The Night We Burned the Barley

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The Night We Burned the Barley
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My friend Gil Gaudia made me a ukulele in December 2020. He wouldn’t take any money from me, so I told him the first song I wrote on it (after I learned to play it) would be in his honor. Gil loved to sail, and he loved astronomy, so I incorporated those elements in the song. While I was writing the song, I talked to a writer friend of mine in N Carolina, Liz Hill, who said she’d gotten so engrossed in what she was writing that she “burned the barley.” Literally. She forgot she was cooking and ruined a pot of barley along with her best pot. The phrase “burned the barley” sounded like a euphemism to me, so I threw that into the song as well.  I played it in the Spring of 2021 at an open stage that Gil attended, and he was very pleased with the song. A couple of weeks later, Gil died. He was 92.

I recorded this on my Mac. I thought I’d be all cool and hip and play with the click track so I could add other computer parts, but it’s been too long since I used a metronome and all I really accomplished was sounding tentative. If you’ve used a metronome you understand what I mean. Still, I wanted to record some version of the songfor Gil’s many friends, many of whom are much better musicians than I am.