Long May You Run (reposted from Facebook)
The story behind “Long May You Run” is somewhat sad. In the summer of 2015, as the band and I were cobbling together what we THOUGHT would be an EP, Colleen Ehlers, fiancée to bassist Jacque Jobes, lost her uncle to cancer. It was a terrible blow to Colleen, because the two of them were close. It was also tough on Jacque because he himself was a cancer survivor, and he couldn’t understand how somebody whom he viewed as having lived a “better” life than his own could be stricken with and succumb so quickly to a disease that Jacque had beaten.
I had intended to attend the services, but got the dates mixed up in my calendar and wound up missing the memorial. Overwhelmed with guilt, I wrote this song for Colleen and Jacque.
The lyrics and chords came very quickly, within a matter of under an hour, in all likelihood. I just knew I needed to state something that both expressed their grief (and the guilt of survival) while also shining a light of hope on the entire situation.
The recording of the song also came together very quickly. I laid down a piano and vocal line to a click track and, once in the studio, the band played along and nailed the song in a matter of three or four takes. Steve Jankowski might have some additional comments on the evolution of the arrangement, because he molded the song as we went, offering changes with each take until we had got a sound that suited the material. Tom Briant came back to my home studio and overdubbed the guitar flourishes.
You can hear the album version from THE BLEACHED BONES OF TITANS here.
Early in the summer, after I’d been writing some new songs experimenting with an early 80s synth pop sound, I decided to begin a series of EPs to feature these new songs with new versions of existing songs from BLEACHED BONES. “Long May You Run” was the first existing track to get such a makeover. I recorded all the instrumentation at home, trying to straddle the line between old-school synth pop (Eurythmics, New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Ultravox) while making the song sound like a contemporary EDM single. The vocals were what scared me the most: the song had been hard enough to sing as a power ballad, but sped up, I worried that I’d never be able to breathe. Hence, the lower key! The vocal itself was recorded at Jankland Recording Studio in Wall NJ with Steve Jankowski in the engineer’s booth at an ungodly 10 a.m. one morning when he could squeeze me in, and we spent under an hour getting the vocals done, after which he mixed and mastered the song in a matter of hours to have the single ready.
That version you can hear AT THIS LINK. Twenty percent of the artist’s proceeds from that version will go toward the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and another twenty percent to the GoFundMe account for the Pulse NightClub shooting victims (likewise the EP, Synthetic Bones Volume I).
Finally, here is a live piano recording (also in a lower key) specifically dedicated to Colleen as a belated birthday serenade.
Incidentally, if you would like to purchase a copy and see that the greatest portion of your purchase goes into the appropriate charity funds, here is a link to CDBaby to buy the single and/or the EP. Since close to 80% of the proceeds return to the artist, that generates sixteen cents per dollar towards each of these charities.
Finally, here are the lyrics:
The man is gone, stolen from the inside out. You watched the flame burn down ’til there was nothing left of the one you held so dear. Now there’s just this reckoning: You’re wracked with pain and doubt, the guilt you feel outliving one who’s left while you’re left here.
Long may you run. High may you fly, wind in your sails toward the horizon. Hold on to hope when nothing seems right. I will always be there with you ’til the dying of the light.
And all of these questions unasked and no one there to respond, just this sea of nameless faces where you’re cast adrift. Your prayers have lost direction, transmissions to the great beyond. Just to hear his voice again would be enough to make your universe shift.
And he’d say, “Long may you run. High may you fly, wind in your sails toward the horizon. Hold on to hope when nothing seems right. I will always be there with you ’til the dying of the light.”
No, we are not diminished by the infinite unknown, the passing from this time space into that which we have not yet grown, our knowledge merely bounded by the limit of our sight, weighted by the gravity of all that we held dear until it slips away, all energy and light. Love goes even where we can not see.
And it says, “Long may you run, high may you fly, wind in your sails toward the horizon. Hold onto hope when nothing seems right. I will always be there with you. Long may be you run, high may you fly, wind in your sails toward the horizon. Hold onto hope when nothing seems right. I will always be there with you to the dying of the light.”