cowboy. it’s a song. our song. a simple aR song. that started out quite differently – it was the end that was different initially specifically. and it took some work, workshopping, e.g. performing a song live even though you’re not quite sure about it yet just to see how it feels, how it flows, how it resonates, how it grows. ces made maybe 8 different beats. for serious. pullin samples from one western film score (my fav, the magnificent seven) upon many requests from me… and not a single one worked in the end but props to ces for tryin (in the passenger seat of our rideshare to montreal for a gig as our trusty driver stephan speeds on the highway while talkin on his cell.)
the first two lines came laughably easily (on the porch of ces’ parents house in streetsville) and over time i had 5 verses (cowboy, badman, politician, cop and bully) all longer. now there’s 3 (cowboy, cop and bully,) more condensed and bully repeated (in a growl-ier way, so it’s important still, you know?) most importantly, the last verse ended differently. it was out of this super awkward harsh ending that ‘without girls, there’d be no world’ grew – as a replacement in fact for a line that spoke to a devastating playground reality (which included a threat and the word faggot) this line didn’t allow for the broader truth (but does speak to the kind of violence/oppression that is at the root of young queer folks committing suicide; some make the news, but most don’t) – and i was so relieved to receive a replacement from the universe (ces and i sat at a desk, staring at paper, mumbling to ourselves for some time before the line popped; i sang it once, then again differently and ces said, “no! sing it like before!”) the result is the song you know today that opens and closes with a sing along kinda line that sticks in peoples’ heads because it is simple and true (and rhymes) : without girls, there’d be no world.
it’s this broader truth that calls us to action, that makes us feel compelled to care, inspired to share and supported to heal.
so we’re truly grateful for the process. and the kind patience of all those folks who heard cowboy in its growing stages – thank you. the ugly duckling is now a swan and she’s stunning.
because now, cowboy is the tune folks call us up for; we recently played a YMCA ‘imagine a week without violence’ event where in we were requested to close with cowboy. similarly, tomorrow night, we feel so blessed to have been asked to participate in toronto’s 30th annual take back the night. the fact that the song is recognized by folks in the community working to support women and raise awareness around oppression of women and girls is absolutely huge for us in a big way; in a sincerely tear jerking kind of way. it means a lot that folks hear the song, and not only do they remember it, but feel empowered by it, uplifted, vindicated, present. and that they want us to play it in spaces where the singing and singing along to the song are significant, symbolic and in support of women and girls everywhere. we feel really blessed for this. so thank you.
7pm, yonge and dundas square, friday oct 22nd – join us xoxo aR