MAB “TABLES AND CHAIRS”

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Jul 10, 2016, 11:31 AM

I guess I am making this a “MAB” day. If so, sorry. But it is getting close to my Birthday and a lot of things are going in Nashville that I am involved with so I thought I would put up a couple just to demonstrate that I do what I tell others to.

Last night I played in a venue in Nashville called “Pavillion Coffee house. It is a Christian coffee house and was my first time. They had a video guy there who videos the performances. I think it turned out pretty well and since it was on Facebook and You Tube this morning I thought I would post it here.

I write a LOT of songs and forget a lot of them, simply because I move on to other songs. But this particular songs, called “TABLES AND CHAIRS” has become my unnofficial theme song” and is one of the most requested things I have ever written. I actually forgot about it for four years because I usually closed my shows with a song called “My Wish.”. But when the group RASCAL FLATTS came out with their song called “My Wish”, written by a friend of mine, Jeffery Steele, I had to come up with another closing song. I did it at a workshop I gave in Texas, and was reminded of it by someone who was there at the workshop, a few years later. I began to play it and since it has become my closing song. Seems to reasonate with a lot of people, particularly those trying to do things in music.

But it is really about LIFE, and keeping going when you feel like you are only talking to hear yourself talk. I’m proud of the song, and since this is the latest video, I thought I’d put it here. Hope you like it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmxnZBUrsHs

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Jul 10, 2016, 02:19 PM

MAB,

This is another one of your great songs and I’m happy you posted it to give SW 101 members a chance to hear you perform it live.

I hate to always make your stories about me; but I have to share the first time I heard you perform this song.  I believe it was on my 2nd Tour with you (back in early 09); but the first time you invited me to stay with you and Tina during my trip.  That Saturday evening you invited your friends Tommy and Susie to join us for dinner and Tommy’s Uncle Bob was in town and joined us also.

You may not remember that particular trip but you may remember that was when you, Bob, and I, where in the living room and Bob mentioned being a Vet from the Korean War.  I got out of my chair and walked over to him, shook his hand, and “thanked” him for his service to our country.  I can’t help but believe, even though you and I didn’t know each other very well at that time, that evening brought us both together somewhat because we would later learn we were both patriots and students of history.

About this particular song “Tables And Chairs”.  I somewhat remember your story about this song, and how you wrote it with an attorney that wanted to leave his career and chase his dreams in music.  I think the story goes even deeper that the attorney knew Jeffery Steel and maybe even once performed around LA with him; before Jeffery became a hit songwriting success in Nashville.  I think it was Jeffery’s success in Nashville that caused your co-writer on this song to want to give up his legal career and follow the success Jeffery was experiencing in Nashville; but I could be wrong.  You know how I tend to get my stories mixed up.   

However; back to the story about this song.  After dinner you performed a few songs for us in the living room.  That is the first time I ever heard you perform your song “Tables and Chairs”.  S.O.B.  I knew immediately this song was special and I had no idea you had once forgotten it and only recently brought it out of your song catalogue. You give someone in a Texas credit for bringing it back to your attention; but I recall you giving Tina credit for liking it and requesting you play it on all of your shows.

Regardless of who gets the credit.  It’s a great song and I’ve been fortunate enough to be in many audiences that were totally spell bound by this song.  It’s truly a great one and one of my favorites by you.

OD

 
     
OD-OldDog Joined Feb 14, 2016
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Jul 10, 2016, 02:43 PM

Yes, I guess people are going to get bored with our stories on each other. But we have known each other for a while and you are a pretty good study for some of the other people here. You got out of your own way, even though you didn’t want to, but now you are able to tell some of these great stories that only happen when you get out of the living room and meet people. I wish everyone would do that.

Tables and Chairs was written with Steven J. Fisher “ATTORNEY AT LAW”. I always have to say that because it is on EVERY PIECE OF CORRESPONDENCE HE DOES! Emails, phone messages, letters, pretty much everything. He actually came to a party we had in California and I had gotten every body to watch when he walked in. He came through the door, and everyone yelled out in Unison “STEVEN J. FISHER ATTORNEY AT LAW!!!!” Was like “NORM!!!!” on Cheers. Very funny.

Steven is a guy who went into law in Los Angeles and has done very well. He lives in Malibu, and has a very nice life. Has a great wife and two kids, but always feels his destiny was to leave for Nashville thirty years ago. He had been friends with Jeffery very early in Jeffery’s career. and they actually played some shows together. Jefferey moved and Steven didn’t. But Jefferey is a FORCE OF NATURE, tremendous writer, singer, artist, producer, hundreds of cuts, dozens of number ones and about 80 top twentys and thirties. He is amazing.

I don’t know if Steven (or anybody for that matter) is really up for that one. No slight on any of us. But Jeffery is just amazing.
So I have always tried to give Steven perspective to not worry about what DIDN’T HAPPEN. Don’t live in the “WHAT IFS’.” Even to this day, he still won’t even VISIT Nashville. Too bad. I wish he could see the effect this song has on people.

It was really written in about 20 minutes to show him that songwriting is not ALL FAME, GLORY AND MONEY. Very little is about that. Most of the time it is about “playing to tables and chairs.” To nobody.

But anyone doing music has to feel like “You don’t choose music, music chooses you.” (Which we HAVE TRADEMARKED, by the way.)

So that is the point of the song. People tend to relate to this song and it is really not just songwriters. I have heard from salesmen, truck drivers, late night dock workers, Construction people, all over. Very interesting effect from a song. Glad people like it.

And yes I did forget it. It is a “Drop D” (tuning) ballad and I have about a dozen songs that are very similar. So it was just kind of “another one of those.” Wasn’t until Rascal Flatts came out with their “My Wish” song that I had to do another song. The Texan who reminded me of it was TERRY WILFORD, who was a cowboy at a workshop I did in Marshall Texas. Showed up for dinner at our house one night and made me play the song TWELVE TIMES back to back. That is why I thought that maybe I was overlooking something.

I was.

Another one of those “interesting things: about Nashville songwriters, particularly the ones with the big hits, is that usually they NEVER thought the songs that went on to become HUGE CAREER SONGS, were the one’s that would be cut. They always have other songs they believed in more. But a lot of the time you just can’t figure out what people are going to relate to. It’s why you write a LOT OF SONGS.

I’m fortunate to have a few songs that people have related to. Been a pretty cool ride and I’m pretty lucky at all of it. Glad some people like this one.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Jul 11, 2016, 03:20 AM

I got teary eyed.  Its the kind of song that when Im alone or questioning why I do this whole performance thing I would play for myself.  It was excellent really moved me.

 
     
Isaias Acosta Joined Jul 09, 2016
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Jul 11, 2016, 08:39 AM

Thank you Isaisas,

That is the general idea. Written mostly for songwriters, it seems to always get the “misty eyed” reaction even from very tough truckers and salesmen, anyone that feels the struggle in their lives and jobs, yet have to keep going. Glad you liked it.
MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Aug 09, 2016, 09:38 PM

Have you ever thought about this one in third person?

Br
His hands still hold the memory
Of glory days and stories told
But the bright lights and applause
Have long since grown cold

Ch
So he plays just for the passion
He plays for nothing left to lose
Pours his heart into a song
And sings away the blues
Then he leaves them full of wonder
For a musical soul laid bare
Cause he doesn’t care
He would play for tables n chairs

 
     
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JAPOV Joined Jul 02, 2006
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Aug 10, 2016, 07:47 AM

Thanks. No, third person is not as effective, and dilutes the emotion. Doing anything like that would tend to be too poetic and overwritten. I have this one pretty much where i want it. But thanks. Most of the time, less is more.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Aug 10, 2016, 08:27 PM

Marc, I really do respect your talent…. it’s just your methods I have a problem with at times. That
aside, I’ve waited a month for someone else to comment on this. So I’m going to respectfully ask
if you would like to know what I really think…..?

 
     
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JAPOV Joined Jul 02, 2006
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Aug 10, 2016, 09:34 PM

Japov,

I’m always happy to listen to what any body thinks. There is a thing about this song, is that number one, it’s been around quite a few years. I close every show with it. Some of it’s biggest fans are hugely successful hit writers, Grammy winners, who quote it to other people, and it says everything I want to say the way I want to say it. I don’t want a bridge, nor to change the focus of the song. It is actually about continuing on when things are rough and doing something that you love and believe in. It touches many people the same way, truckers, salesman, people who log long hours away from their families. The “song aspect” and the music aspect are just a side issue, it is not really about that.

When I write songs, I take as much OUT as I can, I don’t put more in, that is a hall mark of Nashville songwriting and how we approach music here. The great musicians are great because of what they DON’T play. The great writers and the great songs are always the most simple approaches. The songs throughout history that have survived the test of time are usually very, very simple. That is what people remember. The less said, the better. And it’s another difference between amateur songwriting and professional songwriting. Most amateurs overwrite. They can’t hone in on their point and the crowd it with too many ideas going on in a song. You don’t need tons of words and verses, to make your point. But I’m always happy to hear what people have to say. I deal with some of the most successful people in the music business and I hear what they say all the time.

But by listening, that doesn’t mean I’m going to agree. I’ll always give my reasons, and try to describe what I am going for. We all have our own opinions, but that is just what they are, opinions.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Aug 11, 2016, 02:16 AM

LOL, well then Marc I’ll make you a promise….. I’ll only speak as an amateur, which I’m sure is over
stating things…... and I’ll only speak of how this song effects me personally. So, since I don’t charge
for my suggestions or opinions you can take solace in the fact that you got what you paid for :)

Actually my critique is about wording, and I feel that perhaps your wording is a little too simple. Now
don’t get me wrong, as an amateur writer/performer myself I totally get the gist of this. In fact, I like
the concept of “Tables n Chairs”, that’s the only reason I’m even compelled to have an opinion. But,
and again this is just me…..., your tortured soul laid bare singing to an audience about tables n chairs
comes across as welcome to my pitty party in the most condescending way imaginable. The fact that
you actually mention money beforehand is astounding. In one of your videos before the song you
even shout out to salesmen (loved that by the way). You could just as effectively say…

If you’re not entertained
I don’t care
Give me your money
Or get out of those chairs…..

All I’m suggesting is that perhaps you should consider a more gentle way of saying to your audience
I would still be playing if you were here or not. Waxing poetic about looking for a deeper wonder is
really not necessary lol.

Sincerely,
Your amateur friend….
Tony :)

 
     
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JAPOV Joined Jul 02, 2006
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Aug 11, 2016, 07:52 AM

Tony,

I appreciate it but like I said, everyone has opinions. What you are saying, really goes far away from anything I would care to do. You NEVER accuse your audience of not getting you and demand money. That’s pretty silly, petty and petulant. But again, you tend to take a more confrontational style, which is what most people who don’t deal with the public and actually do this do. But that is why everyone can write their own songs. Like everything, you can always write something you feel about and get on the playing field.

Good luck to you always.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Aug 11, 2016, 08:48 AM

Tony,

Just a question. Are you actually a singer or do you listen to the pattern of how a melody goes or just write words down. Because you have to listen to the pattern of a vocal, the stressed and unstressed syllables. Your lyrics don’t correspond to anything in my song. I’d suggest in all of your writing if you fit into patterns, and find lyrics that are easier to actually SING, would help you in your overall writing. Might clear up some things for you.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Aug 11, 2016, 08:54 AM

sorry to butt in , but i personally like the way its written , and i think its a very original idea (as far as i know) . i think tony has a minor point about the self pitying aspect of the song , but the fact that mab has come up with an original idea , painted a great minds eye picture , and offered a rope of hope in the song , makes the whole self pitying thing irrevelant to me . in regards to the simplicity of the song , i personally believe the more poetic and complicated you make the lyrics , the more it affects the melody / harmony and rhythm of the song , so i think mab has written it the right way

 
     
sandor nevery Joined Jun 08, 2014
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Aug 11, 2016, 09:14 AM

Sandor,

Thank you. But you two are the only people who have ever even mentioned the “self pitying” aspect of the song, which is really not in there from my perspective. If anything it is ENCOURAGING. At least that is how it is taken from most of the people who have heard it and come up to me quoting the lyrics, even from people I have never met. It’s an interesting song in that I wrote it and forgot it for five years. I was writing it with a writer in California who was actually bemoaning the fact that he had not given up law and moved to Nashville like one of his friends did who became a very successful songwriter. It was more to demonstrate that “songwriting is not all fame and glory.”

I resurrected it when a group named Rascal Flatts, came out with a hit on a song title I had for my closing song, “My Wish”. Once a major song comes out with a similar title or framework, it is best to move on to other songs. So I brought that one out in a workshop I was teaching. Four years later a man who TOOK that workshop, came over to my house for dinner and made me play it. Back to back. Twelve times. He remembered parts of the lyrics from only hearing it once four years before.

But is actually about perseverance. Most everyone that has ever performed has “played to tables and chairs” sitting in some club or resturant where everyone has gone home, and wondered why they keep doing it. The reason is because there “might be some magic to wander in” on another day. It is why it has had the effect on salesmen, truckers, bartenders, waitresses, who have claimed it as an anthem for “keeping going against all odds.” I even have people performing the song when I am not there. Recently a group of friends were winding down a writers night here and all began to sing it. When I do it live, it is one of the most requested songs, and people pretty much sing it on all the choruses. Which is interesting because in Nashville, you play for a different group of people almost every time. You always have a different audience because of the transitory nature of the town.

But it does go to show you that different things hit people different ways, and part of the beauty of music, is that anyone can adopt something for their own, or reject it and write their own versions. That’s why there are twelve billion songs a year put out there.

Thanks for the listen Sandor, and the post and thank you Tony for commenting. I do appreciate the comments.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Aug 11, 2016, 09:24 AM

tbh I didn’t really see the self pitying aspect until tony brought it up . I guess when I thought about what tony said , it occurred to me it could have a ‘‘poor me , nobody wants to hear me play’’ angle to it . but I personally like the song and think you wrote it in the right way

 
     
sandor nevery Joined Jun 08, 2014
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Aug 11, 2016, 09:35 AM

That’s pretty funny, because I NEVER saw it either. Was really not even intentioned at all. Because it’s really summed up by the line “Maybe some magic will wander in, if I look deep enough.” So we all see things in things, even when they are not intended. Because it is really about continuing along even when things are dark. “You don’t choose music, music chooses you.” But music is really only a back drop with a deeper meaning about perseverance.

About every few days I have something interesting happening because of that song. Last week a friend of mine who is big on “ranting” on Facebook posted this huge rant about an audience he performed for the night before. They were inattentive, using their cell phones, talking, and really just being rude, which is what most audiences are these days. I sent him a post saying that it did no good to complain and that there would be other audiences that would make up for that one.”

Three days later, he was BACK on Facebook having played an INCREDIBLE audience the night before in Florida. He said they were attentive exhuberant and actually BOUGHT HIS CD. He was totally changed, and now even thinking of moving to that area. He sent me a message privately saying that after he read what I said, he thought of my song, and realized he had to suck it up and keep going. He did and it paid off both emotionally and financially. An interesting thing is that HE is one of the people that PERFORMS the song from time to time.

That truly is what the song is about. If there seems to be a “self pitying” aspect to it, it is very unintentional, and fortunately doesn’t hit more people like that. I guess you see what you want to see.

Thanks again for the comments.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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