As you know, almost all of the songs we write tell stories. We want to share those stories with you. Just as we did for the songs on our first CD 13, we’ll post the story behind each song on our new CD Again here for you to read. The plan is to feature one song each week for the next 11 weeks.
Here is the story behind Again as related by Allen Kitselman.
The song “Again”
Again is a song about death. No way around that one. I have a few of them. It’s about loss, mourning, continuance, and hope. A few years back I was struggling with the loss of two friends. I was having a tough time finding the way to process the losses and turned to song writing to try and make sense of the way I was feeling. Both people had been friends since childhood and their passing hit me hard, forcing me to look closely at the trajectory of life.
The first friend fought a long, valiant battle with cancer and finally left on her own terms. The preparation afforded by her struggle didn’t help numb the pain of the loss in the end, but her fight and control over the process inspired me. I happened to be in the city where she lived a few months before she passed and asked if I could come see her. I had lunch with her husband and daughter and he told me she was too weak for a visit. I wrote her a note for him to carry telling her how much I cared for her and closed by saying, “until we are together again.” The first verse is her story and the chorus came from the idea that perhaps no good-bye is forever.
The second friend was taken from us one night in a flash. The phone call we received the next morning was like a blow, especially to my wife, who cherished him. It was such a tragic shock that took our lives to a stop like an explosion. This friend was a very funny, entertaining and loving man. He could easily make us all laugh until we couldn’t breathe. He called me early on the morning I got married from Alaska where he was living just to say, you are sure? And treat her right, I’m taking notes. It was funny but it conveyed how much he cared for my wife, and me. It was always a treat to spend time with him.
As I was trying to finish this song I happened to talk on the phone to my old songwriting buddy, Bob Bradley in Nashville. I told him about the song. He recited me a quote from Washington Irving, “There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” I borrowed from this to make the last verse which attempts to capture how I have tried to deal with the passing of these beloved friends. The chords chosen for the words “until we’re together again” resolve from a dissonant to a major to convey musically the idea that even through the pain of loss we find a way to continue with these people in our hearts as we live our lives.