Gibson Brands Forums: "Uniontown" (yet again....) - Gibson Brands Forums

Jump to content

Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

"Uniontown" (yet again....)

#1 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted 07 October 2018 - 03:15 AM

The rewriting blitz continues....

"Uniontown" is a song I wrote a couple of years ago. Or wrote versions of it, anyway. I posted versions here a little over a year and a half ago. It's about the town in Pennsylvania and the economic changes there. (Despite the current administration's proclaimed love of coal, mines around Uniontown have not reopened, unemployment remains higher than the national average and the job market increase is half the national average.)

It's another of those songs I didn't play much live, and the reluctance to perform it always tells me that something in my gut knows the song doesn't work. While I liked parts of the song, I didn't like others, so I took it back to the drawing board and did some editing. Cut a whole line out of each verse and rewrote other lines. Then I added a new verse at the end. The melody is utilitarian and I still need to figure out if I can sing it in this key or change it. Still thinking about the tempo, too. Any thoughts/insights/suggestionsare are welcome.

And it has a chorus!


Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#2 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted 07 October 2018 - 06:06 AM

Been playing around with the song a bit and need some honest feedback. Which version do you guys think works best, story-wise -- the version in the video, or this one:

This bar’s deserted on a Tuesday night
Bucs are on TV, it's in the 9th
Bartender, another round
Here in Uniontown

I come home from Desert Storm
Run a cutter like my dad before
China dumped steel, dominoes crashed down
Here in Uniontown

(Chorus)
King Coal built this town, might as well use it to burn it down
Here in Uniontown, here in Uniontown

Shut down mines, laid off crew
Robbed our pensions, healthcare, too
They keep saying things’ll turn around
Here in Uniontown

Redstone coal, Pittsburgh steel
Believed in things we thought were real
Politicians let us down
Here in Uniontown

(chorus)

From the shuttered mines of Chestnut Ridge
To the rusting ghosts of Homestead mills
Abandoned, they make no sound
Here in Uniontown

Shoulda left long ago
Bituminous coal is all I know
So bartender, one last round
Here in Uniontown
So bartender, one last round
Here in Uniontown

This post has been edited by dhanners623: 07 October 2018 - 08:03 AM

Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#3 User is online   Lars68 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1769
  • Joined: 26-October 10

Posted 07 October 2018 - 06:50 AM

David, I like this song very much, and I remember it from last time around. I think I probably pointed this out then too. Even though unintentional, the lyrics in the video have very much in common with the Springsteen song Youngstown. It is a folk style song about the very same topic, with pretty much the same storyline, but the guy is coming home from a different war. There is absouletly nothing wrong with that, but I think it works to your disadvantage, since many listeners might already be familiar with the Springsteen song. There is not much you can do about that...

So for that reason I prefer the second version. Great song either way, so please don't take what I just said the wrong way.

Lars

Springsteen's "Youngstown"

Here in northeast Ohio
Back in eighteen-o-three
James and Dan Heaton
Found the ore that was linin' Yellow Creek
They built a blast furnace
Here along the shore
And they made the cannonballs
That helped the Union win the war

Here in Youngstown
Here in Youngstown
My sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in Youngstown

Well my daddy worked the furnaces
Kept 'em hotter than hell
I come home from 'Nam worked my way to scarfer
A job that'd suit the devil as well
Taconite coke and limestone
Fed my children and make my pay
Them smokestacks reachin' like the arms of God
Into a beautiful sky of soot and clay

Here in Youngstown
Here in Youngstown
Sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in Youngstown

Well my daddy come on the Ohio works
When he come home from World War Two
Now the yard's just scrap and rubble
He said "Them big boys did what Hitler couldn't do."
These mills they built the tanks and bombs
That won this country's wars
We sent our sons to Korea and Vietnam
Now we're wondering what they were dyin' for

Here in Youngstown
Here in Youngstown
My sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in Youngstown

From the Monongahela valley
To the Mesabi iron range
To the coal mines of Appalachia
The story's always the same
Seven hundred tons of metal a day
Now sir you tell me the world's changed
Once I made you rich enough
Rich enough to forget my name

And Youngstown
And Youngstown
My sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in Youngstown

When I die I don't want no part of heaven
I would not do heaven's work well
I pray the devil comes and takes me
To stand in the fiery furnaces of hell

This post has been edited by Lars68: 07 October 2018 - 06:51 AM

0

#4 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted 07 October 2018 - 08:10 AM

Well, history is history and the five strikers killed at Uniontown in the UMW strike of 1894 is part of the story, if I choose to tell it that way.

To me, the second version gets the listener into the song more quickly, placing the listener with the protagonist on a barstool. It avoids the history lesson. I have to figure out if the history lesson adds anything to the song.

And, in all honesty, it had been years since I'd heard Springsteen's song and couldn't recite the lyrics to save my life and had no recollection of the melody. I just remembered, vaguely, that he'd had a song named "Youngstown."
Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#5 User is offline   PatriotsBiker 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 186
  • Joined: 17-September 11

Posted 07 October 2018 - 08:27 AM

Very nice, again.
I thought your vocals for this key worked just fine.
Same for the tempo. Slower might be truer to the subject matter, but might be a bit much for a live crowd.

So, my only thing was that I thought it got long, like some point was beleaguered. I didn't quite so much the second time I listened.

All in all, I think it's gotta be close.
2018 - Gibson SJ-200 Standard
2018 - Gibson Hummingbird Standard
2015 - Taylor 614CE
2013 - Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro(59)
2014 - Epiphone Black Royale P93
2015 - Epiphone ES335 Custom
2005 - Epiphone Les Paul Custom (MIK)
2008 - Fender Tele (MIM) - Modded to Keefocaster
2011 - Fender USA Strat Standard
2012 - Fender USA Telecaster
2009 - PRS SE Paul Allender
2007 - Gretsch 5120 Electromatic
2016 - Fender Jazz Bass (MIM)
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue
Jet City Amps 20W JCA2112RC
0

#6 User is offline   zombywoof 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 7622
  • Joined: 24-January 08

Posted 07 October 2018 - 08:41 AM

Nice! Uniontown, by the way, is where my daughter goes to high school.
__________________________________________________


"I play so rough - I stomp 'em"
Bukka White
0

#7 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted 07 October 2018 - 09:28 PM

Been thinking about the song and various comments, so here is the present version.

Sometimes, I'll do a word count to see if the verses are close to being the same size. If one verse has 15 words and another has 30, you know things are off-balance. The six verses had 20, 20, 22, 20, 22 and 18 words. Being anal and/or maybe OCD, I thought, "Hmmm.... What if all the verses were 20 words?" So I cut two words out of the two verses that had 22 words, and I added two words to the verse that had 18. So now all the verses have 20 words.

I turned the chorus into a bridge and was surprised to discover it, too, had 20 words.

This barís deserted on a Tuesday night
Bucs on TV, it's in the 9th
Bartender, another round
Here in Uniontown

Redstone coal, Pittsburgh steel
Believed in things we thought were real
Then it all came crashing down
Here in Uniontown

Came home from Desert Storm
Run cutters like my dad before
China dumped steel, dominoes fell down
Here in Uniontown

Shut down mines, laid off crew
Robbed our pensions, healthcare, too
They keep saying thingsíll turn around
Here in Uniontown

(Bridge)
King Coal built this town
Might as well use it to burn it down
Here in Uniontown
Here in Uniontown

From the shuttered mines of Chestnut Ridge
To ghosts of Homestead mills
Abandoned, they make no sound
Here in Uniontown

Shoulda left this valley long ago
Bituminous coal is all I know
So bartender, one last round
Here in Uniontown

Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#8 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted 08 October 2018 - 02:44 AM

Here's a video of the revised version. Just to be different, I used my Republic single-cone reso on it. If I could teach myself some slide, it might be a good song for that....


Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#9 User is offline   PatriotsBiker 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 186
  • Joined: 17-September 11

Posted 08 October 2018 - 04:57 AM

Same length and I had no sense of it being beleaguering. I like the potential of the resonator, too.

I like how you removed the verse about the strikers. It didn't tie in. To me, the listener, the song was about modern-day woes of Uniontown from the POV of the lonely bar patron.

I was wondering last time, when you introduce us to the bar patron, that a bit different game situation could tie into the mood a more. Something like the bucs 'down 3 in the 9th' instead of "it's in the 9th". Then the bartender has a darned fine reason to pour a round.

I liked "digging coal is all I know" better than the "Bituminous coal is all I know", but I'm not from coal country.

All in all, I think it's an improvement to an already good song.
2018 - Gibson SJ-200 Standard
2018 - Gibson Hummingbird Standard
2015 - Taylor 614CE
2013 - Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro(59)
2014 - Epiphone Black Royale P93
2015 - Epiphone ES335 Custom
2005 - Epiphone Les Paul Custom (MIK)
2008 - Fender Tele (MIM) - Modded to Keefocaster
2011 - Fender USA Strat Standard
2012 - Fender USA Telecaster
2009 - PRS SE Paul Allender
2007 - Gretsch 5120 Electromatic
2016 - Fender Jazz Bass (MIM)
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue
Jet City Amps 20W JCA2112RC
0

#10 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted 08 October 2018 - 05:29 AM

View PostPatriotsBiker, on 08 October 2018 - 04:57 AM, said:

Same length and I had no sense of it being beleaguering. I like the potential of the resonator, too.

I like how you removed the verse about the strikers. It didn't tie in. To me, the listener, the song was about modern-day woes of Uniontown from the POV of the lonely bar patron.

I was wondering last time, when you introduce us to the bar patron, that a bit different game situation could tie into the mood a more. Something like the bucs 'down 3 in the 9th' instead of "it's in the 9th". Then the bartender has a darned fine reason to pour a round.

I liked "digging coal is all I know" better than the "Bituminous coal is all I know", but I'm not from coal country.

All in all, I think it's an improvement to an already good song.


Thanks. I may add some verses to humanize the guy a bit more. And you're probably right about the "bituminous" line. It's almost as if I was trying to show off by using a big word. In some songs it might fit, but not this one, I'm beginning to think.
Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#11 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:21 AM

Here's today's rewrite. I watched the video interview of Jason Isbell that Lars posted, looked back over my lyrics and thought, "Why do I bother?" Then I decided to see if I could fix what was broken in the song, and realized there was quite a bit broken.

I went online and read some more articles on Uniontown, mining and the surrounding communities. There were a number of articles from before and after the 2016 election. A number of the articles stressed the dire economy. It appears the area also has a pretty serious drug problem, including heroin.

There are a couple of imperfect rhymes, but Pat Pattinson tells us that that's ok. If you're the least bit interested in songwriting, check out some of Pattison's videos on YouTube. They're pretty insightful.

Dad would take us for Sunday drives
Down the river roads to see the mines
He’d say, “King Coal feeds you, keeps you housed”
In Uniontown

I come home from Desert Storm
Run a cutter like dad before
China dumped steel, dominoes fell down
In Uniontown

Shut down mines, laid off crew
Robbed our pensions, healthcare too
They lie and say it'll turn around
In Uniontown

Everyone's got past-due bills
Some turn to heroin or the pills
Numb the pain as life comes unwound
In Uniontown

Redstone coal, Pittsburgh steel
All we export now is our kids
No work so they don’t hang around
In Uniontown

From the shut-down mines of Chestnut Ridge
To ghosts of Homestead mills
Derelict and dead, they make no sound
In Uniontown


This post has been edited by dhanners623: 11 October 2018 - 02:02 PM

Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#12 User is online   Lars68 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1769
  • Joined: 26-October 10

Posted 11 October 2018 - 09:23 AM

Very good. I especially like the line All we export now is our kids. That one speaks volumes!

A new video perhaps?

Lars
0

#13 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted 12 October 2018 - 08:36 AM

View PostLars68, on 11 October 2018 - 09:23 AM, said:

Very good. I especially like the line All we export now is our kids. That one speaks volumes!

A new video perhaps?

Lars


Thanks for the kind words. I'm tweaking the melody and haven't finalized it yet. A video will be forthcoming when I decide on the chord progression.
Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#14 User is offline   dhanners623 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 22-February 10

Posted Today, 12:58 AM

Ok, NOW it's done. I think....


Check out my latest record, There Are No Secrets in This Town, by going to https://davidhannersmusic.com. Thanks!
0

#15 User is offline   blindboygrunt 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: All Access
  • Posts: 9096
  • Joined: 22-November 11

Posted Today, 01:26 AM

Yip

Best one youíve done as far as I can remember you posting songs
Like that a lot , some lyrics were hard to pick out though ....

Good job sir
0

Share this topic:


Page 1 of 1
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users