The following videos are not an attempt to capture the songs in their most perfect form. They are merely a vehicle to let people hear some of my work that has never been in the public eye. They are shot using the video setting on my little Canon Powershot and a little Joby tripod. The guitars are either a Martin 000 series or a pretty beat up Johnson JD27. My old Kay banjo may make an appearance or two as well, for better or worse.

That's it. I welcome comments and encourage you to share the music if it strikes you.

All music and lyrics written by Richard Popovic, unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2017 Song #1: Alternative Truths


Well, as you can see, I missed a chunk of time. The reality of two young kids at home all day settled in and my momentum ceased. However, 2017 is a new year, and it is starting off in the most unimaginable fashion, with a completely unqualified charlatan being sworn in as president. But just one day after the inauguration, hope blossomed, to the tune of millions of women worldwide, marching in solidarity. So we will 'Keep on!' in the words of Pete Seeger, and do what we do best to make the world a little bit better in these dark times.

(click through for the lyrics)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Song #11: Cup of Cheer

 
Every year I challenge myself to write a song for Christmas. It is a good exercise, since seemingly everything has been said and every symbol and turn of phrase has been done and done and done. It's not easy to come up with something fresh and new. But I always give it a shot, to mixed results.
Here is this year's attempt. It celebrates the neighborhood in the Bronx known as Woodlawn, an Irish section where Shilelagh Law plays often. It is written from the viewpoint of a fairly recent arrival who finds his new home full of life and promise.
I mention two Woodlawn institutions: The Rambling House, a bar and restaurant that acts as Shilelagh Law's home base, and The Chipper Truck, which can be found parked right nearby to serve the needs of all of us folks who just have to have curry chips at 3:30 in the morning. Check them both out if you are ever in the neighborhood.

(click through for lyrics)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Song #10: Always Be Home To Me


This is probably one of the oldest songs that will end up as part of this project. It is about my love for Yonkers, NY. I wrote it after being away for awhile, out on the west coast. I hate to be so cliche but I did not really know how much I loved my hometown until I was thousands of miles away. Growing up in tight knit neighborhoods, still hanging out with friends I made in first grade, being close to NYC but far enough away to be able to live in a big old house with a backyard, and just a general blue-collar ethos that seemed to bind everything together. These things, and so many more, made it an amazing place to grow up and call home, a fact I only realized in hindsight. Now, having made my home in a very different place, where I am raising two children, I cannot help but compare how differently my kids will grow up. In many ways, it is a change I am happy with. After all, my wife and I chose to build a house and a life here. But when I look back, through a pair of admittedly rose-colored glasses that get rosier every year, I find it hard not to lament that there are certain aspects of my youth, really positive and formative ones, that my kids will never experience. And I guess that is why, no matter where I live, in some small way, Yonkers NY will always be home to me.

(click through for lyrics)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Song #9: La Da Day

Tomorrow is me and the missus' 10th anniversary. Tin is the appropriate gift, traditionally. I do not know what that says about this song, but at any rate it is a short and sweet celebration of our ten years of marriage. I could not imagine my life without her.

This idea came from, of all places, the strings of a ukelele. I personally could not stand the uke fad that swept indie music a few years ago and swore I would never get one. But they are a perfect size for a toddler to play on, and when I came across an old Harmony at a tag sale for $35, I could not pass it up. Smart move. Turns out it is a baritone ukelele, made in the USA, 1950's, all mahogany. Once I put new strings on it, the sound was really appealing. Plus, being a baritone, the chords are the same as guitar, so I was off and running immediately. So much for the toddler's toy, she will have to make due with the shitty made in Korea mandolin gathering dust in the corner.

But I digress. This song arose from a couple of plucked chords on that little uke. Initially, the 'fi diddle do, la da day' stuff was filler, but strangely enough it morphed into the anchor point of the song, moving it forward and tying it all together. The subject of the lyrics is a snapshot of our life, and a reflection on how quickly it goes by, but how we manage to gain a little wisdom along the way.

Two things about this song structurally: under three minutes, and no chorus. Both of these attributes are such a rarity for me that to see them pop up in the same song is very bizarre. But I feel like everything I wanted to say was captured just right. Adding anything else would have lessened it.

(click through for lyrics)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Song #8: Whiskey and Wood Smoke


This one started like many of mine do, from one line, the first one--'The last time that we spoke, it was a haze of whiskey and wood smoke'. I built it up from there. Originally it was part of a chorus, but eventually it turned into the song's opening. I liked it so much I repeated it at the end, which sometimes makes a song better, but more often than not it doesn't. This time I feel like I got away with it.

As far as who it is about, I really don't know. One advantage to writing songs at (almost) forty years old is that there is a deep well of experience to draw upon. That is one reason why I feel my songs now are way better than the ones I wrote when I was eighteen. That and the fact I stopped writing seven minute ballads about King Arthur and The Hobbit.

(click through for lyrics)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Song #7: None At All


Summer has arrived big time, with triple-digit temperatures and lots of mornings sitting on the deck with the kids, spraying them with a hose and eating ice pops. This year at our place there is the added bonus of blueberries. I planted ten mature bushes a few years ago and the effort has finally paid off. The blueberries are fresh, delicious and plentiful. And whenever I am picking blueberries, I always think of this song.

The intro lines are pretty classic ones used in many traditional American songs over the years, using the change of seasons to compare two different objects. The main character is sort of the loveable rogue type, who often finds himself on the losing end of a deal but still manages to pull through with a smile. And the tuning is open G, one of my favorites for its warm inviting sound. By sticking with simple themes and simple chords, tied to a easily remembered melody, I hope I caught some of the old-timey music feel I love so much.

(click through for lyrics)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Song #6: Little Tumbleweed

 
Here is a short but sweet one that I wrote for my daughter. Before she learned to walk or even crawl yet, she was a champion roller. She would roll across the length of a twenty-foot long room without blinking an eye. She was actually late to the crawling game because she could get where she wanted by rolling, and pretty much almost skipped crawling altogether and went from rolling to walking. It was a comical and impressive spectacle.

Her rolling days are behind her but her baby brother is just starting to get into the act. Who knows if he will be as skilled as his sister in the rolling arts, but if nothing else he gives me a reason to sing this soft little song again. And if you listen close, you can hear him adding his vocal stylings from off-camera. The kid is a natural.

(click through for lyrics)