For me, the joy of the creative process is up there with other key life events…say, feeling my wife’s prego belly as our baby does kung fu moves in utero.
That’s why I was tickled when I read a recent tweet from indie-rocker Laura Veirs. She said, “Somebody’s kicking me in the ribs! WTF?”
No, she didn’t get into a bar fight in England where she is currently on tour. She has an onboard band member (translation: she’s pregnant).
On the creative process, Veirs says in her online bio that writing “July Flame,” a song from her album by the same name (released Jan. 12, 2010, Raven Marching Band Records), helped her reach an important musical milestone.
“I’d been in a songwriting slump at that time and writing that song pushed me over my plateau and into a new place where I was surprising myself again,” she says.
The track’s title was borrowed from a variety of peaches called July Flame, which Veirs purchased for canning during a July 2008 visit to a Portland, Oregon farmer’s market.
Starting with a lonely, grieving guitar, the song takes us on a journey through firework flames and unfulfilled desire. The track never brings us to the shores of resolution, but gives us hope on the journey – as testified by a choir bolstered with uplifting strings at the song’s climax.
Full Lyrics to July Flame
Lead me through the night
Sweet summer peach
High up in the branch
Just out of my reach
“Can I call you mine?
Can I call you mine?
I’m seeing fireworks
They’re so beautiful
Tell me why it hurts
Ashes of a secret heart
Falling in my lemonade
Unslakeable thirsting in the back yard
“Can I call you mine?
Can I call you mine?”
For Veirs, the creative process didn’t stop with the song. Check out the beautiful “July Flame” video. (This may be the first time you’ve seen peach fireworks and wildlife roasting marshmallows!)
If you’re interested in learning more about the making of Veirs’ “July Flame” album, this video is for you.
The Hidden Meanings of Secret Heart
“July Flame” has several meanings in the song – a peach, will-o’-the- wisp and unrequited love (my guess). So, I have taken “secret heart” from the second verse and given it totally unintended new meanings.
- The Secret Heart (1946 film) – The New York Times describes “The Secret Heart” as “a psychological drama starring June Allyson as a disturbed teenager obsessed with the memory of her dead father and unable to embrace her stepmother.” Here’s the trailer.
- Paul McCartney’s Secret Heart Operation – In the fall of 2007, Paul McCartney secretively had a coronary angioplasty. Apparently it did the trick. He’s alive and kicking and recently wrote the song, “(I Want To) Come Home,” for the new Robert De Niro film, “Everybody’s Fine.”
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