Light (O, Let Your Light Shine Bright)

from by LILLI LEWIS @folkrockdiva

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about

This song was a spontaneous download that occurred during a coaching session with one of the most important humans of my life, Paul King-Robinson. I honestly can't remember what material he and I were chiseling away at during that session, I just remember sitting in my big red chair listening to his voice (we do distance sessions, as he's based in Boulder, CO) and my head going a little numb...I got this slightly feverish sensation and I just told him I needed to end my session early.

When we got off the phone, I went to the piano and tried to play the handful of notes that were showing up in my inner ear. The melody and lyric are almost fully intact, although it evolved slightly over time...It was the chords that were slightly elusive, because the use of the ii chord was a little irregular, and the song kept telling me "keep it simple! keep it simple!" But eventually it made it's way out, and I knew it was probably the only real love song I've ever written for Liz. I've written some fantasy projection songs about her being "the one" and everything ("Credo in Unam" for Sleepers Wake for example), but I hadn't written anything about our relationship as it had matured of the years.

See, we were beginning our 2nd decade of being together and as it turns out, we were really struggling for connection. To me, it looked like she was really struggling with knowing herself, and had strangely checked out of our relationship altogether. To make things a little more complicated, she was easily triggered and was poised to feel manipulated and pressured at any talk of what was going on between us. We were struggling with intimacy, and I personally was confronting my early childhood trauma for the first time in my life.

It was a painful time. I felt very much alone, and that led me down dark turns that even led to infidelity, but in the context of all that, I found out how devoted I was to her, how much she was perfect for my growth as a human, and how much I valued the gentleness that characterized how we were with each other. I found out that my one wish for her was for her to forget about everyone's expectations of her, for her to "land" within herself and to just shine whatever light she was able to find there. I realized I didn't need her to show me love back if she felt pressured by my hopes and affection for her. Sometimes, we really have to go within, and even loving feedback is too much....I learned that I was going to go on loving her to the best of my ability, and hoped that she, to the bet of her ability, could just share with me what it was that she felt she needed.

I needed the song to be gentle enough to keep me centered around the simplicity I wanted to cultivate in my marriage, so we could dispel some of the patterns and triggers we were looping for each other. It took a few years of patience, but I think we achieved what we were looking for, and in the meantime, the song seemed to really strike a chord with people as they encountered it. It was even covered by one of my heros in song and spirit, Gina Forsyth and her group The Malvinas for an upcoming release. It meant so much to me that this song, that demanded so much simplicity from me, this song that became my mediation for valuing the basic goodness embedded in simple, vulnerable authenticity, seemed to to resonate with people in ways that most of my songs just can't.

I guess I wasn't alone after all.

lyrics

PEOPLE TELL YOU WHAT THEY WANT, WHAT THEY WANT
AND PEOPLE TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED, WHAT YOU NEED
AND THE WAY THEY SAY TO YOU WHAT YOU WANT, WHAT THEY NEED
IS SUPPOSED TO SOMEHOW SAY WHO YOU OUGHT TO BE

IF I TOLD YOU WHAT I WANT, WHAT I WANT
O, WOULD YOU RUN AWAY FROM ME, FROM ME?
AND WOULD I LET THAT CHANGE WHAT I SEE, WHAT I SEE
IF YOU RAN AWAY FROM ME?

O, LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT FOR A MOMENT
JUST LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT FOR A MOMENT WITH ME
O, LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT FOR A MOMENT
IF YOU JUST LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT

I WILL TELL YOU WHAT I WANT, WHAT I WANT
AND I WILL LET YOU SAY WHAT YOU NEED, WHAT YOU NEED
TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY
WOULD YOU TELL ME WHAT YOU NEED?

O, LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT FOR A MOMENT
JUST LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT FOR A MOMENT WITH ME
O, LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT FOR A MOMENT
IF YOU JUST LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT

credits

from ORANGE MUSIC, VOLUMES I & II, released January 15, 2017
Liz Hogan / Joy Clark, guitar
David Alan Craig, bass
Wade Hymel, drums / percussion

Recorded by TJ Barends at Baresounds in Ponchatoula, LA

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about

LILLI LEWIS @folkrockdiva New Orleans, Louisiana

Lilli Lewis bears a progressive, provocative, and conscientious presence paired with a love for music that began before she composed her first song on the piano at age three, Lewis is a modern day Renaissance woman, who, when in full gear, conjures the likes of Big Mama Thornton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Odetta, and Janis Joplin. ... more

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