14) Pierce

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.

14 Pierce (My Only Enemy Is Myself)

by j matthew gerken — 2006-02-21 @ 12:06pm (EST) — Alt/Indie, Country, Folk

This song makes ambiguous reference to several elements of Franklin Pierce’s life, including his role in the Mexican War and his defeat of his commanding officer in the presidential election; his alcoholism; his religious convictions, which at that time did not require one to know or understand less of the world (in fact, the church was a major force in liberal and advanced education in those times — this is largely in contrast to today, of course); the death of his child and children around him; the nature of historical writing and the shortfalls thereof for this time in history; and, Pierce’s avoiding prosecution in a horse trampling case. I told Josh Schramm last night that I think I wrote a totally straightforward minor country song. He wondered what that sounded like to my ears. I truly do not believe I can make clear judgments about my own writing anymore. I am not convinced that is a bad thing. But I digress…


  1. Eric Distad | 2006-02-21 @ 05:50pm (EST)I’m not sure this is quite a straightforward minor country song… it’s too complex for that… and that’s a good thing. The wandering melody and, to some degree, progression bring out a certain Pathos (if that’s the right word)I dig it! Excellent work!
  2. friendof | 2006-02-21 @ 11:32pm (EST)You president people are all amazing. I’m impressed by the lyrics alone. But the melody and delivery are also fantastic. Your voice has a really deep sexy vulnerability. I love the harmonies. Really amazing. 🙂 Now I am off to listen to more of yours. 🙂
  3. jroberts | 2006-02-22 @ 12:21pm (EST)This is Gerken-straight-forward for sure. Cool song.
Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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