The Lovespies

singing of brightness and beauty

The Time Traveler’s Wife May 21, 2009

Filed under: By Rob,History,Inspiration,Waiting For You — thelovespies @ 1:40 pm

The Time Traveler's Wife

Every so often you have a book stop you in your tracks. So it was with ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger. Julie and I (and yet-to-be-out Bella) were working in Baja, Hungary with Randy and Tami from the Sozo Festival. We were helping with a leadership program for some Eastern European teens, and the summer was wearing on. The novelty of living in Baja was wearing thin, and the daily chores of keeping everything clean and everyone fed had us looking for an escape.

‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ hit me like the first splash of cool pool water on a hot day. I think I read in within 40 hours, and its mix of mystery, sci-fi, adventure and love (and loss) really connected with me, plus it whisked me nicely away from our pedestrian tasks, unairconditioned apartment and unintelligible neighbors.

I don’t want to give much of anything away about the book, but for those of you who have read it, I’d like to give you the impetus of the song lyric. A few months after we got back to the states, I was sitting in the living room of our old condo in Hillsboro Village one Saturday morning, playing around with a chord progression from one of my favorite guitar studies (by Cuban composer Leo Brouwer), when the ideas from the book began to creep into my thoughts.

Henry’s ability to travel through time is really just a genetic freak. He has a ‘chrono-displacement’ gene that causes him to involuntarily pop in and out of time. That inspired the first lines of the song – ‘It’s just one of those things / You get used to it, like / seizures or color-blindness.’ His travels are random, but largely involve him visiting people and places that are important to him, primarily his wife at her childhood home, so he’s able to piece together a patchwork narrative of the events of their life together – ‘Just what the future brings / is still a mystery, but / some things begin to show more clear.’

There’s a scene toward the end of the book (if you can’t stand spoilers of any kind, skip to the next paragraph!) where Claire, the wife of time traveler Henry, waits at her home for him to show up. Claire’s an old woman now, and she knows that Henry will pay her one last visit before she’s gone, and the song idea came from this delicious moment of hope and expectation before she actually sees him. I thought about this bittersweet scene, how she’s known she will briefly see him this one last time (he told her many years before that he visits her when she’s much older), and has, for many years now, held on to this last goodbye. She has been waiting for him, waiting all these years.

The book switches narration each chapter between Henry (the time traveler) and Claire (his wife). We figured the song could mirror that “he said/she said” feel as a duet, and after a few changes with who would sing what, we came up with the final version of the song. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s recently read the book as to how well the song captures the mood and tone of the book (or not).

Thanks for tuning in.

Waiting For You

It’s just one of those things
you get used to it like
seizures or colorblindness

Just what the future brings
is still a mystery, though
some things begin to show more clear

I’ve been waiting for you
I will wait for you
I’ve been waiting for you
I will wait for you

You say that you picked me
but the more I think of it we
neither one really stood a chance

You think it’s destiny
well, I dunno, maybe that’s
just the way you feel when you’re in love

And you look at me with eyes that hold
the mysteries of life but you’re too kind
to tell me

I’ve been waiting for you
I will wait for you
I’ve been waiting for you
I will wait for you

and yes I learned to run to steal
to cheat to fight to lie to heal
to do what it takes to survive
and you have been my heart my home
my hiding place my tether to the rest
of the world
and I will wait for you

I’ve been waiting for you
I will wait for you
I’ve been waiting for you
I will wait for you

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Opposites Attract: The History Of The Lovespies May 20, 2009

Filed under: By Julie,History — thelovespies @ 1:32 pm

Militia

Rob and I come from very different musical backgrounds to say the very least.

In high school, he played guitar in a thrash-metal band named Militia. Their music sounded as lovely and inspiring as their name led you to expect. Which means that you were more likely to want to jump off a building than jump for joy after listening to them. They even had a punk song called “Beat Your Mother Like A Drum”.  Rob’s hair was long and scruffy and he wore leather jackets and Metallica t-shirts.  (Look over there to see what I mean.  That’s Militia and Rob is the one with the cigarette.)

Around that same time, I was listening to The Beatles and any kind of Broadway soundtrack I could get my hands on. I had memorized every word to The Sound Of Music, Annie and Les Miserables.  I also enjoyed my mother’s old records of Petula Clark, Skeeter Davis and The Box Tops, a band my uncle produced.  I took piano lessons every week and loved playing classical music.  I was in marching band for 6 years and concert band for 8 years.  

Julie Band

I wore bows in my hair and could not sing in front of someone without almost throwing up, which means that I avoided it at all costs.  I did love to sing in church, though, where the voices all blended together in delicious four-part harmony and I thought no one could hear me.

We joke that it’s a very good thing we didn’t meet each other for at least another decade or we would have never spoken to each other in a million years.  However, during that decade, we both changed a little.  

Rob studied classical guitar from one of Manuel Barrueco’s students and moved to Nashville to go to college, where he  joined a 70s art-rock band and eventually cut his long, long hair.  He also began experimenting with alternate guitar tunings and writing Celtic-inspired songs.

I went to college, sang in a couple of large choirs, an improvisational children’s theatre troupe and a musical.  Then I  moved to Nashville, learned to play guitar and worked on being brave enough to sing in front of others by myself.  

Our paths finally converged when we met through a mutual friend at The Crucible, a class designed for creative people.  The first time I saw Rob, he was playing one of his Celtic songs with a band that included a penny whistle played by Rob himself.  Being of Celtic descent, I fell in love….with the music.  (The rest would come four years later.)

We became friends and a couple of years later, we were asked to do the wedding music for our dear friends Nina and Moses.  It was our first official collaboration, and while the result ended up sounding ok, the experience was AWFUL!  I thought he was overbearing and arrogant, and he thought I was hysterical and insane.  Granted, I was extremely nervous and very inexperienced, but I was not insane.  I promise.  (Shut up, Eric.)

Fast forward a couple of years:  we magically fell in love one summer and got married on the first day of fall.  The same year!  Musically, he had been writing even more Celtic songs and some gorgeous instrumental guitar pieces.  I had somehow written a handful of pop songs, quite by accident, I think, since I had no intention of singing them for anyone.  

Wedding PicAfter we got married, Rob began writing acoustic rock songs and playing shows with those.  He even won a couple of Acoustic Hero performance contests in Nashville and Atlanta, advancing to the national finals in Chicago.  And thanks to Rob’s encouragement, I was finally brave enough to sing in front of others so thought I would put a pop band together.  However, with the exception of a couple of recordings and one or two tiny shows, my band remained just a fantastic idea in my head.

For a couple of years there, we were also playing together every Saturday at a homeless outreach in an old warehouse near the projects.  Our church sponsored the outreach, and our job was to play some background music that would create a peaceful atmosphere while other volunteers served lunch to whomever came.  We were joined most of the time by our friends Michael, a mandolin player, and Jon, a string bass player.  Occasionally, Javier would bring his djembe and play along if he was in town, and others would join in from time to time.  We would sing familiar hymns sometimes, but most of the time we would make up our own hymns and songs spontaneously and just play whatever we wanted for two hours.

We really enjoyed playing together and after some other similar experiences, we realized we wanted to form a band together.  It would certainly be easier than having two separate bands.  And honestly, I would have never been able to do music if left to my own devices, so there would have really only been one band in the end:  Rob’s.

So there you have it:  the musical history of The Lovespies.  

Who would have thought that a “Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow”-singing musical theatre enthusiast combined with an ex-thrash-metal/70s art- rock/classical guitarist would sound like this?  

Maybe our band should be named Newton’s Third Law.