Behind the Songs: Piece of Land to Call My Own

Live music performance video of “Piece of Land to Call My Own” by John Caravelli from the CD “Well Traveled Road” by Mo Bottom Project. Performed and introduced by John Caravelli & Steve Givens.

For more information on this song, along with the lyrics, see below.

(REPOSTING of earlier commentary by John Caravelli)

“Nothing endures but change. Change is the only constant.”
~ Heraclitus

I had written a song (with a little help from Steve) called “A New Morning Comes.” It was about a fictional young woman driving through a snowy landscape. She was unsettled, had left her life and was searching for a new one in an unfamiliar world. In that search, she was finding glimpses of hope. It was an impressionistic character study that posed a question for me. What was she running from? The exploration could lead to another song.

My melodramatic side leapt for the big story. Maybe she had murdered her lover, robbed a bank or escaped from prison, a story right out of the evening news. Then again, maybe she was escaping a situation that would be more relatable like a break-up or just a general dissatisfaction with her life.

It just so happened that I had a new song title bouncing around in my head at the same time, “A Piece of Land to Call My Own.” It was a line that fit our stories of the Missouri Bottoms while being recognizable as something I had heard somewhere, yet not a cliché. It became intertwined with my thoughts about the young lady.

Owning land is a universal desire. In the rural context, land can be beautiful as well as providing a livelihood and security. But, like any desire, if taken to the extreme, it becomes obsession and that’s a problem. So, this song became a character study of the person the young lady had left behind.

He is obviously a hard-working farmer who finds his being in the land and his security, as well.  But, his need for security is excessive. His life is about stability and routine. Rather than describing the start of the couple’s life together in terms of their love, he describes their rigid routine that makes it all “seem right.” As my friend Heraclitus said, there’s no avoiding change.  If you try to, things will end badly. His compulsion drives him to drink and drives her away.

A Piece of Land to Call My Own

Words and music by John Caravelli

In the springtime, the wildflowers rage.
The summer greens
and time turns a page.
Autumn when the tall grass browns,
Winter when the snow comes down.

But the land, it will never change
The land, it still remains
A piece of land to call my own
A piece of land where I belong.

When we first met it all seemed right,
Woke up each day with the morning light.
Had lunch at noon, dinner five hours next,
Always knew just what to expect.
She seemed to dull that first year come.
Sat on the porch her eyes gone numb.
When I look in the mirror I know what I’ll see.
When I looked at her she wouldn’t look at me.

But the land, it will never change
The land, it still remains
A piece of land to call my own
A piece of land where I belong.

Maybe I drank more than I should.
I wasn’t near perfect, hell, I wasn’t even good.
My glass was never empty, I was never full.
She ran away with some damn fool.

Not many dreams a man oughta dream.
Only believe in things he’s seen.
Work his best till the fading light.
Night after day and day after night.

I heard she’s walked out on some fool again.
Driving cross country in a Ford sedan.
Hoping for better than she’s had before.
I’m on this land ‘till I live no more.

© 2013 John Caravelli

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