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Gather All Her Tears – CD

Gather All Her Tears – Liner Notes

GatherAllHerTearsCoverFront GatherAllHerTearsCoverBack

We tried to recreate that back-porch feeling with this CD. For the most part I’m playing my acoustic Taylor 610 guitar and singing. Cata is playing her Carvin green bass. Effects are nearly non-existent. So what you hear is what you get.

Winds of Change – April 4, 2012

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

A friend of mine can never commit. She’s always pulled this way and that. What happens if she listens, is swayed by all those forces? Is the grass greener on the other side? I liked the images in this song. The midnight train is really a 6:00 in the morning Jamestown, NC train. And the fog, that’s from up around Blowing Rock, a cabin that lay on a mountain above fog blanketed valley one late April morning.

Alone – January 2002

Lyrics by Melanie and Wyndham Dennison and Steven Burns

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal
  • Brandon – Vocal Harmonies

Whew, one of the best songs I’ve ever written. I gave Melanie and Wyndham some ideas and some words that I had. They ran with it and wrote the rest. It is so successfully evocative of emptiness, loneliness. Don’t listen to it too much or you’ll get so depressed you’ll fall down on the floor crying.

That harmony? Oh that was created and recorded by my daughter Brandon.   Talk about proud…

When Will You Stop Haunting Me – August 15, 2011

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

You get tired of writing standard love songs. How to change them? What if this guy is in love with memories, almost like a ghost? Not so different. But what if there’s a twist at the end; he doesn’t want the memories to stop haunting him. Okay, that’s fun. A 40s slow jazz setting seems right. This song is devilish, hard to play; it’s in Bb, with no capo. You don’t do that on acoustic. But that’s its artistic source. Sometimes it pays to play in unusual keys.

Rivers Of My Mind – September 6, 2002

Lyrics by Melanie and Wyndham Dennison and Steven Burns

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

This song took forever to write, more than a year. The chorus was done for a long time, but the verse just wouldn’t come. One day I found myself wondering what would happen if I moved the chorus to the relative major, but put it in minor. Whoa, that was it. Two weeks later the song was done. Again, I was blessed to work with my friends Melanie and Wyndham. They took the images and matched them up to the music. When Melanie and I performed this she sang the lead. Here I had to transpose it back to the original key in which it was written and change the gender of the main character to male.

Starting All Over Again – April 11, 2015

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

As hard as Rivers of my Mind was to write, this one was easy. It’s an up-tempo blues shuffle. The song appeared over the course of a couple of days. The lyrics came out of watching so many people start again and again and again. As with many of my songs, it developed from guitar riffs, in this case two. The ones at the beginning of the verses are straight-forward. But the ones at the ends are complex enough that I had to work them with a metronome to make sure that I got them right. After all of that, it is really just a bit of fun.

You’re The Best Thing – March 28, 2014

For Catalina

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

This is a sort of early 60s folk rock song that just kinda wrote itself. Originally the do-bop singing was humming, but that just didn’t work when we were recording. It was really fun to write these images. And of course, this is about my lovely wife, Catalina.

Time’s An Illusion – November 21, 2014

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

This is another song that took forever to write. The A and B parts were there from the beginning. But the C section just refused to come. The words actually started before the melodies were all finished, unusual for me. I like the way this ambiguously plays back and forth between D major and D minor. As to the lyrics, time is an illusion; there is only now. Again, I like the images that came to mind, ended up as lyrics. Interesting note, it was written after the recording of this CD started.

When Love Dissolves – July 2003

Lyrics by Melanie and Wyndham Dennison and Steven Burns

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

Now this song has a story. It wouldn’t exist without Melanie and Wyndham. We were practicing for our duo, Burning Brooke. Between songs I just started playing that bass guitar riff that you hear at the beginning. Two weeks later we came to rehearse again they asked, “How’s the new song coming?” “What song?” They sang me the bass line. I wrote the song on our 50-mile trip home. Melanie and Wyndham wrote the words capturing the essence of the melody and chord progression. It is one of my favorites.

Lena – August 17, 2011

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

It’s a hot summer day in July and the Greensboro music festival. The closing act is a superb Latin-American band. Hispanic folks all jump in and start dancing. I’m captured by the rhythms. Can I write something like that? And here you have it.

Everything – September 29, 2014

For Catalina

  • Catalina – Bass
  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

This is a simple folk song with a couple of deceptive rhythms in the melody, could easily have been popular in my youth. The lyrics are more mature than any from my youth. There are so many songs about falling in love, as if it is an accident. No, I think we can choose to be in love. Again, this is for Catalina, whom I choose to love.

Gather All Her Tears – October 15, 2014

For Ioan Cascuescu – Tata

  • Steven – Guitar and vocal

This song was written in two days; the day before and the day of my father-in-law’s death. It was recorded live on the third day. It is the best song on this CD. I was working on the song, not knowing what it would be when I heard my wife cry upstairs. I knew instantly that Tata had passed. The song is as honest and accurate as they get. The words speak for themselves. While I could not speak his language (Romanian), I still miss him.

  • I heard when you passed in your daughter’s cry.
  • The whisper of her tears falling to the ground
  • Tata, open up your arms
  • Gather up, gather all her tears

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