Meyer & McGuire | Last Man Standing

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Last Man Standing

by Meyer & McGuire

Similar to John Prine’s “Hello in There” in tone, mood, and theme, “Last Man Standing” depicts an aging WWII veteran listening to songs that take him back to significant moments in his life.
Genre: Folk: Gentle
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Last Man Standing
6:11 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
How did “Last Man Standing” come to fruition? Well, in June of 2010, my mother died suddenly from complications caused by a massive stroke. This devastating event broke my father’s heart, and he has still not recovered from it. I doubt he ever will. Since my mother’s death, I have spoken to my father at least once a day on the phone, and now that he lives here in Canandaigua, NY, I visit with him every day. Despite his intense loneliness and indifference towards life, he does the best he can to keep going, and I admire him for this. Listening to his favorite oldies of the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s often fills up his afternoons with great memories of his life.

He shared many of these memories with me, and most of them focused on some of the great times he had with my mother and their best friends, Tom and Marge Tynan and Phil and Dot Breithaupt. The “six pack,” as I often called them, did a myriad of things together. Parties, picnics, dances, and trips filled up their nearly fifty year friendship. In the late 1990s, the “six pack” began to empty, and with the death of Phil Breithaupt a couple of years ago, my father became the last bottle in the pack. Since Phil’s death, he has expressed to me several times that his bottle is empty, and whenever God is ready, he’s ready to join the other empties.

Along with his stories about his times with my mother and their friends, he also told me stories about his time in the Marines during WWII. He never spoke of the war before this, and most of his generation did not speak of it either. I learned about his experiences in the war in the Pacific, and he described the awful night he was severely wounded and nearly killed on Okinawa. I discovered that most of his friends from the military were also gone, and he was ready to join them, too.

Like many people who are my father’s age, he is the “last man standing” in his group. That phrase entered my mind one day, and I started playing around with some words that eventually became the chorus of the song. Using military imagery, the chorus depicts a soldier who wants to die, but he will not leave this earth until he fulfills his purpose.

After getting the chorus together, I had to develop a setting and story to support it. As with most of my songs, when they are ready to come out, they do, and this one was ready, and it flowed out like a waterfall. The setting is my father sitting in an easy chair listening to his favorite oldies. As he listens, the songs take him through the events of his life from his war years to the death of his wife. I knew it was a keeper instantly, and now all it needed was a melody and some chords.

To enhance the tone, mood, and theme of this sensitive ballad, it was essential to keep the chord progression simple and the tempo slow. So, that’s just what Siobhan and I did with her bass, my guitar, harmonica and vocal. After we put the song together, we went over to record the basic tracks with Rich Cooley, a neighborhood friend. Following this, we brought in two fine musicians, Perry Cleaveland and Bob Spadafora, to add some finishing touches. Perry with his mandolin and fiddle and Bob with his acoustic guitar created some awesome sounds. Along with their instruments, they added some terrific backup harmonies to the chorus. We could not have asked for more. In the final mix, Siobhan and I decided to leave the harmonica out because we had too many other great sounds we wanted to include. Hope you enjoy the download, and I hope it becomes part of your permanent playlist!

If you want to get a feel for the song before you download it, we have a video of us playing the basic tracks on YouTube. Here is the URL you can copy and paste into your browser:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-68JeFw0qPk&feature=em-upload_owner

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