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Original Music & Lyrics

by R Heil last modified Apr 13, 2021 09:32 AM

Piano playing


I periodically write music and lyrics on behalf of a project (the feature film Another Yesterday, the play Jason & Medea: What Really Happened, and the community relations video So Much That We Share).  The following is a five-song sampler.  Except for the Rodriguez-Nelson version of "Another Yesterday," all were recorded, mixed, and mastered by Tom Washatka at Steel Moon Recording in Oshkosh.


"Another Yesterday" (original demo with Janet Planet & Tom Theabo)

Whether it’s love or just platonic, most of us have the good fortune to experience at least one transformative relationship in life — the kind that helps us withstand all sorts of adversity.  Yet through circumstance or misunderstanding, that wonderful bond can be dissolved and the relationship can end — and dissolution always leaves a void.  Tom Theabo did the beautiful arrangement and plays guitar; the peerless Janet Planet sings.  As always, Tom Washatka (who incidentally, also plays a torrid sax), made sure the recording was A+ prime.  Winner of Best Original Song for a Film at the following festivals:  American Tracks Music Awards International Contest, Festigious International Film Festival Los Angeles, and Queen Palm International Film Festival.  Along with Asuka Ito's score, it also won the Award of Exceptional Merit in the Music/Songwriting category at CineMagic Film Fest.


"Another Yesterday" (sung a cappella by actress Lucía Rodriguez-Nelson)

Fragments of this song are sung a cappella throughout the film by Elizabeth — the character played by the gifted actress Lucía Rodriguez-Nelson — and the hero grows increasingly curious as to why she sings it.  Nate Edwards recorded, mixed, and mastered this beautiful version at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh's Music Dept. recording studio. 


“Remember Me”

This song has been informed by research conducted by Classical scholar Sarah Iles Johnston (Ohio State University) on ancient Greek burial practices.  It’s included here because I like how it taps into the universal need to be loved and remembered.  Guitarist Tom Theabo surpasses himself with the outstanding arrangement, Janet Planet provides the haunting interpretation (figuratively and literally), James Leferve plays drums, and John Gibson mans the bass.  The guy speaking the clueless husband’s part reputedly taught scriptwriting.




Both the music and the lyrics of this rocker seek to capture that sense of feeling overwhelmed when we lose control of our lives.  Woody Mankowski and Janet Planet exchange verses and then unite for powerhouse harmonies near the end.  Arranger Tom Theabo plays that pile-driving guitar, Charles Ledvina is on bass, while Ryan Korb drums.  The song won an award in the Jazz/New Age/Popular Category of the Composers Guild Annual Composition Contest.


“Stumbling Down”

This bluesy song is about failure — an outcome in life none of us can ever avoid completely.  Woody Mankowski’s character surrenders to it emotionally; Janet Planet’s character takes it in stride rationally.  But as always, emotion trumps reason.  Tom Theabo arranged while contributing the marvelous swampy guitar, Charles Levina plays bass, and Ryan Korb is on drums.  The song received a Certificate of Achievement at the Unisong International Song Contest.


“Creusa’s Soliloquy”

This song weighs a dilemma most of us grapple with:  acting on behalf of others versus acting for ourselves.  Pianist John Harmon’s tour de force arrangement runs the gamut from classical to bluesy jazz, and vocalist Janet Planet delivers my all-time favorite vocal (her interpretation of the final verse is heart-wrenching).  The song received a Certificate of Achievement at the Unisong International Song Contest.

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by R Heil last modified Apr 13, 2021 09:32 AM