10) Tyler

Back in February of 2006, Jefferson Pitcher, J. Matthew Gerken, and I set about writing and recording the original demos for these Presidents songs as part of the February Album Writing Month challenge (www.fawm.org).  We wrote and did demo recordings of 42 songs (all but G.W. Bush) in Februrary–28 days and 42 songs.  Sheesh. 

In any case, as part of that, we wrote little texts to accompany each new song as we got them up on the FAWM website.  I like looking through them now as they seem part of a crazy, crazy time. 

Burr Settles, a fine songwriter in his own right and the FAWM-lord, was kind enough to get me an html backup of all the original texts we wrote, and it includes the comments other songwriters wrote on the demos as we got them up.  I’m including those as well.

10 Tyler (Untitled)

by Christian Kiefer — 2006-02-11 @ 04:06pm (EST) — Alt/Indie, Folk, Rock

How many readers out there can name one significant thing that John Tyler did? Probably very few. I hazard to say none, unless some of your are political science historians. “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” was the campaign slogan of Harrison and John Tyler was “Tyler Too,” Harrison’s V.P. So of course when Harrison died after 30 days in the office, Tyler Too became the President.

Tyler was, in many ways, a great man. He voted and vetoed by his own conscience, not along party lines. As a result, the Whigs that had supported him in office all quit, leaving him essentially without a cabinet. Unfortunately, he also voted along the lines of States Rights, moves that eventually led to the Civil War. A great man, perhaps, but also one who was, in the end, on the wrong side of the coming war.

Incidentally, this song was the most difficult to write yet. I had almost no ideas and the chord structure is so simple as to be somewhat laughable. Maybe it will seem better than it is tomorrow.


  1. The KB EP | 2006-02-11 @ 05:32pm (EST)Hurray for the Air Organ(?). I remember studying John Tyler in my AP History class last year. Tippecanoe is more or less the only thing I remember. A like this combination of organ and tambourine, by the way. And that last closing dichord was everything that I ever wanted. An interesting project, nonetheless. Good work, sir.
  2. Ben J. | 2006-02-11 @ 08:41pm (EST)I like the low-key vibe of the vocal and lyric. Dunno much American history (you guys are teaching me something! 😉 but the tone feels mournful, reluctant and cautious, and this works well. I wasn’t too keen on the repetition on the “they woke me up” section, it seems a redundancy that could be better used to express a further emotion or consequence, but that’s just nit picking.Interesting choice of arrangements too, I’m getting ideas from this as I’d never do anything like that – it’s too easy to fall back on guitar/piano stuff…
  3. Steven Bacon | 2006-02-12 @ 01:40am (EST)nice harmonies, christian! great melody and progression. i like the instrumentation as well. sounds a bit like an accordian or an old breather organ. for me the “oh hell yes” seems a little out of place, but maybe i’m not gettin’ it? but back to the harmonies..terrific!
  4. jeff pitcher | 2006-02-12 @ 02:48pm (EST)personally, i LOVE the oh hell yes line. absolutely brilliant in context, and delivery. the pump organ, as always is just gorgeous. i also like the fact that two people (at least) on this fawm thing have now used the word tippicanoe in a song. the harmonies are wonderful. i like the tamborine too. “break off the bread of virgina” damn that’s good. i like this song a lot. the tremolo works for me.
Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 9:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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