Blog

The Darker Side

“The Darker Side” is obviously the title track and once I wrote this one, I knew it was going to be the title for the album. The message of the song is pretty simple in that it tries to explain my creative side and the “music” side of me compared to who I am on a day to day basis.

There have been numerous occasions in the past where someone who knows me personally will listen to my music and make a range of different comments on how it is sad or melancholy etc. I’m not always sure how to respond other than it’s just the “darker side” of me and the thoughts that naturally come out of my head and into music form. I don’t know why I gravitate toward certain topics or feelings, but it is what it is. For a long time music has been a form of therapy for me.

Over the years when those “this is sad stuff” comments were made I would be embarrassed by them and sort of wish I hadn’t put myself out there the way that I did with the lyrics. However, after awhile I started to realize that I shouldn’t be ashamed of it and that I should let the art just be what it is. When songwriting happens and I’m in the moment, it’s almost like another state of consciousness and whatever I have in my head at that time is what you hear in these songs, for better or for worse.

I think if you listen to all sorts of music you will find a lot of venting of the soul because that’s what artists do. That’s what art is. Once I realized all of this I formed all of these thoughts into this short and simple song. It has no chorus and in my opinion is just a statement about my writing that I’ve wanted to make for a while now. It rounds out this album nicely and I’m looking forward to new and exciting adventures with my music and songwriting in the years to come. A lot of my perspectives have changed as I’ve aged and I continue to learn life lessons all the time. Thank you, as always, for your support and I hope you enjoyed this album!

Forever You’re Mine

“Forever You’re Mine” is another song that was inspired by the passing of my brother-in-law. If you want to read more about the background on that story, check out out the blog on the first song on the album called “The Long Road.”

After my brother-in-law passed away I remember my sister-in-law saying that one of the things that she missed the most about him being gone was just the downtime they spent together chatting in the evenings. It was the times when the kids had gone to bed and they would just watch a little TV and enjoy each other’s company.

I knew that I wanted to write something about this topic and the guitar riff on this one being sort of slow and soft seemed to fit the theme. In the end the song ended up placing my sister-in-law in that same situation of sitting around on an evening except that now she would be alone in doing so. I pictured her looking to the sky and waiting around for a sign that he was there, even if it meant waiting all night.

I’d say this one was probably the toughest subject that I’ve ever written about. It brought some tears to my eyes for sure and will probably do the same for anyone who’s ever lost someone that is close to them. It’s definitely a favorite of mine from this album.

Intended Destiny

“Intended Destiny” is a song about the ups and downs of being a musician and songwriter and my creative inspiration that comes and goes. To be honest, my creative juices and inspiration for music aren’t always as strong as you might assume. I’ve had times where I write a lot of songs and I’m really excited about the music and work on it constantly, and I’ve had other times where I will go for months and don’t feel like playing or writing at all. Sometimes, I even question whether I want to quit it altogether.

The times where I don’t feel inspired or motivated to play music are the ones that puzzle me the most. I don’t know if I just get burnt out or what it really is, but I have yet to come up with a good reason for the rollercoaster ride.

I wrote this song at a time when I could feel my motivation and enjoyment of music slipping away. For some reason I knew that the lull was beginning to set it and I was grasping for every last ounce of inspiration I had to finish writing music for this album. I was questioning if I really wanted to continue writing songs and if i wanted to start the long journey of recording all of them for an album. It seemed like too daunting of a task and I was losing interest in doing all of that. However deep down I still felt like I was put on the earth to share my music and so I pushed on.

Maybe it’s just one of the reasons I’m here but I felt an obligation to finish all of these songs for everyone to hear. I wanted to become my intended destiny, which I still believe involves music in some way. Hearing all of these songs now confirms that I made the right choice in continuing, and my hard work turned out to be something I can share with all who will listen. It’s the reason I continue to do what I do and I thank you for listening.

Driving In The Dark

“Driving In The Dark” is probably the darkest sounding song on this album. There’s something about the sound of minor chords on a piano that I just love so much, and this song features just that sound. To most, this is probably going to sound like a relationship song as the lyrics definitely fit that mold, however I didn’t write it with that in mind.

I had a big opportunity a few years ago when I was contacted to possibly play a show with a major artist. That artist was Edwin McCain and I was in contact with a large festival in North Carolina that wanted me to open their show on main night of music. Edwin was going to be the featured act. After talking with the organizers over a period of a few weeks, I suddenly lost contact with them. Phone calls and emails went unanswered and I had no clue what was going on.

Making a long story short, when I finally got in touch with them again, the main organizer had suddenly left the group and the event was no longer going to take place. It was a serious letdown to say the least. To this day I’m still unsure of what really took place for the whole thing to fall apart, but I guess I’ll never know.

When thinking about all that had happened and the opportunity for my music career that was lost, I started to think about how sometimes it can feel like we’re just wandering around this world with no real clue of what we’re doing. One day things seem absolutely perfect and the next day a disaster of sorts can strike. We just never know, and that lead me to shape the song around the idea of driving around in this unknown world where anything can happen.

In one of my previous songs on this album, “Luck”, I talked about how I feel like I don’t have much of those good vibes coming my way. This song ties into that theme with the chorus being about a sort of “curse” that I’m trying to escape. The album is cyclical in that many of the songs tie together as you move through the album and it honestly wasn’t something I was conscious of while writing these songs. I’ve sort of stumbled upon this connection as I’ve been writing these “behind the songs” blogs and it’s been neat to discover the subconscious thoughts that must have tied these songs together.

Oh and if you’re wondering about the rain and thunder in this track; I recorded it live by placing a microphone next to my open window. I was set to record vocals for the track and I noticed it was beginning to lightning outside. Bummed that I was thinking I would have to stop recording, I decided to crack open the window and see if I could pick up some sounds as it began to rain. It was an absolute perfect fit for the track and was a total coincidence that I just happened to be about to record vocals as this storm moved in. And just when I thought I had no luck at all, I guess you could call that a bit of it right there.

Maybe

“Maybe” is a song that’s already 4-5 years old now. I made a youtube video in early 2009 of me playing the song live shortly after I had written it, so that gives you an idea of the age of it. The song is one of the only songs I ever remember writing in which I didn’t have a guitar in my hands or a piano in front of me while writing the lyrics. My songwriting has always worked best when I start with the music and then move on to lyrics when something seems to “spark” my creative brain through whatever I’m hearing on guitar or piano.

This song still began that way in that I remember coming up with the opening guitar riff, but then in the middle of working on the song, I had to go to work. Whenever I write a song I tend to sing whatever lines I’ve come up with over and over in my head until something else comes to mind for a new line and I move on from there. While I was on a break I was doing this same thing and the lines were seemingly writing themselves, which is a great feeling when songwriting.

Soon I had the lyrics for the song and I remember going home to figure out which chords would go with what I was hearing in my head for the melody of the chorus. This again was something new because usually the chords dictate the melody and not vise versa. I figured out the chord progression and the song was born.

Lyrically the song focuses on the bigger picture in life and the struggle of trying to find a niche in this world. I guess I would call it “old school Ryan Knorr stuff” when it comes to the lyrics on this one. It’s about trying to figure it all out in order to make the right changes in life to get myself going in the right direction. It’s about looking to a day when I’ll finally be content with where I’m at and I don’t have to look back at past mistakes to figure out where I’ve gone wrong. And most of all it’s about the day when I can get over my regrets and no longer dwell on the “what ifs” of life.

In the years since writing this song I’ve created some of the “change” that I talk about in the song but some things I have yet to change and am still working on. This song will forever remind me to keep striving for something new and something better and to let the past be the past. I hope it can do the same for you.

Luck

“Luck” is a song that should be pretty easy to understand. I feel like throughout my life I haven’t had the greatest of luck. Maybe everyone feels that way or maybe it’s just something I use as an excuse, but I have too many instances to point to that prove that I don’t have much luck at all. My wife seems to have the same issue so we’re equally in trouble some days.

I don’t remember a specific event that happened that triggered this theme for a song but somehow when I came up with that opening guitar progression, the words “I don’t know why but my luck, it’s run out on me” just sort of came out of my mouth and I went with it.

This song is another one where I used personification. You can read a little bit more about that in my blog on the song “Waiting” which was featured a few songs earlier on this album. Basically I made “luck” into a human character who has deceived me time and time again, yet I want it come back. It’s also one where the guitar chords and progression is different than what I would usually write, so it turned out to be a unique song overall.

Someday Somebody

“Somebody Somebody” is a song about a female character that I created that is longing to be saved or rescued from the situation she is in. Although the song is talking about this woman’s struggle, it is actually intended to leave the listener with a positive message that there is always hope and no matter the situation, help can somewhere be found. The woman is crying out, “Someday somebody’s coming to get me out. Someday somebody’s coming to save me. Someday’s not that far away, it’s now. Somebody’s coming for me.”

Sometimes I like to use a character in a song to kind of change things up from always writing from the first person perspective and I put this song toward the middle of the album so that it takes the listener away from the many first person perspective songs and into someone else’s journey for a couple of minutes. However, the song can be applied universally to anyone’s struggles and that’s what I try to do with my music overall so that the listener can make a song meaning adapt to whatever they have going on in their lives.

Waiting

“Waiting” is a song about patience, or in this case, the lack thereof. This song is similar to “Like The Rain” in that it touches on the same issue of comparing myself to others and wishing I could achieve more in a faster timeframe. The more I would obsess about not moving forward quickly enough, the more that life would seem to bring me down and get me frustrated. It’s something I still struggle with from time to time, but I feel like I’ve learned my lessons in this area and am improving.

This song also uses personification, which is when you assign human like qualities to something that isn’t human or sometimes to something that isn’t even living. I used this on a couple of songs on this album to make things a little more interesting instead of talking about a subject or subject matter in a more straightforward fashion. In this one I used the mess of thoughts in my head and the misery of being impatient and gave them human qualities to make the listener think and reflect a bit more on what the song is really trying to say. Hopefully it does just that.

The World

“The World” is a song that was inspired by a trip that my wife and I took to a First Nation community in a remote area of Canada. First Nations are the various Aboriginal peoples in Canada and are some of the indigenous groups that first settled the country long before the Europeans arrived. To compare, in the United States the Native Americans were the first settlers of this land and similarly the groups and tribes of the various First Nations in Canada were the first settlers of their country.

Back in 2010 I got an email from a community organizer in St. Theresa Point, Manitoba, Canada. The email was asking if I would like to perform at their annual festival that they have in town and some of the details surrounding it, etc. Not knowing anything about the festival or the area, I started to do some research. After looking at the map and finding out that this area was only accessible by plane, I knew that if I was going to make this trip, it would definitely be an eye opening experience and one that I would never forget.

To make a very long story short (and I really need to write another blog documenting the whole experience) my wife and I had a wonderful time in this remote region and were able to experience a different culture and way of life. The people of this small town were some of the friendliest we had ever met in our lives, yet they lived with much less than what we are used to here in the United States. Despite having to live with very little, they seemed to be even more grateful for the things they did have and for their families and community.

After we got back from this trip I knew at some point I would write a song about the experience. One day I was thinking a lot about the way we live in the US and how many times we make our small problems seem like they are the “end of the world.” The cliche stuck in my mind and is the basis of this song. It’s a song about my reflection of our American culture and how it could definitely stand to change its ways when it comes to the obsession of material things and money in this country.

My experience on this trip was something that I will never forget. It’s a trip that I think would do every American some good in terms of putting things back into perspective. My hope for the song is that it can maybe make the listener stop and think about what is really important and to try to keep these things in perspective, even as “the world” seems to forget on a daily basis.

Like The Rain

“Like The Rain” is a song about constantly comparing myself to other artists and musicians and I guess a little bit about jealousy in general. After “The Path of Greatest Resistance” came out I had these grand illusions in my head that my music career was going to take off and that everything was just going to fall into place quickly and easily. When those things didn’t work out exactly as I had planned, I began to compare myself to other musicians and artists to try to figure out what I was doing “wrong.”

All of this constant comparison only lead me down the wrong path but I was caught up in it at the time. Thoughts like, “how come they got this gig and I didn’t?” or “how did they get so many facebook fans or youtube subscribers?” were things I was focusing on instead of just focusing on my own music. It didn’t make sense to me how it appeared like others were getting ahead of me so quickly and I was looking for that “ah-hah” moment, but of course it never came. Every artist and musician’s career is different and while looking at what other people have done can be a good guide, dwelling on the fact that you’re not them, is not.

I heard a quote during this time that said, “someone else’s success is not your failure.” Once I realized this I began to change my mind about constantly comparing myself to others and I tried to put the focus back on my own music and working on this new album. Every once in awhile I can feel these thoughts creeping back in but now that I’m better equipped to recognize them, I’m better able to put things back into perspective and keeping moving forward.