LIFE'S TRUE
All lyrics on this page are held in copyright, 2005, 2006 by Dick Snyder.
Released 2006 by JRS Productions with vocals by Ken Sorenson, Amber O'Reilly, Steven White,
Jeff Kirby, Natalie Espinoza, Steve Davis, Cali Cheek, Racella DeGuia and Jason Buss.
Recorded at Bakersfield Music and Recording Studios
Reggie Langendoerfer, Engineer
CLICK HERE TO PREVIEW TRACKS AND ORDER LIFE'S TRUE
for friends and members of your family.
LYRICS To Tracks One, Two, Three and Four are integrated into the following narrative.
Born and raised in Taft, California, my professional career as a historian took me to the University of Wisconsin (La Crosse) where I remained for 35 years.  In 2001, my wife, Susan, died of ALS, and after a year of reflection, I decided to move to a better climate.  I chose Vancouver, Washington, but soon after arrival, I came into email contact with the coordinator of our High School 50th Class Reunion.  Her name….Linda Reed.  She had lost her husband, Bob two years earlier, and we began to discuss our reflections on life.  Two months later, I flew from Portland down to Bakersfield to see Linda. 

Although in high school, we never dated, rarely saw one another, and perhaps never spoke, we found ourselves smitten.  Within 6 months we were married, and I moved back to the Central Valley to my new “home ground” Bakersfield, California, a mere 40 miles from Taft.
CLICK HERE FOR AN ACCOUNT OF MY TRAVELING  JOURNEY FROM WISCONSIN SNOW TO BAKERSFIELD  (BELOW)
WISCONSIN COWS NEVER HAD IT THIS GOOD
COTTON FLANNELS IN WISCONSIN...SO THIS IS WHERE THEY COMES FROM !
A year later, on a a particular day, fighting the traffic of the city,  listening to the music and feeling a bit perky, I said to Linda, "I wonder if there is some part of a train that has not been the main theme of a country song?"  I mean, trains are everywhere in the genre, and while there are many topics required in a lyric for any country song  (David Allen Coe's She Never Even Called Me By My Name makes sure we know that), trains are certainly one of them and I got to thinking....about what part of a train could I write a lyric;  what part of a train is not yet famous?

Since I play no musical instrument, and I learned late in life, to my chagrin, that I cannot carry a tune in any key, nor even for one note, I decided that I would write a lyric, and then I would find someone who could, "marry it to music" as I later heard the phrase.

So, properly inspired, I sat down and wrote a lyric which I called,
The Boxcar In My Bedroom.  I was really taken with the title and the concept of a lonesome guy (what else) holed up in his space burdened by lost love and thus "boxed in" by his sadness. 

After several conversations with Linda, extending over quite a few months, she convinced me that the lyric needed to be less ethereal and more fixed.  So, the boxcar
became the bedroom.
BILL WOODS,
(F-R) WITH "YOU KNOW WHO".  They were the "Orange Blossom Playboys".
RADIO!  COUNTRY!  BUCK OWENS!
ALL IN ONE ROLLING VAN
SEARCHING FOR A MELODY:
My task now was to find a songwriter, and in a way, chance provided me a superb one.  In early 2005,  I renewed contact with a classmate, Ken Sorenson.  In conversation one day, I learned that he played acoustic guitar, and had been doing so for many years.  He also sang.  I asked if he could write a melody to a lyric, and he said, "oh, sure."  I asked how long it would take, and he said, "oh, about 20 minutes".
 
We made an appointment, and I brought the lyric over for him (still titled
Boxcar In My Bedroom) and sure enough, in twenty minutes, he had a melody for it and sang it powerfully.  I was stunned, seduced and now sentenced to a new stage of life

I wrote a couple more lyrics, and then got to thinking how much pleasure I would get if I were to make a recording of them.   Who knows what might happen?

I went back to Ken and asked him if he would be willing to work on lyrics for a few new pieces, and then record them for the album, and he said sure.  He liked "The Boxcar" but did not feel as attracted to it as he was to
Time is a Lonesome Traveler, and by the fall of  2005, he had recorded it and the CD was underway.
So, here is Time Is a Lonesome Traveler. As you will quickly hear, Ken likes Bob Dylan and the particular blend of that singing style, along with Ken's voice and the lyric made me feel that it belonged here as the first track on the album.  In the studio, we added nothing to his second take. 
TIME IS A LONESOME TRAVELER (1)
Lyrics by Dick Snyder, Music by Ken Sorenson
Vocal by Ken Sorenson

Take a moment from today,
Embrace a moment, yesterday,

Grasp a moment from tomorrow,
Hold it tightly, joy or sorrow.
  Time is a Lonesome Traveler

There in the fragile spaces know,
The bursts of life’s precious flow,

Great love, great pain, a dime or two,
Sheltered thoughts, comments too,
  Time is a Lonesome Traveler

Now we know the end’s in sight,
Grasp today with all your might.
Walk gently through the morning dew,
Let all of life flow over you,

In the journey of the flight, twilight,
Take a look both left and right,

Know that the distant blurry light,
Brings visions of an endless night.
  Time is a Lonesome Traveler

Now we know the end’s in sight,
Grab today with all your might.
Walk gently through the morning dew,
Let all life flow over you, (reprise)
Time is a Lonesome Traveler
  Time is a Lonesome, Lonesome Traveler
KEN SORENSON
STILL HAVEN'T FOUND THE BOXCAR, HAVE WE....WELL, THERE WERE SOME OTHER THINGS HAPPENING TOO. 
One song was not enough, and I soon needed another songwriter to help me with new lyrics.  Working through Valley Baptist Church, I contacted Reggie Langendoerfer of Bakersfield Music and Recording Studios.
When I first talked to Reggie about making this album, he suggested that I would want to have as much variety on it as possible. When I had only four lyrics that did not seem to be too important.  But as I wrote more, and the nature of the lyrics began to become more varied, I could see the value of what he had to say.  In fact, everything Reggie has to say is based upon more than 30 years of experience in this business, as a musician, as a studio performer and as an engineer who has a great ear and an eye for perfection.  So, I went looking for some other talent who could help me with some lyrics that really did not belong in the Bob Dylan songbook.  First, I found Steven White; then I found Amber O'Reilly.
ROLL UP THE LIGHTS
Early in my conversations with Amber, she mentioned that she had two sisters, Natalie Espinoza and Cali Cheek with whom she had sung for many years, and she wanted to know if I would like to incorporate them in her performance arrangements.  I said yes.  I was interested in trying a lot of things....variety, Reggie said. 

So, the sisters, once having sung as the musical group, "GENETIC" did their first recording for me of a Christmas song,
When Santa's Jingles Jiggle. You won't find it on this album, but it will be on a future Christmas album that we are going to make.
 
Amber's second effort was the title song for this album,
Life's True.  The point of that song is that young people learn early that there are indeed consequences to their impulses and actions...life's true that way.

Amber wrote another three melodies for me and each had a special quality and cast to it.   I had an additional treat in that I met the three sister's mother, Marty Cheek, and Natalie's new son, Conrad, who seemed to be growing up before my eyes.
Cali Cheek
left)
Natalie Espinoza
(center), Amber O'Reilly (right) and(below)
Conrad, in the arms of grandmother, Marty Cheek
The sisters recorded several songs for this album, and Roll Up the Lights required some individual intensity.  Natalie brought it. .
ROLL UP THE LIGHTS (2)
Lyrics by Dick Snyder, Music by Amber O'Reilly
Vocal by Natalie Espinoza

Turnin’ off the hard lights,
Haulin’ in the stairs,
Ready for a long night,
Feelin’ fresh, cool air.

Bringin’ in the flashpan,
Cleanin’ out our wares,
Throwin’ out the ashcan,
Sendin’ out our cares.

Flashin’ zany foot moves,
Flarin’ bodies bare,
Wearin’ all the same mood,
Hearin’ fabric tear,

Roll up the lights; we’ve found our new day,
Nobody’s up tight; we’ve all gone astray.

Hissin’ out the music,
Fleshin’ out the words,
Messin’ with the lyric,
Rhymin’ for the birds,

Bump! the floor’s rebounding,
Swish! The skirts fly by,
Oooo! Our heads are pounding,
Flirtin’ tells us why.

Pluckin’ at our heartstrings,
Dry’in up some tears,
Seein’ what our touch brings,
Sooth’ our lovers fears.

Roll up the lights; we’ve found our new day.
Nobody’s up tight; we’ve all gone astray.

Crushin’ out the darkness
Flashin’ mornin’ rays,
Seein’ what the night brought,
Shoo our cares away.

Tangled up in garments
Lookin’ for a friend,
Takin’ what the gods gave,
Knowin’ how it ends.

Stretchin’ out and standing
Takin’ in the air,
Steppin’ down the landing,
Walking to nowhere.
Roll up the lights; we’ve found our new day.
Nobody’s up tight; we’ve all gone astray…gone astraaay.
Natalie Espinoza teaches piano and saxaphone to 55 students a week and generally keeps life together for her family...no doubt singing as she works.
"I am a mother of four", she says, and that is what I REALLY do!  Maybe that energy is what she translates into this vocal. 
When I first talked to Reggie about finding someone to write melody for my lyrics, he suggested Steven White.  I called, he answered, and we met.  From the very first, we just seemed to hit it off.  As did Reggie, Steven told me that I wanted to seek out variety on the recordings and that while he was happy to write melody for me, I was not to feel "bound" to either his song or to his performing it.  On that basis, we proceded, and in the end, Steven wrote eight melodies that I thought fit each lyric naturally and in a very musically appealing structure.  "Boxcar" was the first song we wrote together, and as sometimes happens, we fiddled with it for quite a long time, until it turned out to be the last song we recorded for the album.  In the end, I had the good fortune to have Steve Davis, a regular headliner at the Crystal Palace, record it.  It is country; I have not heard of a song featuring a boxcar; and it appeals to the roots of an early Bakersfield feature...trains.
In Bakersfield, there is a general consensus that making the lights on Calloway is always tricky, usually futile, and therefore extremely frustrating.
Every city has a street like this; Calloway is ours.
Steven White  wrote a "driving" melody, then turned it into a bit of fun and sang it just like a frustrated motorist might.
The Boxcar Is My Bedroom (3)
Lyrics by Dick and Linda Snyder
Music/Narrative  by Steven White
Vocal by Steve Davis


   Daddy died, mama tried, to keep me in my place,
    I’d hide, then lied and reached for my own space,
   Love smiled, awhile, and breathed upon my face,
    I sighed, then cried, when she left me in a daze.

Oh, the Boxcar is my Bedroom,
Every door is locked up tight,
Yeh, the Boxcar is my Bedroom,
And I cannot find the light.
That  ol’ Boxcar is my Bedroom
And as the wheels roll through the night,
I look,… and look again… there’s no caboose in sight.

Set me on the tracks, take me off the sidin’.
Flag me down, knock me down, there’s just no place I’m hidin’.

Just look around and find my town, set the pot a cookin’,
Signal with the blinkin’ switch, I’ll know that your lookin’.

There’s always time to set a chime, to send a cowboy spinnin’
You know I cannot hide again, my life’s just beginin’.

Don’t leave me bouncin’, honey, holdin’ shadows in the dark.
Save me from the boxcar, and its walls so black and stark.

If the wheels don’t make a stop, at your depot on my way,
Just wave goodbye another time, and I’ll know not to stay.

But if you care, unhitch the locks that keep me in my place
And let the cars go rolling on and reach for my embrace.

That ol' Boxcar is my Bedroom,
Every door is locked up tight.
Yep, that Boxcar is my Bedroom,
And I cannot find the light.
That ‘ol  Boxcar is my Bedroom
And as the wheels roll through the night,
I look, …and look again,……but there’s no caboose in sight.
NOBODY MAKES IT THROUGH CALLOWAY (4)
Lyrics by Dick Snyder, Music by Steven White
Vocal by Steven White


Out there on the streets of Bakersfield,
Spinning with the wheels of change,
I set out to buy my goods and things,
Cause optimisms my middle name.

Down the highway, flow with the cars,
We were all drinking fuel, like a well-oiled bar,
Then I saw it, tension suddenly built,
The road up ahead puts all my plans on tilt,
  Cause, I'll Have to Make It Through Calloway .

I slowed with some caution, judging the pace,
Avoided temptations to get in a race,
Checked all the lanes for maximum space,
And waited to see what lights I would face.
  This Time, I’ll Make It Through Calloway .

I saw with a glance the lamps were all green,
You’d think I’d be dancing, but the street is so mean.
I timed my cruising …fast, slow or go!
But I knew it would get me, I know what I know.
  Only a Few Make It Through Calloway .

Cruisin on and still there’s no yellow,
Lanes change, cars suddenly slow,
I check, I look to see but I can’t go.
Somehow the green no longer glows.
  If I Rush I'll Make It Through Calloway .

It’s Red, damn it’s red, the whole trip’s delayed,
I feel so bitter, then suddenly frayed.
It seemed that for once, I was in the right place,
But I forgot the strict rule of Bakersfield’s space.

Cause, NOBODY Makes It through Calloway .
Hell, nobody makes it through Calloway.
Steve Davis is the regular Saturday Night Headliner at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace.
He has recorded in Nashville, put out two albums, brings great energy and vitality to a song and has genuine country musicality.
 
I knew when I first heard him sing that his voice has strong inherent dynamic, and I also learned that he can sing as you request: Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, George Strait...he can do them all.  But he also has a voice of his own, and we are so happy to learn that he has recently signed a recording contract with Spectra Records.  We are lucky to have him recording songs for this album!

Steve likes to work his way through a lyric very carefully, and when he finishes, I know that I have a genuine country song!   By the time he had finished with the
Boxcar I felt pretty sure that there was no doubt this guy would be living in it for quite a while to come.

His feeling for
Let's Dream About Texas gave the tune a special timbre and I loved his last phrase.  
Steve always has a gleam of energy in his eyes, an electricity of action that accounts for the dynamics found in his voice.

All that and he is a lot of fun with a great "out there" style.  Heck, he even knows people in Taft. When you see him, ask for a copy of "the Dog Song". :-)
Working with Steven White has been such a relaxing and creative process, right from day one.  He showed up with a hand-held tape recorder and said, "read me your lyric as you feel it, and then I will go home and create some music for it.  If you like it, buy it.  If you don't I'll try again."

He never brought me a tune I did not like.  Once I heard it, we went into the studio and recorded a "scratch track" and then I bought the song.  Having a recording of it allowed me to register the copyright.   Steve has spent much of his life, playing music, composing, recording and working with various Bakersfield musicians such as Red Simpson and Merle Haggard.  
Steve now appears occasionally in Bakersfield, plays club dates in Los Angeles, records for his own pleasure, and provides a strong, masculine baritone to a "rough and ready song".

You'll notice that Steve's narration is the introduction to the
Boxcar.  He captured the flavor of those words with such authenticity that I had to keep it.  So, he introduces the story, and Steve Davis sings it.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO LYRICS FIVE THROUGH TEN.