a musician, songwriter, and performer based near Chicago

Something New 2:54
a song about the dangers of Digital Marketing
Be Here Now 04:06
a song co-written with Matt Stankiewicz
Standing in Line 04:38
Is it better to dump or be dumped?

Here’s an old song called “Intentional” that I co-wrote with Trey Krueger back in 2001. This was written during my time living in northern California.

Meet Trey Krueger

I got to know Trey while hanging out at the Streets of London pub. We would sit outside on the picnic benches when the weather allowed, chatting about music and sports while lamenting our luck with the ladies as gents are wont to do. He also had a wealth of knowledge about American history and politics but I had limited interest in those topics.

At some point, this stranger at the bar turned into someone I looked forward to meeting as we talked about our developing musical goals and exchanged talk of musical heroes.

I don’t remember for sure but I’m vaguely recalling his interest in the Smiths, Morrissey and Joy Division-type stuff. He also hipped me to John Wesley Harding‘s music, which I still love.

He was a singer with a dramatic and emotive delivery, true to his influences. He also had a book full of lyrics, heavy on symbols and suffering. Since I tend to write pretty straightforward lyrics and I was big into comedy music at the time, I found his sincerity appealing. We sat down one night at my place to put some of those lyrics to music.

The Lyrics

The lyrics came entirely from Trey. All I can recall asking for was some repetition to ground the song with a refrain.

I don’t recall Trey’s story for the lyric but the words suggest to me a volatile exchange as a relationship comes to an end. I enjoy the lyric to this day because I can identify with the feeling of confusion and sadness. You’re trying to do the right thing but you’re not sure you can or will. Then, things get messy and it gets worse.

The Music

As I recall, I wrote the chords. It’s basically a Cmaj7 – Fmaj7 vamp for the verses and a little 8 – 7 – 6 walk down for the refrain with a big ending on the 5.

Originally written on an acoustic guitar, I had a very simple strum thing at first. As I moved back to Chicago and kept playing it, I made it a pretty intricate arpeggio thing with a pull off the high C to hit that maj7 note and the same thing on the F to hit that E. I think I felt self conscious about the simplicity of the chords so I wanted to make it seem more impressive with some fancy fingerpicking.

The melody was kind of there from Trey singing it a Capella but I remember guiding some of the rising for the second and third verses. I do have a mp3 version of him singing it somewhere but I can’t find it.

The Result

The reaction when I’ve performed this is usually lukewarm. It’s pretty long, the lyrics are a bit vague and don’t advance a narrative. By the end, I can feel the audience looking for a payoff or an ending, which makes me want to speed up to get through it.

It could have been a time and place situation, though. There may be an audience waiting for this song that I didn’t get in front of. I still like it, even if I’m not exactly sure what it’s about.

The Tab

Making small important talk
as the even tide rolled in
Splayed across the sidewalk
makes us see how long it’s been

cast iron smiles and bits of humor
can’t remove the thorny rumor
making small important talk
as the even tide rolled in…

And they say it’s not intentional
But things never really are
Pushing luck at people
F F/E Dm7
Makes me wonder just how far
F F/E Dm7
Makes me wonder just how far
F F/E G
Makes me wonder just how far

Now the chatter starts to wonder
Conspicuously from you and I
The heart has not grown fonder
So we both refuse to try
To pinpoint what it is we’ve lost
And by losing it, incurred what cost
Can either of us pay it?
Do we even want to try?

And they say it’s not intentional
But things never really are
Pushing luck at people
Makes me wonder just how far
Makes me wonder just how far
Makes me wonder just how far

Solo

I’m told speaking with candor
is the style that’s preferred
but our slippage into slander
makes candor seem absurd

And friends pile on the saccharine
In huge and leaping mounds
But still they are not large enough
To muffle hurtful sounds

And they say it’s not intentional
But things never really are
Pushing luck at people
Makes me wonder just how far
Makes me wonder just how far
Makes me wonder just how far

A few weeks ago, I video recorded myself playing a few songs on piano, including Rocky Top with piano and my solo voice. The family was away at a camping trip and I stayed home to catch up on work and get a mental rest. There was a weekend overlap with their trip, so I chose to use that time for some creative low pressure music stuff like this.

The goal was to look through a book of music, find something I haven’t played in a long while, and run through it. I wanted to see and hear how I handled the mental test of processing info on the page and translating that into music from my hands and voice. In the video, you’ll notice plenty of pauses as I think about melody and piano chords but I’m satisfied with how I did. I think my big nitpicks would be that I tend to get creative in a too repetitive way with the melody. You can take certain liberties with melodic hooks on covers but the moment you’ve repeated that creative alteration 3 times, you’re kind of hammering the listener over the head with it.

There wasn’t any big reason I picked this song, other than I flipped to it in the book after I vetoed “Daydream Believer”. Plus, I’ve always tended to float into higher singing registers and this song by the Osborne Brothers is usually sung pretty high.

In hindsight though, I am pretty interested in Tennessee in general. I went to Nashville for the second time late in 2016 and was super impressed with the food, the music and the hospitality.

Video

Anyway, here’s the video.

Don’t mind the Los Pollos Hermanos T-shirt. I was in pajamas in the acoustic music room.

Hamilton Camp as a musician
Performer and writer Hamilton Camp. (courtesy of setcelebs.com)
I first came across “People in a Hurry” by Hamilton Camp on Slacker radio. I was probably listening to some crusty old folkie like Phil Ochs, Dave Van Ronk or even the big kahuna (Bob Dylan) when Slacker threw this cryptic little ditty my way. This was probably around 2007, because it coincides with the heyday of digitally downloaded music. This was the second mp3 song I bought (after Steve Goodman’s “Videotape”) on iTunes.

Welcome to Hamilton Camp LP sleeve
courtesy of hamiltoncamp.com
I always liked the song and felt like it should get some more recognition. The lyrics to me suggest an awareness of people wasting their lives saying and doing things of little consequence. Of course, the interpretation of consequence is the part that makes it interesting. Is political activism (anti-war, civil liberties, or otherwise) a respectable use of your days? Is the creation of art, for that matter, a good use of your time? Or, would we all be better off if our time was spent less on thinking and talking about existence and more on building things and pushing science to its limits? To that, I do not know.

What I do know is I like to hear this song and I wanted to share it when I play, so I wrote up the chart and the lyrics. I’ve shared them below if you’d also like to learn to play it. If you do, please share a link to a video or audio of your performance in the comments here. Would be great to see it someday.

Miles

The Chords

The chart is pretty straightforward but lacks a chorus. It’s more of a strophic verse thing with a slight variation for the intro.

Intro

C | Em | Am | F G |

chord chart


C | Em | Am | G |
F | Em Am | F | G |
F | Em | Am | C |
F | Em | F | Em |

Lyrics and chords

C Em
People in a hurry
Am G
Going nowhere in a hurry
F Em Am
Talking on of this and that
F G
Having nothing much to say

F Em
Smiling smiles that have no meaning
Am C
Outward laughing inward screaming
F Em
Devil take the one behind
F Em
And damn the one who's in my way

============
C Em
Give our children education
Am G
And we'll build a mighty nation
F Em Am
Teach them war and competition
F G
Pride of nation, race and kin

F Em
Dollars are the only measure
Am C
Dull the heart with empty pleasure
F Em
Fill the mind with thoughts and chatter
F Em
Never let the silence in
============
C Em
We have lost our sense of being
Am G
Seeing all yet never seeing
F Em Am
Grasping much and touching nothing
F G
Tasting nothing always filled
F Em
Racing hard with war and sorrow
Am C
Scheming for that sweet tomorrow
F Em
While today goes by neglected
F Em
Now is ever unfulfilled
==========

C Em
People, people in a hurry
Am G
Going nowhere in a hurry
F Em Am
Talking on of this and that
F G
And having nothing much to say

F Em
Smiling smiles that have no meaning
Am C
Outward laughing inward screaming
F Em
Devil take the one behind
F Em
And damn the one who's in my way

If you want to take it to go, grab the People in a Hurry by Hamilton Camp – Chords and Lyrics PDF.

More about Hamilton Camp

In addition to writing this song and having a great voice, Hamilton Camp enjoyed a stellar professional acting career. A tribute site with his music and career accolades has been built at hamiltoncamp.com.