"Eleanor Means Light" from Three EP
I recently released my first self-produced EP! You may have noticed the heading on this website has been, "words + waves // stories + songs," indicating some combination of written word and song, with a reference to surfing because I love it (and I used to write about it all the time). In keeping with that theme, I wanted to share the stories and lyrics of each song on this EP. Here is the first one for "Eleanor Means Light."
Being a father and a songwriter, there is a certain expectation (even if self-induced) to write songs for your kids. You bring the mind the great ones, like "Isn't She Lovely?," "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)", or one of my favorites, "A Father's First Spring," by the Avett Brothers. When Ellie was a baby, I had started a song that would eventually become, "Let It Go Lullaby," but was having some trouble finishing it. Sure enough, before finishing what I thought would be the first song I'd ever write about one of my kids, I remember playing with Ellie on the floor of her bedroom one day when this other song just hit me. I wrote it out quickly, sky to pen to page in minutes. The guitar came too and there it was: the first song for Eleanor.
I think this one is cool because it's written in a key I don't often sing in (G), and I love that little walk-up from the Em to the G that gives the song its rhythm. More interestingly, I love that "Eleanor Means Light" doesn't really have a chorus, but rather a guitar refrain that carries a unique rhythm in the way it jumps between chords. In recording it, I knew I wanted some kind of lead instrument overtop this section, which is where those beachy chords that slide down the neck of the guitar came from. I also love the little piano accents that lightly carry us from chorus to verse, as well as that guitar solo, which took quite a while to nail down.
Lyrically, it's an encouragement for Ellie (and anyone, really) to shine the light inside them wherever and whenever they can, because the world can be a dark place and we need all the light we can get! It's somewhat of a downer in that it says things like, "This world is harsh, unstable, and joy is hard to find," but I like the balance of reality and hope, knowing the world isn't perfect, but also understanding that God has placed within us a bright light that is designed to lift up others.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
Eleanor means, "bright, shining one," and was something we picked on purpose when she was born. This song is a great reminder of who she is, and what she means to us and the world around her.