Songs That Tell Her Side of the Story: Esme Patterson at TEDxMileHigh (Transcript)

Hello, thank you so much for having me here. What an honor it is to share the stage with such incredible women doing incredible things in the world.

(Applause) Yeah, let’s give them a hand. This record that I wrote started in a motel room in Spearfish, South Dakota. I was learning to play a Townes Van Zandt song called “Loretta,” and the lyrics made me really angry because I thought that he had an idea of her that maybe, if she was allowed to say her side of the story, it might be a little different. I started thinking about how many songs were just a woman’s name, and how these women are frozen in time, and frozen as archetypes, frozen in black and white, and I thought they deserved to be colored in. So, this first song is from the perspective of Caroline, from “Caroline, no” by the Beach Boys off of “Pet Sounds”; you all know that song? Right.

(Guitar music starts) ♪ The days get longer The Earth’s spinning ’round ♪ ♪ Your heart in your mouth dear ♪ ♪ You’re gone ♪ ♪ But you never leave ♪ ♪ And no one knows why but me ♪ ♪ Well, I found a new love ♪ ♪ He’s wild, he’s not mine ♪ ♪ And everything must die ♪ ♪ You’re gone ♪ ♪ Until I fall asleep ♪ ♪ And no one knows why but me ♪ ♪ You know it breaks my heart too ♪ ♪ But we’re as good as dead if we don’t move ♪ ♪ But it breaks my heart, turns me blue ♪ ♪ Time has stepped in ♪ ♪ Between me and you ♪ ♪ I cut off my long hair ♪ ♪ Turned the glow inside ♪ ♪ All that lives must die ♪ ♪ You’re crying ♪ ♪ For what you can’t keep ♪ ♪ And no one knows why but me ♪ (Guitar music ends) (Applause) Thank you so much This next song is the perspective of Eleanor Rigby (Laughter) I know, a strange choice, but I was thinking about it, and the songwriter’s view of this older woman who is about to die, who just puts on her make-up, and looks out of her window, and knows she’s going to die any day; and these young men, Lennon and McCartney, look at her life and say, “She’s lonely!” But I thought, maybe she’s at peace, maybe she’s got all she needs (Guitar music starts) ♪ Good morning, bluebird, good morning, cottonwood ♪ ♪ Out the window, I see all that I’ll ever need ♪ ♪ All that I’ll ever need ♪ ♪ Mmm ♪ ♪ Young men come in from town laughing, fighting, in a crowd ♪ ♪ If you feel loneliness ♪ ♪ That fear will burn you down ♪ ♪ That fear will burn you down ♪ ♪ Mmm ♪ ♪ And I, I’m not afraid ♪ ♪ To lie down in my grave ♪ ♪ Be any day now, any day ♪ ♪ Any day ♪ ♪ We are always alone until death brings us home ♪ ♪ So good morning, cottonwood, and good morning, bluebird ♪ ♪ Good morning, bluebird ♪ ♪ And I, I’m not afraid ♪ ♪ To lie down in my grave ♪ ♪ Be any day now, any day ♪ ♪ Any day ♪ ♪ Mmm

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♪ (Guitar music ends) (Applause) Thank you so much I’ve just got one more song This one is the perspective of Irene from “Goodnight, Irene” by Lead Belly

I thought any woman that was in love with that guy had to be a little off too (Laughter) So this one’s a little more tongue-in-cheek (Laughter) (Guitar music starts) ♪ Heaven’s not a dream ♪ ♪ So wake up, darling ♪ ♪ Heaven’s not where I will be ♪ ♪ So wake up, wake up, darling ♪ ♪ I’ve done wrong, I cheat and I lie ♪ ♪ And I’m not going to heaven when I die ♪ ♪ If you leave me now and look for me in the sky ♪ ♪ Oh, well, honey, you’ll be looking for some time ♪ (Laughter) ♪ Heaven’s not a dream ♪ ♪ So wake up, wake up, darling ♪ ♪ Heaven’s not where you’ll find me ♪ ♪ So wake up, wake up, darling ♪ ♪ Well, heaven’s just like closing your eyes ♪ ♪ And expecting to see ♪ ♪ I’ve done things that I regret ♪ ♪ But I ain’t done loving you yet ♪ ♪ When you see that river walk on by ♪ ♪ Well, heaven’s not a dream ♪ ♪ So wake up, darling ♪ (Guitar music ends) (Applause) Thank you so much (Applause)

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