Let it Show
I wrote this song in the summer of 2005 and recorded it for my 2006 Hybrid Recordings release Ready. Hybrid was never interested in pushing it as a radio single despite my urging that it was the song that resonated most with audiences, and it’s now inexplicably disappeared from itunes and most everywhere else.
I’ve sung “Let it Show” at birthdays and memorials, on TV and by hospital bedsides, in churches and bars, on stages big and small around this country and a few others. It has evolved a bit over the years, and recent rehearsals with the band and producer Kevin Killen have tweaked it a bit more. So now we plan to re-record the song and give it another chance at being heard. Though Kate Chumley’s video to the original is transcendent, maybe we’ll even make another one. Hopefully all will become clear next week at Mission Sound, Brooklyn. In the meantime, here’s some backstory (originally published 4/06 in “Hot Mom’s Club” magazine. Oh yeah):
Sometimes I hate songwriting. Well, most times I hate songwriting. The process makes me feel like I am hitched up to an IV giving me a slow drip of lethargy, numbness and self-pity. And here I was again, staring into space with an empty notebook in front of me and a guitar and Wurlitzer piano at arms length, untouched. It was a perfect summer day, and I wanted to be doing anything but this. But I had pledged to myself that I would write one more song to bring into the studio. I was just about to start recording a new album with my band, and the studio dates were about two weeks away.
Another, more significant, deadline was looming: I was about 6 weeks away from the projected birthday of my first child. We knew he was going to be a boy. Most times it was hard to think of anything else but him, whoever he was.
little man, little man, I can see
you are not such a mystery to me
little questions, little highs, little lows, in a row
With a few lines of lyric, it was time to find some chords and/or a melody. My fingers went to something on the guitar neck that sounded pretty interesting and different (turned out later it was just a trusty old C major chord) and I plucked out some notes and started to sing.
Nothing really exciting so far. It was all so depressing, and I wanted to take a nap. It would be nice to blame my tiredness and bad mood on the pregnancy, but that had been the easy part. I had felt fine and energetic thoughout – it was just the condition of being a songwriter that made me sluggish. I went to the other room and lay down on the bed, gazing at the cherry dresser against the wall.
will you be bumpy like a pine cone?
cover your soft heart, try to be alone?
will you be smooth like sanded timber?
woodgrain winding, graceful and limber?
During my first date with my record label, the head of the company Al Cafaro shared with me his music business mantra: “Authenticity — Discovery – Ownership.” Create something real, let it come to the people organically, and then they consider it their own. I liked that word “authenticity” – it was certainly something I always strived for.
I’ve been thinking of this way-processed world
of authenticity and the one thing you should know –
is find your joy and let it show
Maceo Duva Crump was born on September 2nd, 2005, and he is indeed a joyful boy. Most of his gestation and the first 5 months of his life have had the creation of my album “Ready” as its soundtrack, and his song “Let it Show” was the hardest for me to make and the easiest for me to listen to.
Join me in the making of my new album, Reckoning http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/jenchapin