American Dream – About The Song

image An old yellow note read government repo
Just a sign of the times since the factory closed down
The windows are dark, lonely, broken, and boarded
I see a half-dozen more just a half-a-block down

 

I wrote that initial idea on a yellow pad of paper back in 1999 or 2000. The pad of paper was ultimately lost and the song idea sat dormant until 2006 when I finally decided to write a middle-of-America song about pursuing the façade of success at the cost of true success.

While I often joke that my songs are “autobiographical but not necessarily true” – this song may be as true in this regard as anything.

I recorded this song as a completely acoustic piece starting in 2008. In 2009, while recording Girls, Songs, and Other Delusions, I recorded the song on electric guitar with some backing drums.

I liked both versions and decided to combine the two – starting the song acoustically and layering some acoustic lead work over the intro verse and chorus.

To transition the song, I recorded some feedback – put it on its own track – and pretended I was gearing my band up with a shout of “1-2-3”.

Later, Bill Dutcher came over and recorded some additional electric guitar and slide-dobro. I am pretty happy with how it turned out and the parable lesson of the song. . .

AMERICAN DREAM
[audio:sag/AmericanDream.mp3]
Copyright © 2009 – Matthew Moran (Sea Gypsy Music)

An old yellow note read government repo
Just a sign of the times since the factory left town
The windows are dark, lonely, broken and boarded
I see a half-dozen more just a half a block down

And I can recall the tears on Mama’s face
When daddy handed her the key
Just three rooms and a garden out back
But it was called the American Dream

I’ve spent half my life chasin’ prey so elusive
My burning desire is this dream to be free
From East coast to West, through the soul of the heartland
Tho’ I’m in pursuit I know it’s chasing me

And I’ve seen the look in the older men’s eyes
They shake their heads in disbelief
Son, they say, don’t miss the life that you’re living
Cuz that’s the American Dream

For 20 long years I’ve been seeking asylum
My dream just a prison, my ambition a chain
Through my sacrifice I pass you this lesson
To save you this sorrow, to save you this pain

It’s love that you need to live for a life that is worth livin’
Don’t trade it for some vagabond dream
It’s a heart not a purse that you should be filling
Cuz that’s the American Dream

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