“Valley of Death”

Inspired by Death Valley National Park, January 2016

I was a little surprised how much I enjoyed Death Valley National Park. I was taking advantage of being relatively nearby in Las Vegas for CES with a free weekend and didn’t really know much about it going in.


Demos

01/20/2016

I recorded this initial demo with very little instrumentation. Before recording I kind of imagined some simple guitar work over this but we’ll see. The “Oh dawn” lines weren’t in the original lyrics from the hike but I felt like I needed something with a different feeling in those spots and they just came out naturally when I was recording.


Lyrics

As I walk through the valley of death
I think about my life
All the times I’ve let the worst take hold of me

All the struggle and all the strife
And the times that I could see
Disappointment in the eyes of my love

But why does the dark take hold
When I slow down and I can breathe
Why must I trouble my weary mind with these

Carefully chosen sins
That only now I can clearly see
Even though there’s a lot that’s not cruel inside of me

Oh dawn, rise on
I’ll keep walking
‘Til I’m gone, ’til I’m gone, ’til I’m gone

A little lizard paused and looked at me
We both stood silent, still and free
Of the troubles, the trials, & worries of the day

The lizard didn’t say a word
But I listened to hear her say
Chin up, enjoy this special desert day

Oh dawn, rise on
I’ll keep walking
‘Til I’m gone, ’til I’m gone, ’til I’m gone

So I’m walking in the valley of life
Thinking of how I will say
I love you and should have never went away

Love please come back to me
Forgive my sins today
In the past and the future let the good times lead the way

Oh dawn, rise on
I’ll keep walking
‘Til I’m gone, ’til I’m gone, ’til I’m gone


Field Recordings

01/09/2016

I was hiking along the Golden Canyon trail when I first started thinking of a melody for “Valley of Death”. It started as one line and some whistling.

As I continued that hike I started writing additional lyrics.

Valley of Death 01 [1:30]

Valley of Death 02 [1:40]

Valley of Death 03 [1:28]

I knew generally where I wanted the song to go but I was a little stuck after this part. I was resting for a moment and I saw a lizard run under a rock which was a rare sign of life in this area.

Valley of Death 04 [2:43]

I realized that I wanted the “clap” on the third beat but I was having trouble hiking, clapping, and remembering the new lyrics all at once (05) so I also made just a tempo/rhythm reference (06) but at the beginning it was in my pocket and that didn’t work so well.

Valley of Death 05 [2:06]

Valley of Death 06 [1:03]

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