"The Past Is Present" is a select collection of 25 song demos by Rob Birdwell produced from 1987 to 2012.
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Popular and ancient wisdom reminds us not to dwell on the past. But sometimes it's necessary to look back to see how far we've come - and of course to humbly realize how far we've yet to go!
The title of this collection - "The Past Is Present" - comes from a line in the tune "All This Stuff" which basically tells one of the rare "true" tales of my conundrum with going through past letters, photos, songs, memories, and other life accumulations, while simultaneously living in the here and now with some semblance of looking to the future.
The cover photo depicts me offering a dandelion - my favorite flower! To me they're reminders of beauty, strength, resilience, and creativity. (When's the last time you saw a rose bush sprouting up in your driveway?)
I write songs because I enjoy the creative process, love singing and playing on the tracks, and hearing it all come together. I also write with the hope that my songs will be performed by others. After all, "demo" is short for demonstration and isn't every recording just a demo?
A quick word or two on each of these songs, none of which appear on any of my other "official" CD releases (aka "demos"):
- Coming Home - it's pure fantasy of course; I haven't been to any of these places! But hey, that's imagination for ya.
- I Still Think of You Sometimes - yes, I do. Written in my little Miracle Mile apartment back in the day.
- All This Stuff - seriously, what can I do with it? I still don't have a clue, but I wrote a song about it.
- Love Will Find A Way - written with Wade Marsten. We were going for something pop, trying to sell a song!
- Tuesday Dress - good times with friends, fancy and free. Her name was Tuesday and she wore a dress.
- All In Your Mind - written with Wade. We recorded this at the "new" Grove School of Music studio before it closed.
- Homemade Movie - Homemade Movie - the movie that plays in my mind. bg vocals were placeholders for my girls - that's they way I hear it.
- Alone Tonight - Hollywood days were sometimes very lonely days, but good friends were made.
- Father's Prayer - written for my father early into my becoming a father. Both my parents gave so much to me.
- Letting You Go - not really my own personal experience; me stepping into a role, which is what I love about songs.
- Around Town - had a fantasy of many other singers joining in on this, each taking a line. Ah, to dream...
- Hole In My Heart - somehow managed to produce this in my "no musicians allowed" studio apartment in Hollywood!
- This Could Be Something - a publisher once bit hard on this one. It was a thrill but alas, the 80's ended.
- A Captain's Song - must have been a dream. I can't explain how or why I came up with this, but glad I did.
- I'm Not Sorry - I'm really not this cynical in real life with relationships, but this song must have emboldened me.
- She Kissed Me - well, in the song at least. I wanted other players on this but that's me on drums and everything.
- In So Deep - somewhat experimental for me at the time. I miss those old synths and sounds I could summon.
- Julie You're A Loser - there really was a Julie and she ticked me off big time. She's probably wasn't a loser though.
- I Never Really Wanted You - a Bird From Mars session. Wade recites Shakespeare at the end and we hired a cellist. Fun times.
- Heed The Warning - an emerging sense of doom for the earth and waterways was haunting me. Still does.
- Jenny's Web Cam - the "Jenny" character here is strong, self-sufficient and in control of the picture your seeing.
- Story of Love - this one was probably intended for a children's album; another Hollywood studio production track.
- Don't Be Angry Little Finger - about the proper care and handling of one's middle finger (and an inside second valve joke).
- Little Fireball - written a couple months before the birth of our first child, Linnea. I wrote this for her.
- No Way Winning With That Girl - written after I read a tragic news story of a woman murdering her lover while he slept.