / protocol.

So these Outros will be published here as notated and unsophisticated (Finale) guitar scores; however for musicians who might be interested in MIDI versions for their own use, and also for the sake of anybody who would like to hear an audio facsimile of the notated part, these will also be posted. An Audio Exchange .XML file and .pdf of the original Finale score will also be made available. All these will be free to download and use under Creative Commons 4.0 license which means you can do what the heck you like with them except make money from them unless you cut me in.

That’s all for now. I hope to publish in a few days.

Happy New Year from Edinburgh!


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New Song: Roller Coaster with Guitar Notation, Tab and Lyrics

Play the song:

[audio:|titles=Roller Coaster]

For the score of the guitar part and the lyrics, please see below.

Cannabalising a nursery-rhyme is cheap trick but in this case it serves me well. In each verse a stolen line gives me a fine platform from which to plunge into…

In brief, this is a song about (…) and the alienation it causes and the need to conceal it and put a brave face on it in public – especially with work colleagues and even with close friends. The use of fairground imagery and the nursery-rhyme lines gives a sense of grotesque burlesque, I hope; a sense of the absurdity of acting in the external world in a way that is so remote from what goes on in the internal one.

The fact that the song is about (…) might surprise some since the guitar part is in a bright Major key and sounds pretty upbeat except during a couple of interludes. (Actually, if I mute the vocal in the studio the guitar part sounds for all the world like a cheery guitar ditty… oh, well.)

As with most of my songs, the guitar part and the tune came first within which was embedded the words. This song is hard to play and I haven’t played it since I recorded it; consequently I don’t perform it. Yet. What do you think? Should I take it out and about? Will it behave in public?

Download the tab & notation: Roller Coaster Guitar Part (451 downloads)

Roller Coaster

One, two, buckle my shoe
I live in a coloured caravan
What colour would you like it to be today?
Climb on board and I will change it if I can

Blood of mother, blood of father
Flows through these varicose veins
Add an eye of newt and a fat rat’s tail
And a bottle and a half of cheap champagne

Three, four, knock on my door
Step into the amusement arcade
I am a bundle of fun I am a barrel of laughs!
This joker here sharper than a razor blade

Drunk or sober sorrow steps over
And sits on the very next stool
And says “Gravity now is the most profound
It’s in the deepest sky it’s on the highest ground”

Five, six, pick up sticks
Listen to the rattle of the drum
The band is playing just for you
Don’t turn away please come

Seven, eight, don’t be late
The roller coaster’s ready to begin
Close your eyes now; hold on tight
Who knows where goes this flight tonight

She said “If you were a man you’d take you coloured caravan
And get rid of that melancholy hue
Paint it purple and pink instead of black and blue”
She said “If I were you that’s what I would do”

Nine, ten, big fat hen
Waiting for a cockle-doodle-do
I get dizzy spells, I get most unwell
But I’d still rather be me than you

© 2014 Dave Keir