11) Polk

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.

11 Polk (Might Have Been Cuckoo, Too)

by j matthew gerken — 2006-02-19 @ 10:22pm (EST) — Alt/Indie, Folk, Rock

James Polk graduated from one of my alma maters, the University of North Carolina. This song imagines the world through his eyes and considers territorial expansion alongside a narrowing of social perspective in the White House. Polk’s wife, out of religous fanatacism akin to present day evangalist Christians, banned drinking, playing pool, playing cards, and dancing from the White House, among other things. We imagine Polk getting a broader view of the world through his presidency and beginning to question his wife and previous religious leanings. This one is probably (like most of my songs) difficult to exactly literally understand and interpret, but this is intentional. I admire great lyricists and lyrics. I don’t like to write lyrics that specifically mean one thing, though. I hope that’s ok. I’m really in it for the music anyway.


  1. Josh Schramm | 2006-02-20 @ 01:50pm (EST)This is a different sound for you. I like the chord changes and the unified beats a lot. Yeah I really like the minor chord sound. Some organ might sound good here too. I think this is my favorite of yours so far.
  2. friendof | 2006-02-21 @ 11:43pm (EST)All your songs are depressing… hehe, there has to be some good things to being the President. ;)I like beat behind this… it gives it a really velocity that goes with the natural build of the song. Nice work.
Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 9:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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