Writing Considerations: The Promise

This song started its life as a request for a wedding song for my niece Kristen. She wanted something personal for us to play for the ceremony. The request, as I recall it, came about six weeks out – plenty of time to write a song. My brother Craig and I were on the case.


Six weeks… “Hey, we should get together and write that song”.

“Yes, we should”

Four weeks… “About that song…”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m working on it.”

Two weeks… “What do you think about that song?”

One week… “Hey bro, I went ahead and wrote some lyrics, what do you…”

“I already wrote the lyrics”

“Um… Ok”

The night before the wedding…


It turns out that the lyrics were “mostly written”, and the chord progression needed some work. Craig and I head for the garage and start working. A few hours later… we have Kristen come in and listen, and she liked it. (Thank goodness – can you imagine if she hadn’t?)


“We’re on”. OK – now we just need to practice this sucker a few more hours so we’re ready to go in the ceremony.

Other than some rain, the wedding and the song went on without a hitch. The lyrics have a great theme, with biblical influences, for example, when you think about a “chord of three strands” [Ecclesiastes 4:12]. (Lyrics below).

In the performance, the chords are arpeggiated, and the song played slowly and gracefully, as befitting a wedding ceremony.


But I wasn’t done yet. I really liked this song. But I liked it as an up-tempo number – more rock/pop influenced. The song itself is simple, a four-chord wonder. For the introduction, I kept it how we originally played it… but then once we go through that progression twice, its time to kick up the tempo and the energy.


For the production I laid down one of my all-time favorite bass lines. It really moves (and is quite challenging to play – especially for recording when every note must be perfect). When it came time to come up with a lead guitar part for the breaks, I started with a theme that complemented the melody line (always a solid strategy), and for the most part, tried to keep it simple.


In terms of recording, it is quite sparse: drums, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, some lead guitar, and vocals – that’s it. When it comes to production, I am always fighting the mental battle of “How far do I go? How many tracks?” On this one I definitely erred on a minimalist approach – and for this song it works.


The Promise (Listen on YouTube)

C Dm

They say, we’re too young to know the difference

F G

Between love, and just a game

C Dm

They say, we won’t know where the pieces will all fall

F G

And whose to blame

C Dm F G

But I know, in this moment, when I look, into your eyes

C Dm F G

That I see forever, I see no, compromise

C Gmaj

And I promise to cherish


Promise to hold

Fmaj C

Promise to love you ‘til we both grow old

C Gmaj

Love you tomorrow, more than today

Fmaj C

Knowing this promise, never fades


C Dm

We know, that a cord of three strands

F G

Can’t be undone

C Dm

And we know, two broken hearts,

F G

Now, become one

C Dm F G

And I know, in this moment, when I look, into your eyes

C Dm F G

That I see forever, I see no, compromise

C Gmaj

And I promise to cherish


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