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dhanners623

New song: "Jar on the Counter"

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Songs can have unexpected trajectories. “Jar on the Counter” is the evolution of a song I wrote years ago called “Longwall Mine Blues,” which by spring 2011 had morphed into “Witch Hazel Mine.” It's a song I still enjoy playing live.

An EP project I want to do involves West Terre Haute, IN. It was a coal mining town until the early 1960s, and they still mine a bit of coal there.  I need a couple of songs about coal and I figured if I added a bit of local color, “Witch Hazel Mine” would fit on the EP.

One tweak led to another. Lines got added, edited or cut. Verses got added, edited or cut. The title changed to “Sugar Creek,” and a series of even more tweaks resulted in an early draft of “Jar on the Counter,” then I kind of hit a roadblock or two.

Over the weekend, a Facebook songwriting challenge group I’m in posted the new prompt -- “brittle.” For whatever reason, the word unlocked the roadblocks (?!?) and so here is “Jar on the Counter.”  It contains zero from the song I started with. I can go back to doing “Witch Hazel Mine” as it was.

As always, it is a work in progress and I'm not sold on the melody, but I figured the song is far enough along to present a version.

For our international members and those who live in sensible countries with socialized medicine, the title is a reference to a uniquely American phenomenon. Sometimes in the U.S., you'll go into a store and there'll be a jar on the counter with somebody's photo -- often a child -- and a little note saying they are trying to raise money for a life-saving operation the person needs but insurance doesn't cover it or the person is out of work, etc. Basically, it is someone begging for your spare change to save the life of a loved one. And we wonder why America is wholly unprepared to handle a pandemic....

I've lived abroad for nearly six years and have lived and/or traveled in nine countries. So far, America is the only country where I've seen jars on the counter.

And, yeah, J-35s were built for songs like this. It is in their DNA....

 

 

 

Jar on the Counter       

© 2020 by David Hanners

                  

I was UMW ‘cause it stood with us                                                                 

My family’s been union since the days of John Lewis

The coal we cut just enriched wealthy men

Took all they could then just packed up and left

 

Our coal fed the Wabash River power plant

When the air permits expired, that was the end of that

When I’ll work steady next, I don’t know

Life is hard and it's brittle, just like No. 5 coal

 

Told us we’ll make America great again

They said coal’s coming back but they don’t say when

Rich man never knew what it's like not bein’ rich

Or to not have insurance when your kid gets sick

 

Jar on the counter at the Stop & Shop

As if spare change will ever be enough 

Preacher says God works in strange ways

Buy my beer, head home, waste another day

 
Edited by dhanners623

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3 hours ago, dhanners623 said:

Songs can have unexpected trajectories. “Jar on the Counter” is the evolution of a song I wrote years ago called “Longwall Mine Blues,” which by spring 2011 had morphed into “Witch Hazel Mine.” It's a song I still enjoy playing live.

An EP project I want to do involves West Terre Haute, IN. It was a coal mining town until the early 1960s, and they still mine a bit of coal there.  I need a couple of songs about coal and I figured if I added a bit of local color, “Witch Hazel Mine” would fit on the EP.

One tweak led to another. Lines got added, edited or cut. Verses got added, edited or cut. The title changed to “Sugar Creek,” and a series of even more tweaks resulted in an early draft of “Jar on the Counter,” then I kind of hit a roadblock or two.

Over the weekend, a Facebook songwriting challenge group I’m in posted the new prompt -- “brittle.” For whatever reason, the word unlocked the roadblocks (?!?) and so here is “Jar on the Counter.”  It contains zero from the song I started with. I can go back to doing “Witch Hazel Mine” as it was.

As always, it is a work in progress and I'm not sold on the melody, but I figured the song is far enough along to present a version.

For our international members and those who live in sensible countries with socialized medicine, the title is a reference to a uniquely American phenomenon. Sometimes in the U.S., you'll go into a store and there'll be a jar on the counter with somebody's photo -- often a child -- and a little note saying they are trying to raise money for a life-saving operation the person needs but insurance doesn't cover it or the person is out of work, etc. Basically, it is someone begging for your spare change to save the life of a loved one. And we wonder why America is wholly unprepared to handle a pandemic....

I've lived abroad for nearly six years and have lived and/or traveled in nine countries. So far, America is the only country where I've seen jars on the counter.

And, yeah, J-35s were built for songs like this. It is in their DNA....

 

 

 

Jar on the Counter       

© 2020 by David Hanners

                  

I was UMW ‘cause it stood with us                                                                 

My family’s been union since the days of John Lewis

The coal we cut just enriched wealthy men

Took all they could then just packed up and left

 

Our coal fed the Wabash River power plant

When the air permits expired, that was the end of that

When I’ll work steady next, I don’t know

Life is hard and it's brittle, just like No. 5 coal

 

Told us we’ll make America great again

They said coal’s coming back but they don’t say when

Rich man never knew what it's like not bein’ rich

Or to not have insurance when your kid gets sick

 

Jar on the counter at the Stop & Shop

As if spare change will ever be enough 

Preacher says God works in strange ways

Buy my beer, head home, waste another day

 

 

 

WOW !     Not the song - the political commentary.   Poor timing given the Corona Virus thing, don't you think?  

 

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1 hour ago, fortyearspickn said:

 

 

WOW !     Not the song - the political commentary.   Poor timing given the Corona Virus thing, don't you think?  

 

 

Obviously, I disagree or I wouldn't have stuck it in there as context for the song. If you live outside the U.S., chances are you have no idea what the "jar on the counter" line refers to so I felt it important to explain. Our friends who live in other countries may be unaware that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies in the U.S. involve medical issues -- either from high cost of care or time out of work.

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Harvard study - top  5 reasons for personal bankruptcy in the US  have nothing to do with healthcare:  Job Loss,  Poor/excess use of credit, Divorce, Unexpected Expenses (uninsured losses). 

So when you say  'High cost of care  OR time out of work'   the answer is  Time Out of Work NOT healthcare costs. 

I worked in healthcare finance for a few decades.   In the US, we have  tax payer supported county hospitals that take 'charity' patients. And the other 95% of the US hospitals take their fair share. Approximately 15% of their patients are uninsured. They pay, on average TWO PERCENT  of their bill.  That doesn't bankrupt anyone. But, it doesn't come close to covering the providers costs.  If anyone would go bankrupt - it would be the doctor or hospital who accepted only patients with no funds.   If you want to write songs and commentaries for our friends who live outside the USA, I suggest you limit your political comment to sites and forums in those countries.  

In the meantime - just initiate threads here that have to do with acoustic guitars  and not your views regarding socialized medicine. The fact you bought a J35 does not give you a platform to espouse your political views here.  

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4 hours ago, fortyearspickn said:

Harvard study - top  5 reasons for personal bankruptcy in the US  have nothing to do with healthcare:  Job Loss,  Poor/excess use of credit, Divorce, Unexpected Expenses (uninsured losses). 

So when you say  'High cost of care  OR time out of work'   the answer is  Time Out of Work NOT healthcare costs. 

I worked in healthcare finance for a few decades.   In the US, we have  tax payer supported county hospitals that take 'charity' patients. And the other 95% of the US hospitals take their fair share. Approximately 15% of their patients are uninsured. They pay, on average TWO PERCENT  of their bill.  That doesn't bankrupt anyone. But, it doesn't come close to covering the providers costs.  If anyone would go bankrupt - it would be the doctor or hospital who accepted only patients with no funds.   If you want to write songs and commentaries for our friends who live outside the USA, I suggest you limit your political comment to sites and forums in those countries.  

In the meantime - just initiate threads here that have to do with acoustic guitars  and not your views regarding socialized medicine. The fact you bought a J35 does not give you a platform to espouse your political views here.  

 

I guess if you worked in healthcare finance, that explains what is, arguably, your knee-jerk reaction. Go back and read my original post. Other than calling countries with healthcare-for-all "sensible," (are they not "sensible"?) there's nothing political about it. Did I advocate socialized medicine? No. Did you read criticism of the American healthcare system? No. Did you see me express a "political" opinion? No. Did I explain the context of the song for people unfamiliar with seeing others begging for money for medical care? You bet. Otherwise, they wouldn't get the reference because they don't see that in their countries.

Meanwhile, I'll see your study and raise you one:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/11/this-is-the-real-reason-most-americans-file-for-bankruptcy.html

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/medical-bankruptcy-killing-american-middle-class-2019-02-14

I'm thinking your own biases are coloring your reaction here. If you don't like what's being discussed, move on. Comment on another thread. Visit another website. Go out and smell the flowers. Crack open a book. Take a walk. But maybe not tell another forum member what he or she is free to post?

Edited by dhanners623

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