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Published January 21st, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

Now that you’ve met the new songs that give “Faces in the Fog” its name, perhaps you might like to know when you can get your hands on a copy of not only it, but “[untitled]” as well. I’m very excited to finally tell you. See, we’ve been working on “Faces in the Fog” since September of last year, and work on “[untitled]” technically began during that crazy Lyrics Dump thing we did, so this announcement has been a long time coming. Feel free to do a little drum roll at your computer if you like…

“Faces in the Fog” will release on Friday, April 11th!

“[untitled]” will release either in June or July. I had intended to release them both at the same time, but it looks as though we need to push “[untitled]” back by a couple of months. But no matter! I would rather have it done well and released late than have it be on time, but not made the way it wants to be made. “Cold September Ground” taught me that lesson.

So for “Faces in the Fog”, digital copies of the album should be ready immediately via Bandcamp, while physical copies will ship on or around April 22nd. The reason for the delay is that Wax Chaotic’s tour starts on April 13th, and will be taking us to Chicago, Winnipeg, Canada, and then hopefully to Minneapolis before we return home and can actually start stuffing and shipping packages.

But that release date is not very far away at all. Thinking about it is actually making me a little dizzy.

But the title of this entry mentioned something about CD pre-orders. So get this: We’re already accepting them. Yes, you can reserve your copy of either or both albums almost three+ months before they’re due out. How? By making a pledge to my IndieGoGo campaign that will fund the printing and promotion of the albums. There are a few different reward levels available that effectively allow you to pre-order either or both CDs, depending on your preference, and if you feel like splurging a little, you can get some nifty, limited edition extras, to boot.

Important Things to Note:

1.) I will not be able to afford to create physical copies of either CD without the success of this fundraiser. Period. My primary source of income is currently freelance web and graphic design, and most of what I make is quickly gobbled up by making payments on my student loans.

2.) I need to be able to effectively promote these albums in order to sell them. That means touring and performing for people, ideally in a wide variety of places, so I can keep making new fans who like the music on the CDs, but don’t already have copies. To that end, my IndieGoGo campaign will have stretch goals. The initial goal is just the bare minimum I need to get the albums printed. To promote them, I have to reach my stretch goals. There will be nifty extras that become available whenever a stretch goal amount is met.

3.) I absolutely need your help. I need you to make a pledge to the campaign if you can (and if you were intending to pre-order one or both CDs anyway, this way we both win). Whether or not your financial situation allows you to become a backer, I need you to share this project with your friends and family. Don’t just hit “Share” on Facebook and spread the link around without any context—include a personal message to let your readers know why you think I’m worth their time and attention. It is crucial that you tell people this. How often do you click on random, non-contextualized links on social media sites?

I really cannot accomplish my goals without your help. So if you enjoy my music and want to get your hands on more of it, please do what you can to get my IndieGoGo campaign up to its goals.

In the meantime, the rest of this week will see the publishing of a new series of posts, called “From Composition to Completion”, in which I’ll be detailing the process by which my music gets made. If you’ve ever been curious about my songwriting process, or how it is a finished recording is created, you won’t want to miss this series.



Published January 13th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

I wrote the original version of this song in high school. (How many songs do I have to my name now for which that is the case?) This song is about the loss of dreams, the loss of one’s sense of self, and the reclaiming of both of those things.

How many people do you know who talk about things they want to do, but aren’t doing, or who talk about things they wanted to do, but act as if they no longer have the chance to? This is a song for them. Life is not a thing that’s happening to you, it is a story that you have the power to write yourself. So don’t give up on your dreams. You need those to survive, to be human.

It is my hope that this song will help someone somewhere remember that, and reclaim dreams that they’ve lost.

Faerie Dreams
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

There was magic, once, in everything,
       from the sunset to the trees.
She watched it fall as snowflakes,
       heard it whisper on the breeze.
She knew that she belonged outside,
       to dream in rain or shine,
To make warfare over wild berries,
       and peace among the pines.

There was a dragon in the car port,
       and gremlins in the car,
A werewolf in the forest,
       and gnomes beneath the yard.
She dreamed them real, and many more,
       every night and day,
But of all the friends she played with,
       her favorite were the fey.

              And she built castles of moss and of stone,
              Decked with acorn caps and borrowed bones.
              And she peered through reality’s seams
              As she dreamed her faerie dreams.

She would lay out tiny clothes for them
       on their beds of cottonseed,
Elegant gowns of flower petals,
       walking sticks of reed.
Their feast ware was made of tiny shells
       she found around the creek,
Their statues, empty cicada hulls
       from summer’s burning peak.

But summer shortly faded,
       as all things pass with time.
She got caught up in the reason,
       but forgot about the rhyme.
Adulthood slowly stripped away
       the wonder from her eyes,
And she forgot that in dreaming,
       her inner peace resides.

              Now she builds credit and lives on her own,
              And works two jobs just to pay her student loans.
              But she must peer through maturity’s seams
              To reclaim her fairy dreams.

There was never time for daydreams
       for far too many years,
For she had obligations to fulfill,
       and far too many fears.
She had to scramble just to keep up,
       but it was never quite enough.
She tried to keep on pushing,
       she struggled to be tough.

Then one day her mother sent her
       a piece of artwork she had drawn.
There were fairies dancing ‘round
       in a ring upon the lawn.
It had been in her childhood
       that she had drawn the scene,
But it came from the past and rescued her
       like a long-forgotten key.

              Now she draws castles of moss and of stone
              That give her freedom and hope for tomorrow.
              And she remakes her reality’s seams
              With the help of her fairy dreams.

Next week there will be a very important post published! If you want to pre-order “Faces in the Fog” and/or “[untitled]“, you won’t want to miss it!



Published January 6th, 2014 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

To understand this song, you have to have seen the movie “Ink”. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ll wait.



Have you seen it now?

Good.

I had the good fortune to see this movie when I was TAing at school one summer for one of those highschool-students-taking-a-college-course things. The instructor (who happens to be one of my favorite people for a variety of reasons) would assign the students their work and then put on a movie, because the days were pretty long and the background noise was nice. This movie utterly blew. My. Mind. I love every part of it, from the cinematography to the music to the VFX to the adorable woodenness of some of the acting. This movie is a piece of delicious, delicious art, and I knew I would have to write a song about it at some point.

This summer, I decided to do just that. This is a song for Liev, the Storyteller. I expect at some point there will be a song for Jacob, because there has to be a song for Jacob.


A Long Walk
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell
Based on the movie “Ink”

              It’s a long walk down that hallway,
              Even longer to find the key.
              It’s a long fall into numbness—
              But who knows what the end of the story may be?

I can tell from your scars your entry was painful—
A suicide, I’m guessing?
You know me—but not her?
Don’t remember what you were—
And you run from what you’re repressing.

       You think I’ve an army to cover my back,
       But I swear I’m completely alone.
       No one’s coming for me—there is no trap,
       For I came to find you on my own.

              It’s a long walk down that hallway,
              Even longer to find the key.
              It’s a long fall into numbness—
              But who knows what the end of the story may be?

This girl is your ticket to beauty and bliss—
Yet I see what you still deny.
You insist and pretend
She’s just a means to an end—
But why do I see guilt in your eyes?

       She means nothing to you, you say now and said then,
       She’s just a tool in this selfish endeavor…
       You can cover your face with your hood once again—
       But you can’t fight the truth forever.

              It’s a long walk down that hallway,
              Even longer to find the key.
              It’s a long fall into numbness—
              But who knows what the end of the story may be?

We will meet the Assembly in their hall of shadow,
Where innocence goes to drown.
You’re damned either way—
At least’s that’s what you say—
But this isn’t how it has to go down.

       Take one last look as time flows from my veins,
       Tell me you don’t feel something’s wrong.
       You thought I was here for the lioness in chains…
       But I was here for you both all along.

              It’s a long walk down that hallway,
              Even longer to find the key.
              It’s a long fall into numbness—
              But who knows what the end of the story may be?

                      This is what you will choose to be,
                      But there’s still time to write an alternate ending.
                      Look at that girl—tell me who you see—
                      And know there is no more time for pretending.

              It’s a long walk into memory,
              Made harder when shame won’t allow.
              It’s a long climb up to redemption,
              But you see now—yes…you…see…now…



Published December 30th, 2013 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

I was given this book in high school, whereupon which I added it to my shelves and promptly forgot about it.

My first semester in college, I remembered that it existed, and read it. While I was sorry I waited so long to discover a superlative piece of fiction, I was pleased to discover that there was a sequel intended, and that it would be releasing a week after I finished the book. So it worked out.

This was one of those songs that I hadn’t intended to write (at least by my recollection), but that came out all the same. I love those. I love being so moved by a thought or idea, or in this case, another author’s work of fiction, that a song weaves itself together and pops out. And I really do recommend this series. I’ve been re-reading all the books as the newest one comes out, which isn’t a thing I normally do with books. Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to reread number four since it came out a couple of years ago…

And OH LOOK, number five is due out in May. Huzzah!


Gray One
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell
Based on The Green Rider by Kristen Britain

Ancient magic stirs that should never be released—
There’s a quiet, subtle sabotage to bring about the fall.
He bound us to his bidding with one and two apiece,
Now we all haunt the footsteps of the one who broke the Wall.

       The Gray One calls me…but I won’t answer,
       For I’m no pawn and I know my rightful track.
       The Gray One calls me—I hear him louder,
       Held in thrall by these arrows in my back.

He thinks me bound in servitude, but underestimates
The will of one determined to see a quest succeed.
He thinks he can control me, but ever more he waits,
For I must guide the footsteps of the one who’ll do the deed.

       The Gray One calls me…but I won’t answer,
       For I’m no pawn and I know my rightful track.
       The Gray One calls me—I hear him louder,
       Held in thrall by these arrows in my back.

It shouldn’t be her burden—but life is seldom fair,
Now she’s as much a part of this as I had ever been.
Torments lie ahead of her worse than I had had to bear,
For danger stalks the footsteps of the ones who wear the green.

       The Gray One calls me…but I won’t answer,
       For I’m no pawn and I know my rightful track.
       The Gray One calls me—I hear him louder,
       Held in thrall by these arrows in my back.

Somewhere down the road when the evil is revealed,
This girl will do my duty in my place.
And in her desperate hour will her magic be unsealed,
And the dead will speed the footsteps of the rider who must race.

       The Gray One calls me…but I won’t answer,
       For I’m no pawn and I know my rightful track.
       The Gray One calls me—I hear him louder,
       Held in thrall by these arrows in my back.

       Break the arrows…
       Break the arrows…



Published December 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

“Departure” fits in well with the original “Cold September Ground” songs: It’s creepy as all get-out, and it has plenty of fantastic elements to it. It’s also about some popular media, like some of the other songs on this disc. But whereas “9 Lives”, the only other gaming song on “Faces in the Fog”, is more about gaming in general, “Departure” is about one specific game.

In 2008, Microsoft Game Studios released “Alan Wake“, a trippy psychological horror game with lots of good boogeyman-jumping-out-of-the-dark scares. The game follows the titular Alan Wake as he tries to find his wife and solve the mystery not only of her disappearance, but of the paranormal things occurring in the small town where they went for vacation. Over the course of the game, Alan finds pages for a novel he can’t remember writing. The contents of this novel are coming true in chilling ways. Gradually Alan figures out what’s going on in the town and how to save his wife. And somehow in the midst of all that, he comes to call his novel “Departure”.

There were some elements of the game I really enjoyed. The lore was interesting, the setting was fun, some of the mechanics were nifty, and much of the music was excellent. Beyond that…well, Yahtzee over at The Escapist made some pretty good points. It was especially brain-breaking how the character Alan Wake was supposedly a really talented author, but seemed to completely fail to understand basic writing devices such as proper punctuation and grammar, and how he was really fond of using passive voice and other really irritating things.

But, as I said, I really enjoyed the lore. If you’re at all familiar with my songwriting, you’ll know that lore—backstory, worldbuilding, mythology, folklore—gets my creative juices flowing better than just about anything else.

So I was watching my husband play “Alan Wake” one evening, and I got the chorus for this song stuck in my head. Massaging the verses out of my brain took a little while, partially because that’s just how my brain works, and partially because I had to wait for Sean to finish the game before I could finish the song. But don’t worry—there are no spoilers. If you’re still playing through the game like some of my friends are, I tried to write this song such that it would only make one hundred percent sense to someone who has played the game all the way through before…while still including enough of the story that it would be entertaining to someone who has never even heard of the game, much less played it. It’s a balancing act, and a fine like to walk. Here’s hoping I succeeded.


Departure
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

Truer words were never written than the ones on Cauldron Lake.
I know now that coming here was a terrible mistake.
We stepped into a game that we had no intent to play,
Now it’s up to you, my love, to try to find the way.        The way out – I want out.
       It began with a dream, but now nightmare holds us fast—
       She’ll trap us in the story until the very last.
       Never stop running, don’t believe what’s before your eyes
       When evil masquerades behind the most unsuspected guise…       I’m quite taken with you…

              Wake up, wake up
              There’s still time left to find me.
              Wake up, wake up,
              Break the darkness that binds me.
              There’s terror in the night that only you can burn away,
              And a path for us to both get back into the light of day,
              But only if you wake
              Wake up.

It swirls in vague uncertainty, the world beyond the deep,
Like shadows in the twilight, like a song you hear in sleep.
Yet somewhere in the rhythm of the play ‘twixt dark and light,
I sense you’re out there searching, and you won’t give up the fight.        Outside, there’s only darkness.
       You’re in the company of madmen, the ingenious, and deranged,
       Chasing down the talent from which you feel estranged,
       Yet everything that’s happened has come from words that are your own,
       And your self-appointed editor won’t leave well enough alone.        Keep going…

              Wake up, wake up
              There’s still time left to find me.
              Wake up, wake up,
              Break the darkness that binds me.
              There’s terror in the night that only you can burn away,
              And a path for us to both get back into the light of day,
              But only if you wake
              Wake up.

The threads that bind we two into the story as it flows
Are dark with ink and blood, both, and the further that it goes,
You’ll learn the truth and find the scars even Zane could not erase,
And somehow, one way or another, it’ll all click into place.        It seems like ages I’ve waited.
       It’s a puzzle you must solve to win and make the ending yours,
       Wherein lies the key to lock or unlock certain doors.
       Then when everything is said and done and day surpasses night,
       Find the balance in the darkness so that I can find the light.        It’s not a lake… It’s an ocean.

              Wake up, wake up
              Down the rabbit hole you’ll find me
              Wake up, wake up
              Don’t walk the road so blindly
              Beset upon by nightmare, you’re the man of my dreams,
              And I need you to fight for me, despite how hard it seems,
              So please, Wake…
              Wake up.



Published December 16th, 2013 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

“A Flame That Burns in Darkness”, like many of the “Cold September Ground” songs, is something I originally wrote in high school. Unlike those songs, however, this version has not only been completely rewritten, but completely reimagined. The ideas behind “Wet Velvet” and “Jack the Ripper” are still pretty much the same as they used to be. But this song, like “Cold September Ground”, has turned into something altogether different.

“A Flame That Burns in Darkness” was originally my attempt at a poignant, sad spacer song. …you can probably infer how well I pulled it off by the fact that I ripped the title from that concept and stuck it onto something that is not in any way related to space.

Also, fun fact: Back in high school, I made my first attempt at recording my own album. It didn’t work out, but that album was titled “A Flame That Burns in Darkness”, and the original version of this song was to be the title track. The tune for the original was another Deanna Roberts-Blair creation (“Kiss Me, Jak Frost”, “Jack the Ripper”), and part of the cover art is now the Firesong Productions logo. (That was drawn by my good friend Rebecca Appelbaum, by the way. She’s amazing.)

Instead of space, this new song is instead based on Grecian mythology. When I wrote this version, I had no intention for it to bear this name. I was just writing on a bit of an idea I’d had—an idea that came out a bit more freeform than how I usually write, and I was thus not sure it would ever be able to become a song. After playing with things a bit, I was able to write this, and I’m very happy with how it turned out.

And yes, it’s pretty morbid, but it does have a good message: Do all with your life that you could wish, and be kind to one another.


A Flame That Burns in Darkness
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

I am the flame in the lantern
On the boat that ferries you across
The woeful river.
I light the way into the true
Great Unknown.
I glow in the darkness as you all
Huddle on the deck together
And the currents draw you
Farther from home.

I illuminate the gateway
That prevents your passage backward
Through the veil.
I am the note you leave your loved ones
Who follow after,
The only glimmer of hope you can give
That you know will never fail,
That where they find themselves next
Will be filled with light and laughter.

       But don’t seek my compassion,
       It doesn’t work that way.
       I’m only what you make of me.
       That’s just the part I play.

I am witness to your uncertainty,
Your reluctant shuffling off,
Your lacking of choice.
Bound into a plan you can’t control
And have no say in,
Your shock isn’t that it’s over,
But that you suddenly have no voice.
You’re so used to having your say,
But now there’s no way you can weigh in.

No matter your status in life,
All of you are equal on
The River.
Know that I won’t remember you once
You disembark.
Does the thought that you are forgettable
Make your skin crawl, make you shiver?
Well only those with reason to be
Are fearful of the dark.

       So don’t seek my compassion,
       It doesn’t work that way.
       I’m only what you make of me.
       That’s just the part I play.

What was the kind of life you led?
In your agency, were you cruel,
Kind, or devout?
When you had control, what did
You use it for?
You seem to me to be the kind
That used your power and clout
To take your fair share
And much more.

Now on the doorstep of the next world,
You find that for the first time
You must learn
What it’s like to tell something precious
Goodbye.
And you seek to warm hands that aren’t cold
Over fire that doesn’t burn,
To assuage your terror now that
You find all your power was a lie.

       Don’t seek my compassion,
       It doesn’t work that way.
       I’m only what you make of me.
       That’s just the part I play.

       That’s just the part I play.



Published December 9th, 2013 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

A couple of years ago, I went to a friend’s house and she showed Sean and me the movie “Coraline“. Produced by Laika, this stop-motion animated film had it all: A beautiful original score, talented voice acting, masterful animation, beautiful shot and art direction, and oh yeah, it was based on a story written by Neil Gaiman. The movie has some differences from the story (because of course), but it is one of my most favorite things ever. And I can really, really relate to Coraline’s relationship with her parents.

In the movie, they never examine the Ghost Children’s backgrounds, and in the book, the Ghost Children are completely different. So I sort of had to take some liberties to write this song, but I did base the verses off the apparent time periods of the movie Ghost Children. As she’s babbling to the character Wybie, Coraline describes the Ghost Children as “…this pioneer girl, then Huck Finn Jr., then it was this Little Rascals chick…” So given that information, I guessed.

The first girl would have come west on the Oregon Trail, most likely, which is well-known for being fraught with peril. (In case you missed it, that reference was a joke, but seriously, the Oregon Trail was no picnic.)

The boy I figured might have been born to a father who was a lumberjack, and possibly, due to difficult times or just a naturally mean demeanor, abusive. I can see a little boy yearning for escapism like that provided by the Other Mother because of such a scenario. And this might be more of a modern-day train of thought, but how many rough, tough, burly men do you know that are comfortable with their sons playing with dolls?

And the third ghost was likely growing up during the Great Depression. That’s definitely cause for wanting some escapism right there. She might have been too young to fully understand what was going on (“And an odd, malignant misery”), but children are very perceptive.

This song came for me while I was at work one day. It was one of those that came tumbling out of my head. It was just in time for Halloween in 2012. There’s a recording of it up on Wax Chaotic’s ReverbNation profile from a concert we performed in December of 2012. The keyboard voice was chosen because it sounded sort of like a music box, and that seemed wholly appropriate.

I love this song. And yes, apparently I think that breathing is for wimps.


Hush and Shush
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

She sells you pretty promises
With wonders, treats, and games galore,
Knowing no matter how she gives,
That you’ll always want more.
A treat my father thought he found
Turned out to be a spy,
And they only know I disappeared—
But they’ll never know why.

I admit that I was foolish,
But the journey West was hard—
My mother and two brothers
Didn’t make it quite this far.
I yearned to find a perfect world,
But didn’t factor in the cost,
Then I took the chance to reunite
With loved ones I had lost.

       Hush and shush
       Or the Beldam will hear you—
       You’re a fly in her web,
       Don’t let her come near you
       With her needle and thread,
       Don’t believe what she’s said,
       And don’t let her sew the buttons
       Like we did.

Between the pines and firs
And the redwoods grown for centuries,
I played at war with other boys,
And pushed against my boundaries.
It wasn’t quite refusal
To follow given rules,
It was more of an escape route
From a father cold and cruel.

Then I found myself revealing
An escape that was quite different,
And to my great joy and delight,
She said it could be permanent.
I don’t recall my name,
But here, behind the mirrored glass,
I remember my true mommy
And wonder how she is.

       Hush and shush
       Or the Beldam will hear you—
       You’re a fly in her web,
       Don’t let her come near you
       With her needle and thread,
       Don’t believe what she’s said,
       And don’t let her sew the buttons
       Like we did.

I grew up in misty mountains
Where the rain is filled with mystery,
With my parents and my sister—
And an odd, malignant misery.
I had imagination,
And not a whole lot more,
Until I found the world of wonder
Through that tiny, wooden door.

I was trapped just like the others,
And like them, I yearn to run,
But we cannot leave this prison world
Until our favor’s done.
Oh, find us, girl, and free us fast,
And we’ll help get you home,
And be smart, for even if you win,
She’ll never let you go.

       Hush and shush
       Or the Beldam will hear you—
       You’re a fly in her web,
       Don’t let her come near you
       With her needle and thread,
       Don’t believe what she’s said,
       And don’t let her sew the buttons
       Like we did.

       Hush and shush, Mistress,
       Hush and shush, Mistress,
       Hush and shush…shhh…



Published October 31st, 2013 at 6:15 pm EST/EDT
firesongblog

The idea of fractured fairy tales has been on my mind a lot recently for a number of reasons. First, it’s Halloween. Second, the Iron Filker challenge at this year’s OVFF was “Fractured Fairy Tales”. And third, well, I’m just like that.

People have been doing a lot of interesting and wonderful things with a lot of the classic “princess” stories–some friends of mine placed second in the main songwriting contest at OVFF with a song called, “Snow White, Red Road”, that is just all sorts of nifty and delicious and I want a recording of it yesterday.

There are also a lot of different re-tellings of “Little Red Riding Hood” out there (that again, are made of deliciousness), so I was thinking earlier today about what story I might want to retell. And how. I wanted to play with one that I haven’t seen a lot of people mess with yet. This is what came out, though honestly the original itself is pretty damn disturbing anyway (but then that’s par for the course for fairy tales).

I don’t normally share things right after I’ve written them (and this is about as fresh as they get, folks) but it’s Halloween, so why the hell not.

Also, I sense another album project formulating…

(Apologies if this makes anyone hungry.)


Gingerbread Witchcraft
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

Hans and Greta went walking one day,
Into the forest, where the junipers grow.
With a trail of breadcrumbs to vouchsafe their way,
They delved into glens where even woodsmen don’t go.

The daylight grew thin and the hour grew late,
But their breadcrumbs went missing—filched by the crows.
They were lost and hungry and full of fright,
When they found a strange cottage with its windows aglow.

Smoke spiraled up from a chimney of stone,
Carrying with it the scent of gingerbread.
They thought surely an adult wouldn’t leave them outside alone,
So they knocked on the door in search of a bed.

       And her door opened up to the night.
       She saw their tears and said, “It’ll be all right.
       Come in, little lostlings, I’ll see that you’re fed,
       And for dessert, I’m making gingerbread.”

Hans and Greta, now cozy and warm,
Listened to the stories of their generous host.
She told them of sunshine, she told them of storm,
But the tales of magic were what Greta liked most.

The woman was keen to see that response,
And told Greta more stories as Hans fell asleep.
She hinted at the power that grips and that haunts,
And that witches are dangerous company to keep…

She sent Greta to bed well into the night,
Though Greta could have listened to her tales until dawn.
The woman just smiled and tucked her in tight,
As Greta said goodnight with a yawn.

       And stories set in motion a tempest
       That whirled even with her at rest.
       And she lay asleep, dreaming in bed,
       In linens that smelled of gingerbread.

Hans and Greta awoke with the sun,
With Hans unaware that the world had ended.
For his sister, a new life had begun
Thanks to the stranger whom they befriended.

In the daylight, the children found their way home,
And their father was thankful to see them return.
But Greta was captured and compelled to roam
Back to the cottage where the magic burned.

Hans warned their father that something was wrong—
After that visit, Greta wasn’t the same.
He said Greta shouldn’t stay away for so long…
But his father looked perplexed at hearing her name…

       [bridge]

Now they sing as they mix in the flour and eggs,
They laugh at how life might have turned out instead.
They pour out the mixture, scrape out the dregs,
And fill the forest with the scent of gingerbread.

       There is magic in the simple things,
       In the sifting of flour, in the way that smoke stings,
       To darken the moon or waken the dead,
       There is magic in the smell of gingerbread.

       Warm, spicy, gingerbread…



Published September 8th, 2013 at 8:48 pm EST/EDT
firesongblog

Wax Chaotic is currently running a fundraiser for our 2014 tour. Several of our rewards involve studio recordings of new songs, and as this is the studio that will be producing those recordings, I thought I would share the lyrics for those new songs.

The songs we’re offering at various reward levels are:

  • In Another Castle
  • MWAHAHAHA!
  • Coat of Scars
  • We are Filkers
  • Bridge
  • From Steel

“In Another Castle” and “Bridge” are currently available for your listening pleasure on YouTube, and the lyrics were posted with their videos. So here are the lyrics for “MWAHAHAHA!”.


MWAHAHAHA!
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

Thanks to the media, no one takes me seriously—
I can threaten, I can intimidate, but they just grin their stupid grins.
I’m tired of my reputation being marred so egregiously,
And I’m sick of how the bad guy never wins.

If I had a dollar for every mocking laugh,
Then oh, what an army of minions I could raise!
If you think you’ve got it bad, then you don’t know the half
Of it, ‘cause it’s not easy being an evil genius these days.

So I set about to prove that I’m comic villain bad,
And there’ve been a few—erm, roadblocks—on the way.
The burn marks are all gone now (mostly), and while that’s pretty rad,
I’m still working on my self-esteem as I say…

       MWAHAHAHA
       On my way down the
               Hidden stair—
       MWAHAHAHA
       To the projects that a-
               Wait me there.
       It’s clear to me
       My victory
       Will happen just as planned—
       They laugh and write me off,
       But should know better than to scoff—
       What part of
       MWAHAHAHA
       Don’t they understand?

“Money is power”, or at least that’s what they say,
So I spent several months planning for a major bank withdrawal.
Getting in, I knew, would for me be child’s play,
Thanks to this nifty gizmo I made that lets me walk through walls.

In retrospect, I should have fully tested it—instead, I jumped the gun,
And found myself not in the vault, but an alternate reality.
So far it hasn’t proven true two heads are better than one,
But maybe that’s because the second belongs to another me.

Thank evil I’ve got brains—who needs experience?—
At least I’m never plagued by guys in spandex underpants.
If I can only overcome my own incompetence,
Then maybe someday I’ll have half a chance.

       MWAHAHAHA
       On my way down the
               Hidden stair—
       MWAHAHAHA
       To the projects that a-
               Wait me there.
       It’s clear to me
       My victory
       Will happen just as planned—
       They laugh and write me off,
       But should know better than to scoff—
       What part of
       MWAHAHAHA
       Don’t they understand?

There was a time I worked to hold a monument for ransom,
Thinking surely that would be a way to put myself in power.
I gave them my demands and stood outside the Louvre, within each hand some
Nozzles that would blast the thing, and gave the world an hour.

Helicopters cordoned off the sky, while police were on the ground.
Members of the fourth estate tried to observe my every move.
All was going well, despite my timer counting down,
And if I didn’t win, well, at least my true nature I could prove.

Finally the word came down—quel suprise, they thought I was a joke.
I hit the switches on my cannons, ready to realize my dreams.
But what happened afterward was only ridicule and smoke…
…yeah, you don’t want to know what happened when I crossed the streams.

       But still I say
       MWAHAHAHA
       On my way down the
               Hidden stair—
       MWAHAHAHA
       To the projects that a-
               Wait me there.
       It’s clear to me
       My victory
       Will happen just as planned—
       They laugh and write me off,
       But should know better than to scoff—
       What part of
       MWAHAHAHA
       Don’t they understand?

Once I set about to terrorize New York City with a ray
That would allow me to control anyone I fired it upon.
I dreamed of city officials doing anything I’d say,
Thus at long last ushering in my new world order’s dawn.

In tests, the gadget worked without a hitch! …on mice…
But the human brain is more complex than those of lesser creatures.
So for now I’ve put my mind control ray on ice
Until I can add to it a few more…helpful…features.

But I’m learning from my failures, and this one particularly,
Though I’ll never forgive myself for the havoc I set free.
It’s not hard to see the flaws when they’re viewed lenticularly,
But it figures I’d be behind the world’s fascination with reality TV.

…that’s kind of evil, right?

       And I say
       MWAHAHAHA
       On my way down the
               Hidden stair—
       MWAHAHAHA
       To the projects that a-
               Wait me there.
       It’s clear to me
       My victory
       Will happen just as planned—
       They laugh and write me off,
       But should know better than to scoff—
       What part of
       MWAHAHAHA
       Don’t they understand?

I’ve been resisting the urge to build a time machine
And travel forward in it to go ask myself some things.
I’d really like to know what “keep it simple, stupid” means,
But mostly I just want to see myself be King.

Or maybe I’d call myself Emperor. No, I know! Her Grand High and Mightiness, Ruler of the World and All Her Satellites, Enslaver of Mankind, Supreme Evil Genius Extraordinaire, Master of All She Surveys, Empress of All Things Chocolate, Supreme Monarch of the—

Guitarist: AHEM!

—right, sorry.

But anyway, it’s back to work at the good ol’ the drawing board—
I’ve a deadline to meet, and I’m running out of time.
I’ll give good use to all the data that the NSA has stored,
‘Cause I’m the only one who should be the next Napoleon of Crime!

(I bet he didn’t have OSHA breathing down his neck…)

Soon it will be time to unveil my latest creation—
All it needs is one last little test.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed it won’t lead to my own cremation—
Yes, it’d be nice if this one were more stable than the rest.

       And still I say
       MWAHAHAHA
       On my way down the
               Hidden stair—
       MWAHAHAHA
       To the projects that a-
               Wait me there.
       It’s clear to me
       My victory
       Will happen just as planned—
       They laugh and write me off,
       But should know better than to scoff—
       What part of
       MWAHAHAHA
       Don’t they understand?


This is intended to be a singalong, or laughalong if you will. There are twenty opportunities available, at time of writing, for you guys to send in your best evil laugh for inclusion on the studio recording of this track. I don’t often write things that are funny, so I’m really excited to get this song out into the world, and I’d love it if some of you joined me in getting it out there. The opportunity to participate in this track is available at the appropriately-named “Mad Scientist’s Convention” level, which is set at $50 and also comes with a free download of the finished track.

So practice your evil laugh (because that’s about standards, really), and join the Mad Scientist’s Convention!



Published May 24th, 2013 at 6:13 pm EST/EDT
firesongblog

Greetings! For the uninitiated, my name is Katt McConnell and this is the blog for my recording studio, Dragon Scale Studios. It hasn’t been getting updated nearly as often as my other blog, but things are about to get a whole lot livelier around here.

Last year I ran a promotion called The Lyrics Dump in which I posted the lyrics to new songs to the blog once a month for nine months and then invited my readers to vote for which ones would get recorded in the studio. The results were that all nine songs are due to be recorded, and I’ve been working away at that project ever since. I wanted to have things released a lot sooner than they’re going to be—we’ve been hampered by noisy neighbor-owned lawnmowers outside the studio window (we don’t have soundproofing), day jobs, surgery, and other such things—but in the end I think the delay hasn’t been a terrible thing. Sean, my husband and the guitarist on all of these tracks and I have been busy touring as Wax Chaotic, and the experience has definitely done us some good. It’s helped shape the songs into what they’ve become for these recordings, and it’s given us a good feel for what we want them to be upon release.

But I am very excited to announce that the first of the nine Lyrics Dump songs should be released no later than Friday, May 31st (which is also coincidentally my birthday). Keep an eye out here and on the Facebook page for further information.

In addition to this new release, I have some other exciting things to announce! Firstly, something from the past. I had the honor of being Interfilk Guest at this year’s FilKONtario. I was intending to do a full blog about the con but then we had a Wax Chaotic concert at Penguicon the weekend afterward and when we got home I proceeded to get very busy working on a lot of things, most notably all this recording I mentioned. But suffice it to say that that was probably one of the best weekends of my life. The people were all utterly amazing, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and the entire affair was just very exciting to me. Endless thanks go to Interfilk for sending me up there, and to my friend Bill Sutton for convincing them it was a good idea to do so.

Next, something for the future.

I have decided what my next albums will be. Yes, albums plural. As in, I intend to work on and release two albums at the same time. One benefit of having a recording studio in your home is that you can do insane things like this. …and one of the downsides of having a recording studio in your home is that you can do insane things like this. I expect it will be an interesting project. I haven’t written out a formal timeline yet because we’re still in the midst of trying to get the Lyrics Dump songs out the metaphorical door, but I do hope to release these albums sometime in mid to late 2014. Album titles and track lists will be publicized once I have the last few kinks worked out (or in other words there’s a song I know I want on one of them that I don’t know the name of yet because I haven’t written it yet).

And while we’re talking about the future, Wax Chaotic has many more shows coming up this year. We’d really love to see you at any of them! We get to keep doing all this awesome stuff—creating and releasing studio recordings of original material, performing for people, making new friends, writing new music—because of you. So come out to a concert if you can and have fun with us!

I think that’s it for today then. Expect there to be more activity going on here for a little while, at least until all of the Lyrics Dump songs are out in the world. After that I might get quiet again while working on the mystery albums. In the meantime, I leave you with this. Enjoy!



Published June 6th, 2012 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


I decided to add this one to the promotion instead of “Coat of Scars”, which I think needs to percolate longer before it’s ready to be shared.

This song was inspired in part by the movie “Coraline”. In the movie, the titular character finds her way over to another world that mirrors the real world. Everything seems better there, but there’s a sinister undertone despite the pleasant demeanor of Coraline’s “other” parents and neighbors. That’s the movie in a nutshell, without giving too much away, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth the time.

You will note upon reading these lyrics, however, that I don’t mean what I usually mean when I say some bit of media inspired a song. “Buttons” carries with it the theme of “otherness” as denoted by button eyes, and how sinister actions can be threaded through and hidden by apparent normalcy. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

As you will hear later when the song sample is posted, “Buttons” is light and airy and lilting. The tune and instrumentation are purposefully in contrast with the darker subject matter. And I was happy when I got to the end of this one and found myself able to finish it on a hopeful if bittersweet note.


Buttons
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

When I was a child
I did not understand
What made the seasons change.
Like many girls before me
I daydreamed all the time
And created my own ways to explain.
But then as I grew older,
Science came along,
And the workings of the world became less strange.
Now I am a woman
And I understand
Many things that once
Were not so plain.

       The truth is too hard to ignore…

       And I finally see
       What was hidden from me—
       There are buttons
       Where your eyes should be.

When I was a child
I did not understand
Why something always felt amiss.
You were both my heroes,
As many might expect,
So for years I ignored the cold.
Now I am a woman
And finally know about
The sorrow that hid behind my bliss.
I never expected it,
And I don’t want it still,
But yet I’m glad the truth
Was finally told.

You hide behind the smiles
And pretty words like “love”,
But I know those both are hollow things.
I see behind your masks
To the horrors underneath,
And for that I’m forever changed.
It’s never quite the same
Living with that knowledge now,
But at least it’s brought me wings.
Goodbye, familiar shadows,
I’ll miss what you should have been,
But never more
To you will I be chained.

       Freedom is too hard to ignore…

       And I finally see
       What was hidden from me—
       Our love will fill the space
       Where you both should be.



Published May 2nd, 2012 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


A while ago, I got it in my head to write a song about Cerridwen. I don’t even remember what put the idea there, but I’m glad it came to me. So with this idea in mind, I went about looking up some information on Cerridwen. I didn’t know enough about her at the onset to really write a song, so the research was quite helpful with that.

Cerridwen was believed to possess a cauldron that would inspire any who drank from it. An awenydd is someone who has been so inspired by Cerridwen. This concept actually strikes a deep chord, for obvious reasons, so I latched on to that bit of inspiration and came up with this.

It took me forever to come up with a tune for this song. I was worried for a while there that I wouldn’t be able to and that I’d have to swap in a different song for the Lyrics Dump promo. But I let it percolate for a while and eventually I did get something. I’m actually really pleased with what I did get, and I think I’ve gone and written another earworm. I tend to take it as a good sign when I get my own songs stuck in my head.

So here’s a song for a Welsh Lady Muse.


Awenydd
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

Greetings, traveller—been on the road long, have you?
Your feet are grey with dust and your eyes are dim with sleep.
Join me at my campsite. The road is long and dreary,
And I can offer conversation and some tea I’ve set to steep.

       You may wonder what I’m doing in the countryside alone,
       What brings a woman of my years to travel on her own,
       Well, it’s just that I’ve been thinking, and thinking makes me walk,
       So sit you by the fireside, come stay a while and talk.

What chance is there that brings two such as we together?
The land is wide and long, and very few now go this way.
But if you look back down your lifeline you’ll find this was meant to be,
That sometimes some things happen in which we never have a say.

The tea is done, I think, and it will soothe away the chill.
Take a sip and watch the stars—they so beautiful out here.
With nothing but the open sky and the evening moon to watch,
Just drink your tea, and soon you’ll see your mind is set and clear.

              You’ve been looking for a sign, though you don’t know it,
              Asking the gods for direction.
              Well, answers are often where you least expect they’ll be,
              And this is no exception.

Now I need to tell you what you have likely guessed—
I’m not the simple crone you see, and that heady draught’s not tea.
Lay everything you think you know down at my feet, my child
Now you’ve drunk from out my cauldron—go be what you wish to be.



Published April 30th, 2012 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

At the end of the small set I and my friends performed as part of my Capstone project, I took questions from the audience. One of those questions, posed by my friend Brat, was “Would you be willing to make a theme song for my game?” She was referring to her own Capstone project.

My response to her question was a very confident and reassuring, “I will try!

She contacted me about it again in January. I was both pleased and nervous. I was pleased because it was my first song commission and I really wanted to take the project. But I was nervous because creativity has its own whims and I wasn’t sure I would be able to bend those whims to my will. But I took the project and Brat sent me some details for it.

These details mostly consisted of background on the game she was working on. I needed this information, of course, so that I had something to write about. And even so, it was really interesting writing this song. Usually when I write songs I have a much greater understanding of their background, whether it’s something I’m basing off my own life or off a book, TV show, et cetera. With this game, all I had were Brat’s notes and that was it. I felt a little bit like I was flying blind. Therefore, I resolved to fling some words at a sheet of paper and then see what she thought of them.

The Muses were merciful in this instance and I was able to get the first verse and a tune at the same time. And quickly, to boot. But I found after writing the first verse that I wasn’t able to think of anything else to write and that I needed more background. So I sent what I had to Brat for approval, which I got, and I also sent her a list of questions to try and suss out some other details so that I could finish the song.

And then Brat got sick.

As I’m sure everyone knows, being sick sucks. So It’s no wonder I didn’t hear back from her for a little while.

A month later she sent me the info I needed. I sat down and hammered out a second verse and managed a chorus. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure about the tune, but I sent the entirety of the lyrics off to Brat. She responded with enthusiasm, so I figured the next step was to take the song to my musical partners in crime to get it chorded and arranged. They knocked it out in the space of about an hour and a half, and they helped me figure out the last kink in the tune. When I say my bandmates constantly amaze me, this is the sort of thing I’m talking about.

So by this point it was the second week of March. Brat needed the song fully recorded, mixed, and mastered no later than April 6th. …yeah. Commence Operation Get This Bugger Recorded.

Sean and I spent the next week and a half running through the song at least once a night most nights (with the exception of the night of our concert as part of S(cubed)apalooza). Then it was time to start recording. I was very excited to get back into the studio (and am also very excited about my next opportunity).

This was Sean’s first time in the studio to record guitar. I’d shoved a microphone in front of his face before for “The Stallion and the Rose: The Debt” and “The Singing of Dragons”, but even so, I think he was still a bit nervous. It didn’t help that we haven’t really done any practicing with a metronome, but I always record with one. (And we’ll be making an effort to practice with one more often from now on.) But even so, he did an excellent job.

The main vocal was a cinch. It’s not perfect, but I try to recognize the fact that it’s not possible for anything to ever be perfect. Otherwise, I will drive myself insane trying to achieve the unattainable.

In the interim while I was waiting for my scheduled time with the other musicians I worked with, I laid down the tambourine and djembe parts. For the tambourine, I had recently acquired this nifty rig that bolts to a mic stand (or other similar apparatus) and holds the tambourine steady. I then hit the tambourine with timpani mallets (which are padded). It was a much better way of doing things. I had quite a bit more control over the instrument with this set-up. When I played tambourine for “Stepping Stones”, I was just shaking it, and it didn’t work nearly as well.

The djembe recording was pretty straightforward. I hope to someday have a kick mic to pick up those low frequencies better.

The next instrument I recorded was a real treat. I’d never recorded bass guitar before, let alone a purely electric bass. Ally helped me conscript our friend Stephen Luckett (whom I call “Anime”—long story, don’t ask), with whom she’d been in a band a few years ago. He was enthusiastic and very fun to work with. He was even barely hampered by the fact that my set-up currently doesn’t allow for echo during recording. So he couldn’t hear his part at all while he was playing.

He left the studio saying that when Ally had showed him the scratch recording, he wasn’t sure what his playing a bass part could add to it. But after listening to the current mix with his part added in, he understood why we thought bass was a good idea.

Lastly, I needed vocal harmonies. Ally was on board for those. She arranged them herself (in addition to Anime’s bass part) and knocked tracks for both parts out quite quickly. This was the first time I had recorded vocals for her, and as always, she’s fun to work with.

This is easily one of my most favorite songs I’ve written if only because it’s so much fun to perform. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoy performing it.

Buy it here


Surviving Through the Game
Lyrics by Katt McConnell, music by Katt McConnell with thanks to Wax Chaotic
Commissioned by Brat Conway for the game “The Chronicles of the Lost Dimensions”

It was always easier to hide,
To never turn to face the shadows
Behind
Or the monster inside…

My secrets should never be revealed,
For they’re dangerous to all those I
Love—
But now they can’t be concealed,
For the nightmare is real,
And the truth will at last be my shield!

       Some choose adventure
       Some are chosen by fate
       If I know what’s good for me I’ll choose
       To escape

       To some, it’s all about winning
       To some, it’s all wealth and fame
       Here, right now, it’s only about
       Surviving through the game.

You are not the only one that finds
They have a destiny that tangles and
Binds
With chains of many kinds…

If it kills me, by gods, I’ll follow through—
I’m not a hero, I just do what needs
Done.
But this I promise you:
Your fetters I’ll undo!
(And maybe I’ll save myself, too.)


Lyrics by Katt McConnell, music by Katt McConnell with thanks to Wax Chaotic
Performed by Wax Chaotic, feat. Stephen Luckett
Katt McConnell—Main vocal, percussion, engineering, mixing, mastering
Sean McConnell—Guitar
Allyson Clarkson—Vocal harmony arrangements and performance, bass guitar arrangement
Stephen Luckett—Bass



Published April 4th, 2012 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


This song was inspired by that special kind of burn out you get when you’re just tired of everyone and everything, including and especially yourself. It was inspired by the frustration that arises when we find ourselves chaffing at the limitations imposed upon us by all sources, both interior and exterior, that prohibit us from taking time to ourselves, or from being ourselves, or from making our dreams manifest as reality. I will shamelessly say that I hope this one gets a lot of votes, because it’s one of my favorites.


Break Out
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

       I need a vacation
       From my inhibitions
       To let the exception
       For once
       Be the rule.

       I burn with frustration
       At my limitations,
       And in my desperation
       I slowly
       Come unglued.

I can barely think through my exhaustion.
Hiding my true self is pretty tiring.
I look for a way to bolster my strength,
But the world is so uninspiring.

I can’t find the balance in my life
That comes with knowing your label.
Would that I could nosce te ipsum,
But so far I haven’t been able.

I find myself in confusion—
I’m spoiled for choice, but have none.
My mind’s running ’round in circles,
But I’m pretty damn certain of one

Thing

       I need a vacation
       From my inhibitions
       To let the exception
       For once
       Be the rule.

       I burn with frustration
       At my limitations,
       And in my desperation
       I slowly
       Come unglued.

The world has impossible standards
That I try to meet all the same.
Pretending I’m not really me, see,
Well, it’s all just a part of the game.

Just once I’d like to know freedom,
To let the freak inside of me out.
But being that weirdo would frighten
The people I care about.

This puzzle has so many pieces,
Some of them blank, and some of them gone,
That I can’t even see the whole picture,
But I can see that I need to be on

A

       Nice lengthy vacation
       From my inhibitions
       And let the exception
       For once
       Be the rule.

       I burn with frustration
       At my limitations,
       And in my desperation
       I slowly
       Come unglued.

Society has its demands, sure,
But you know, I’ve got a few of my own.
I don’t think it’s asking too much to
Sometimes just be left alone.

I think of the world and its interests,
Try to be kind to my fellow man,
But sometimes the energy leaves me
And I have done all that I can.

I see that you’re weary like me, yeah?
So let’s find a new place to go.
God knows what waits on the flip side,
But it’s far more important I know

That

       I need a vacation
       From my inhibitions
       To let the exception
       For once
       Be the rule.

       I burn with frustration
       At my limitations,
       And in my desperation
       I slowly
       Come unglued.



Published March 7th, 2012 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


This is a long one. This is a ballad. I can see this being performed by a minstrel in a tavern somewhere when the evening is wearing on and the patrons are a sheet or two to the wind and everyone’s in the mood for a good drinking song.

The character in this song is one of my nearest and dearest characters. She first appeared on an RPG message board when I was in middle school, and since then I have created a lot of mythos for her. And certain aspects of my personality and life have started to mirror hers, which is weird.

If you go to the Fiction Index over on the main Firesong Productions site and look under the “Delicate Balance” heading, she’s that crazy redheaded chick I keep writing about. This song is actually based on events that take place in a novel I’ve been working on for a very long time, which I hope to one day have finished. In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for this ballad, which, despite its length, I rather enjoy.

Oh, and a quick note to avoid any confusion later–you’ll note that this song talks about the sun rising in the west. While it is true that the sun rises in the east here on Earth, the story on which this song is based is most definitely not set on Earth. Therefore, the sun rises in the west.


The Banners of War
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

You may have heard of a woman
And thought all the tales of her lies.
Surely we minstrels embellish,
And history we revise.
But this woman I speak of needs no remaking—
Her actions are spun from the fabric of lore.
Beware of the warrior who charges into battle,
Her hair flying free as the banners of war.

       Ride, ride down the highway,
       Chase the nighttime into dawn.
       Break them like waves on the mountains,
       Hammer the anvil ’til the flaws are all gone.

Like many of you, I’ve heard stories
Of the head of our national Guard.
I, too, found them mostly fantastic
Although I myself am a bard.
But this season I went on campaign with the army,
Invited along to help bolster morale.
One battle has altered how I view the captain,
And it’s that I propose to regale you with now.

The army went west toward the border
On reports of our foes being seen.
A day from the mountains we bivouacked,
To march in the morning again.
But well after nightfall the enemy found us
And rousted us all from our uneasy dreams.
It’s then that I saw as the battle raged ‘round me
Our captain is very much more than she seems.

She whirled in the fray like a dancer,
With impossible beauty and grace.
Her sword was a blade made of lightning,
And she her opponents’ disgrace.
As the bodies of foemen piled higher around her
And the scent of their blood permeated the air,
I tossed aside notions of black-hooded reapers,
For the angel of death is this fiend with red hair.

Our foes, although numerous, retreated,
For the Guard fought like demons from hell.
We next turned to tending the wounded,
No more by the battle bespelled.
While some helped the Healers and others did clean-up,
Still others piled wood for what looked like a pyre.
But nobody brought forth the dead, as is custom,
Yet still they ignited their monstrous fire.

As evening wore on, we took shelter,
For we knew that our duties were done.
But the captain stayed out by the bonfire
That blazed like the bright summer sun.
Yet as I watched, the flames dimmed and dwindled,
Their marks left as embers on smoldering logs.
The darkness fell on me like some kind of omen—
And that’s when I noticed the first wisps of fog.

All was in shadow around me
As the ground turned a nebulous gray.
The fog did not seem peculiar
Til it began moving away.
It writhed as if living and moved toward the mountains,
Heading, I thought, where our enemies had gone.
I silently shuddered inside of my shelter
While distant screams ripped through the air until dawn.

You’ve heard now the story I offered,
And likely you all think me mad.
But I know damn well what I saw,
Yes, I know what adventure I had.
And still I feel nightly the awe and the terror
And wish to return to the nightmare once more,
For my heart is lost to the warrior in battle
Whose hair flies as free as the banners of war.



Published February 1st, 2012 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
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This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


This song was originally written to give me an excuse to shamelessly show off the corresponding short story, which can be found here. I wish to extend many thanks to the people who helped me edit the story.


The White Wolf
Music and lyrics by Katt McConnell

I see from my window the forest,
And above, a sky filled with stars.
The moon turns the snow into diamonds,
And I wonder where you are.
It’s been several weeks since I saw you last—
I’m sorry—my babes kept me bound.
But now I am ready to try again, dear,
And pray a way out can be found.

       I try to tell myself it will be enough—
       There’s nothing to fear in the eyes of a wolf.
       This riddle has only one answer I see,
       And I pray to the gods that my love will set you free.

The staff all complain of the monster
That carries our livestock away.
They’d never imagine it also
Steals more of my sister each day.
It kills me to know I might lose you
Forever to a horrible fate,
But the steel of that curse was tempered
In the fires of your enemy’s hate.

Unless I act soon I’ll go crazy,
And unless I succeed we’re all doomed.
So into the forest I venture,
Led by my heart and the moon.
Come find me now in the nighttime,
Cross now the slumbering land—
And don’t mind the smell of the stranger,
He’s just here to lend us a hand.

       I try to tell myself it will be enough—
       There’s nothing to fear in the eyes of a wolf.
       This riddle has only one answer I see,
       And it seems to me now…that his love will set you free.



Published January 4th, 2012 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
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This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


I wrote the original version of this song in high school in (dubious) honor of a friend who went from sheltered to aware and unsure to abusive over the course of the three years I knew him. After I graduated and moved away, the song, which was by nature incredibly topical, lost most of its appeal. But I still enjoyed the chorus and the basic concept, so I decided to rewrite it.

I like this version much better. It’s still about someone I know, but I am not at liberty to name them. Those of you who know me well enough will probably guess anyway.

While I enjoy using language to rip to shreds any object of my ire, this song is intentionally short. I try not to waste my breath on people who won’t (or in this case can’t) truly listen to me, so I bit back my bile and truncated what could have evolved into a lengthy piece.

The tune, however, was not intentional. It works wonderfully, I think, but the irony it creates amuses me. Here I have these lyrics, which are actually pretty angry and bitter, set to a bouncy, almost jazzy tune. So really, because of that, this song is that giant middle finger you give your evil, hellspawned boss on the day that you finally quit the job that’s been eating at your soul for years. It’s fun.


Cracked
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

I can think of a few choice words that I’d love to say to you,
But none of them will change a thing, so I’m sorry to say that I’m through.
I don’t have time for all of your problems—you’ve caused enough of my own,
So I’m jumping ship while a way out remains and glad that at least now I know

That you’re cracked—
In the world’s worst way,
You’re cracked
And what else can I say?
You don’t feel, and you aren’t aware,
You’re lesser than whole and can’t be repaired,
‘Cause you’re cracked.

You can pretend to be hurt all you like, but see I’ve grown wise to your game.
Which is no small feat considering that the rules are never the same.
I can no longer ignore all the damage you’ve done—just prevent you from doing me more,
And you’ve proven to me that you can, in fact, miss something you’ve never had before

‘Cause you’re cracked—
In the world’s worst way,
You’re cracked
And what else can I say?
You don’t feel, and you aren’t aware,
You’re lesser than whole and can’t be repaired,
‘Cause you’re cracked.
In the world’s worst way,
You’re cracked
And what else can I say?
You don’t feel, and you aren’t aware,
You’re lesser than whole and can’t be repaired,
‘Cause you’re cracked.



Published December 7th, 2011 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
firesongblog

This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


When most mythology nerds hear thunder, they think of the Norse god Thor. When they see lightning, they think of the Greek god Zeus. Normally, I’m right there with them. But this one night in the spring of 2011, when the wind was crazy and the sky was vociferous and there was this peculiar feeling in the air, I made the leap from storm to Hephaestus. For those of you who don’t know, Hephaestus, sometimes known as the Ugly God, is the Greek god of the forge. He’s a crafter and an artisan. He’s the guy who all the other Greek gods go to when they need some armor made or a weapon forged. He is also Aphrodite’s husband. And while I’ve heard that she frequently enjoys the fact that he works late (you can’t expect a goddess of love to be monogamous, can you?), during this particular storm I heard her trying to lure her hubby away from his anvil and furnace and go engage in another equally hot and steamy activity. And then this fell out of my head.


Rumble
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

Down in the forge
There’s steam and there’s heat
And sweat an’ blood an’ fire,
And workin’ to the beat
Of
Hammers poundin’ metal—
Need to make the scene complete…
Let’s get a whole lotta rumblin’
Goin’ on.

With lava for the furnace
And poundin’ for a song
You work your glowin’ metal,
But your workday’s oh so long.
No
Time can quell this yearnin’—
Even iron’s not as strong.
Hey, there’s a whole lotta rumblin’
Goin’ on.

You’re better with your hands
Than any other I could name.
Sparks are sure to fly when
Your hammer takes its aim.
Though
I’m born of the ocean,
Oh, I’m tantalized by flames.
See, there’s a whole lotta rumblin’
Goin’ on.

With every bead of sweat
That the forgin’ makes you shed
The air is growin’ hotter,
And hey, I’m seein’ red.
I
Think I’ve got a fever—
Won’t you take me off to bed?
Oh, there’s a whole lotta rumblin’
Goin’ on.
Said there’s a whole lotta rumblin’
Goin’ on.



Published November 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 am EST/EDT
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This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


I wrote this song as I was about to embark on the journey that I have been on with Wax Chaotic for several months now. Deciding to take part in a band that is serious about this whole music thing was kind of a big step for me. I have long considered myself a musician, but music was never something I tried to do seriously. Thanks to my album project for school, I began to find that I really enjoyed performing and wanted to do more with it. But because I often don’t adjust well to change, I found myself in a state of confusion. So it took me a little while to get used to thinking of myself as a “real” musician.

I was and in some ways still am also frustrated by the fact that I have so many interests that it seems like it’s difficult to just focus on one. It drives me a little crazy sometimes, wondering what niche I’m supposed to fill.

This song, whose title is [untitled], is an expression of all of that.


[untitled]
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

My feet are now called down a road I don’t know,
And I cannot help but to stand up and go.
I abandon the thoughts of what all else I’ve wished,
Lured off by visions of dreams in the mist.
Will I find you?
Where will I find you?

This path that I tread is a strange one, for sure,
And one that I’ve dreamed of quiet often before.
I don’t know the taste of its music or rhyme,
But somehow it seems it’s been there the whole time.
Will I find you?
When will I find you?

A passion, a hobby, nothing major—and yet
It’s this thread through my life that I can’t quite forget.
It makes me consider as nothing else will:
A danger uncertain or a dream unfulfilled?
Will I find you?
How will I find you?

It’s a current beneath all the rest that I see,
Yet another obsession where I hope to find me.
And here I am sailing in blood and in bone
And sketching out charts into waters unknown.
Will I find you?
Why can’t I find you?



Published August 17th, 2011 at 11:05 am EST/EDT
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This post is part of the Lyrics Dump Promotion. To read more about the promotion, please see Soap Box – Various and Sundry.


Well, since I don’t have anything else to write about this week, I thought I’d share with you some lyrics for a new song. I might try to get a rough recording of it up sometime (once my studio actually has a microphone…)

This was inspired by my band Wax Chaotic’s concert at MuseCon. Being that we call ourselves Wax Chaotic I suppose it shouldn’t be any great surprise that Murphy keeps following us around. In this particular instance, one of the strings on Crystal’s guitar snapped as we were just getting into the meat of our set…and then proved incredibly stubborn to remove from the guitar and change out. I think it ended up taking three people, including her, and a pair of pliers to get the bloody peg to cooperate. So I decided to not only immortalize this event in song (because if we can’t laugh at ourselves, we’re in trouble) but write a song that could be performed in the instance of anything like this ever happening again. I’m sure that now since we have it we’ll never need it.

And so, I present to you, the Wax Chaotic stalling song.

Technical Difficulties (Please Stand By)
Lyrics and music by Katt McConnell

Oh
Holy hell
She’s gone and snapped a string
Who knew that that would go wrong?
I guess while she’s replacing
It
The show must go on,
So it’s time for the Wax Chaotic
Stalling Song.

We are experiencing
Technical difficulties
Please stand by
Shit, as they say,
Well, it happens all the time,
And we just have to laugh, or else we’ll cry.

It’s
A good thing
Our guitarist came prepared
For an occurrence such as this.
So while we wait for her,
We’ll
Keep you entertained.
It’ll just be a sec—dammit,
Are there any pliers in the house?

Since
We are Wax
Chaotic, we shouldn’t be surprised
When we’re paid a visit from our “friend”.
Murphy is a bastard,
But still
This song has chords transcribed
Just in case she jumps in
Before the end.

Yeah, we just have to laugh, or else we’ll cry.