1. Make This Day

From the recording The Old Man and the C Chord

This song is mostly based on a conversation I had with my grandfather (Art Church Sr.) when I was in my mid-twenties. I was going through a rough patch. I found myself waking up most mornings, flooded with negative thoughts, which were paralyzing, depressing, and which set the tone of my days with a feeling of hopelessness. During one of our long rambling talks, I was able to confide in my grandfather about what I was going through.

He listened, and then told me that he’d dealt with the same thing, on and off, his whole life. He said that although he never stopped having the experience, he’d learned that if he could make himself get out of bed at the first sign of trouble, he could often get in front of the problem. For him, lying in bed wasn’t a good venue for self-reflection. It physically made him feel helpless and left him unable to sort through and deal with his thoughts. The act of getting up seemed to empower him enough to cope most days. I believe the way he summed it up was something like “At the first sign of trouble, I drag my ass out of bed, and make friends with the day”.

Although it might seem like a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” solution for what is a very nuanced problem, sometimes the best solutions are simpler than we imagine. In any case, his lesson has served me well over the years, and also made me think about some of the emotional legacies that get passed along in families.


I woke up scared just for being alive
told myself it would be alright
I didn’t believe a word I said
just went back inside my head
half a mile felt like a world away
all up hill on a rainy day
no time for the things to do
the debts are many, but the dollars few
I remembered what my old man said
he said “when that black cloud gets in my head
that’s when I’ve got to rise and shine
and try to make the day a friend of mine”

I’m gonna make this day a friend of mine
be alive while I do my time
without that, there ain’t nothing left
it’s a rocky road, but I’ll get there yet
It’s day by day, and step by step
you never know how many you’ve got left
they won’t always start out fine
I try to make this day a friend of mine

He said “I’ve got something to tell you son
and I know it’s easier said than done
it’s lessons learned the hard, hard way
hit and miss, day to day
but you ought to know that it’s in your blood
I would have kept it if I could
from them to me from me to you
the family tree’s been painted blue
but when my sun sinks in the west
I hope you’ll know that I did my best
I may have been the lonesome kind
but I tried like hell to make it shine”