DJ's Music Studio DJ Animation

Welcome to DJ's Music Studio! Many thanks to everyone who has encouraged me to continue recording songs that inspire me, along with many of my "Original Songs."


Original Songs by DJ
DJ's Music Studio maintains its charm and simplicity through the technical know-how and creative eye of “the Bear.” For something lighthearted and fun, check out Bear’s Etcetera Etcetera for heartwarming and humorous stories, read in his own inimitable style! Bear's Etcetera Etcetera

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May 21, 2023

Wildflowers Don't Care Where They Grow

As of 2012, Dolly Parton had written more than 3,000 songs, sold more than 100 million records, and earned 11 Grammy Awards. Her extensive philanthropy activities through the Dollywood Foundation include Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which mails one book per month to each enrolled child from birth to kindergarten. She has published an autobiography and authored several children’s books. She wrote “Wildflowers Don't Care Where They Grow” and recorded it on “Trio,” a 1987 collaboration with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, which achieved Platinum status and won numerous awards including a Grammy in 1988.

April 23, 2023

I Can't Help It

Hank Williams Sr. is one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. From his start in 1937 with a 15-minute radio show, to his death in 1953 at age 29, Williams had 55 Top-Ten singles, five of which were released posthumously. His 1952 recording of "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)" peaked at #2. Many artists have recorded this song, including a 1974 version by Linda Ronstadt that charted at #2 and won the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.

April 9, 2023

Why Be Si Curious

The Canadian indie roots rock band, The Sadies, released “Why Be So Curious (Part 3)” on their 2004 album, “Favourite Colours.” There is no Part 1 or 2, and no reason why this is Part 3 - it’s curious!  Members of The Sadies are Dallas Good, Travis Good, Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky. Dallas and Travis are part of Canadian folk/bluegrass “royalty” as the sons and nephews of the trio, The Good Brothers. Sadly, in 2022, Dallas Good died suddenly of natural causes related to coronary illness.

March 26, 2023

Love Me Tender

Elvis Presley recorded over 600 songs. His label required songwriters to give Elvis co-writing credit, even though he didn’t write a single song. Ken Darby wrote "Love Me Tender" set to a mid-1800’s song. Elvis and Darby’s wife, Vera Matson, have the songwriting credit. When asked why he attributed the lyrics to his wife along with Elvis, the standard response from Darby was, “because she didn’t write it either.”

March 12, 2023

Cheesy Love Song

Cheese is my favourite food group. And puns are my favourite style of humor. So, it was inevitable that I would eventually be lured into writing the "Cheesy Love Song" based on some of the worst cheese puns you are ever likely to hear. Any way you slice it, this song could be an embarrassment to my Kraft. However, Colby sad if you don’t love it! You’ve had fair warning.  

February 26, 2023

Dancing in the Back of His Mind

Do some expressions ever strike you as strange? One day I heard someone say they would keep something in the back of their mind, and I had a mental picture of all the faces, items, sounds and so forth that might be jostling for space in the back of their cranium. This led me to imagine a story of a man haunted by regret over a wrong choice. His story is my song, “Dancing in the Back of His Mind.”

February 12, 2023

Delicious Bittersweet

I was inspired to write “Delicious Bittersweet” by a recent conversation about downsizing, and the challenge of deciding what to keep and what to let go. It’s often said that the only constant in life is change, and this song reflects on how the flavour of life develops as people and things come, go, and remain with us over time.

January 15, 2023

Springtime in Alberta

Ian Tyson once said, “I’ll always be a westerner and I’ll always be a cowboy.” This perspective runs through each of his 17 albums, released between 1973 and 2006. The single, “Springtime in Alberta” was on his 1991 album, titled “And Stood There Amazed.” The song reached #9 on the Canadian Top Country chart. Ian Tyson passed away on December 29, 2022, at his ranch near Longview. He was 89.

January 1, 2023

The New Leaf

I hadn’t planned to write a song for New Years, but “The New Leaf” fits the occasion. It’s a song inspired by procrastination and seems appropriate for this time of year when so many people are setting goals and making resolutions for the year ahead.  

December 18, 2022

Christmas Island

Christmas Island is an Australian 'island territory' in the Indian Ocean, located directly south of Jakarta, Indonesia. It is also the name of a community in Nova Scotia. The song, “Christmas Island,” refers to the former. It was was written by Lyle Moraine and originally recorded in 1946 by The Andrews Sisters with Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians. It has also been recorded by Ella Fitzgerald (1960), Leon Redbone (1988) and Jimmy Buffett (1996), among others.

December 4, 2022

Gingerbread Ponies

Every year at this time, the Okotoks Art Gallery has a gingerbread house competition. Last year, I admired a gingerbread ranch house and this year, when I was thinking of a Christmas song to write, it came to mind. I pictured ponies in the corral, and from that came the inspiration for a song about a party where children were decorating “Gingerbread Ponies.”

November 20, 2022

Bony Butt Blues

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting on a hard chair for a rather lengthy presentation. At one point, I found myself thinking I should write a song called “Bony Butt Blues” - and here it is!

November 6, 2022

As Time Goes By

Herman Hupfeld wrote “As Time Goes By” for the Broadway musical, "Everybody's Welcome." It was first recorded in 1931 by Rudy Vallée, and became famous in the 1942 movie, "Casablanca," sung by Sam, portrayed by Dooly Wilson. Due to the 1942-44 musicians’ strike, Wilson was unable to record the song, so RCA Victor reissued the Rudy Vallée recording, which became a #1 hit, 11 years after its initial release. Wilson's version, re-released in 1977, reached #15 in the UK. For years, it was the signature song of Warner Bros., used with their logo at the beginning of films. It was also the title and theme song of the 1990s British comedy series, "As Time Goes By," starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer.

October 23, 2022

Spooky Scary Skeletons

“Spooky Scary Skeletons” was The Bear’s pick for my Halloween song this year, and he had lots of fun doing the video production. The song was written in 1966 by Andrew Gold, an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, arranger, and music producer. His single, “Lonely Boy," was a Top 10 hit in the U.S., and his song, "Thank You for Being a Friend,” was known by millions as The Golden Girls theme song. In addition to his solo career, he was a band member for many artists, including Linda Rondstadt from 1973-77. 

October 9, 2022

In a Town This Size

John Prine wrote and sang humorous lyrics about love and life, as well as serious songs with social commentary. He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019. Following his death in 2020 at age 73, his family established the Hello in There Foundation “to offer support for people who are marginalized, discriminated against or, for any reason, are otherwise forgotten.” This week, tribute concerts and events are taking place at John’s favourite spots in Nashville, as the basis for two documentaries. “In a Town This Size” was written by Kieran Kane and recorded in 1999 as a duet by John Prine and Dolores Keane. 

September 11, 2022

Head Over Heels

Blue Rodeo was formed over 35 years ago by high school friends Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor. The band has released 16 albums, with over four million copies sold. They have received many Juno Awards and been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. The band has received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, been named to the Order of Canada and received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. “Head Over Heels” was released on their 1995 studio album, Five Days in July. 

August 28, 2022

Autumn Leaves

“Autumn Leaves” originated in 1945 as a French poem, “Les Feuilles Mortes,” written by poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert, who collaborated with Joseph Kosma to set the poem to music. In 1950, Johnny Mercer wrote the English lyrics. More than a thousand commercial recordings have been made of the song, in both vocal and instrumental versions, by prominent artists in Europe and North America. 

August 14, 2022

Luck Ran Out

In June, we had the pleasure of staying at the beautiful Eagle Valley Park Campground near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. The view from our RV window is the backdrop for this episode of DJ’s Music Studio. The book I was reading at the time inspired me to write this humorous country song, “Luck Ran Out.”

July 31, 2022

Ain't Misbehavin "Ain't Misbehavin'" is a stride jazz/early swing song with lyrics by Andy Razaf, and score by Thomas "Fats" Waller and Harry Brooks. It was written in 1929 as a theme song for the Broadway musical comedy, "Connie's Hot Chocolates." Waller’s version for the 1943 movie, "Stormy Weather," is one of 50 recordings selected for the National Recording Registry by the U.S. Library of Congress.

July 17, 2022

Travelling on a Train

While we were camping last month, I thought it would be fun to write a song that could be easily remembered and sung around a campfire. The result is “Travelling on a Train,” which has a simple melody and repeating lines in every verse. The words are on the screen, so you can sing along with me!

July 3, 2022

Wayfaring Stranger

No one knows who wrote the American folk song, “Wayfaring Stranger,” but the first publication was in 1858. Countless recordings have been made, with the first in 1929 on Victor Records by the male quartet, Vaughn’s Texas Quartet. The song came into the spotlight in the 1940s as the title of Burl Ives’ radio program and his autobiography. Countless artists have recorded it, including Paul Robeson, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Eva Cassidy and Rhiannon Giddens.

June 19, 2022

All our Tomorrows

I have always loved the poetry of Macbeth’s “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy. Here, in Act 5, Scene 5, he learns Lady Macbeth has died and laments the futility of his life and the insignificance of his actions. My song, “All Our Tomorrows” envisions a new meaning for the images in this passage, with “all our yesterdays” transformed into the tomorrows which are the light and inspiration that direct us as we move forward in our time upon life’s stage.

June 5, 2022

Only the Lonely

From his first hit in 1960 with “Only the Lonely,” Roy Orbison  became recognized as having one of the finest voices in music history. Dwight Yoakam described Orbison’s voice as otherworldly, "like the cry of an angel falling backward through an open window." Bob Dylan said, "With Roy, you didn't know if you were listening to mariachi or opera. He sounded like he was singing from an Olympian mountaintop. He sang his compositions in three or four octaves that made you want to drive your car over a cliff … always leave you muttering, 'Man, I don’t believe it.'"

May 22, 2022

Your Cheatin’ Heart

Hank Williams once described “Your Cheatin’ Heart” as the “best heart song” he ever wrote. He recorded it shortly before his death on January 1, 1953, at the age of 29. Hank Williams left a profound music legacy, confirmed by the Pulitzer Prize Board, which awarded him a posthumous special citation in 2010 for his "craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life".

May 8, 2022

This Little Light of Mine

“This Little Light of Mine” was originally written by Harry Dixon Loes around 1920 as a children’s song. During the 1950s/60s Civil Rights Movement, Zilphia Horton adapted the song and taught it to Pete Seeger, who added verses. It is famously tied to Civil Rights leader, Fannie Lou Hamer. While being detained by police on her way back from attempting to register to vote with other members of her community, she began singing this song.

April 24, 2022

Suzanna in Spring

In the Foothills, it takes a long time for spring to shake off winter. Several years ago, winter came charging back, late into spring when the trees were in full leaf and the flowers had begun to bloom. I've thought of this image as "angry springtime" and it is the inspiration for my song, “Suzanna in Spring,” which is about taking the first steps into uncertainty with the promise of summer ahead.

April 10, 2022

Tartan Dilemma

Did you know that the Scottish Tartans Authority has an international index with more than 7,000 entries? And no two of these tartans are the same. In addition to all the tartans for Scottish clans and districts, official tartans range from Hilton Hotels, American Express and the Toronto Bluejays; to Britain’s Royal Air Force, the FBI and RCMP; to Scrooge MacDuck (Mickey's Scottish uncle). Canadian provinces have their own tartans … which got me wondering what tartan I would wear. In turn, that inspired me to write this song, “Tartan Dilemma.”

March 27, 2022

Sad Songs (Say So Much)

In 1984, Sassoon Industries sponsored Elton John’s 40-city tour of the US. They launched a $5-million advertising campaign for Sassoon jeans with a re-cut version of the “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” video. It ended with Elton singing the tag line “Sassoon says so much.” (Roy Orbison also did a “Sassoon Woman” commercial of “Pretty Woman.”) Elton John went on to appear in commercials for Diet Coke, Royal Mail, Cadbury and Uber Eats. Also, the Sad Songs video is one of the few times where Elton is shown both with and without his trademark glasses.

March 13, 2022

When You Wish Upon a Star

“When You Wish Upon a Star” is sung by Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) in Walt Disney’s 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio. Written by Leigh Harline (music) and Ned Washington (lyrics), the song has become the Disney anthem, played alongside the company logo before a film. You’ll hear it everywhere in Disney theme parks and the first seven notes are the horn signal for Disney Cruise Line ships. In 2009, the Library of Congress deemed it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and preserved it in the National Recording Registry.

February 27, 2022

The Sweetest Gift

Sade Adu is a Nigerian-born British singer, songwriter and actress with a remarkable smooth jazz sound. I became a fan of hers in 1984 with the release of her best-selling album, Diamond Life. This song, “The Sweetest Gift,” first appeared on her 2000 album, Lovers Rock. The song is a lullaby, asking the moon to watch over a sleeping infant. On her subsequent live album, Sade dedicates the song to her child, who was born in 1996.

February 13, 2022

Turquoise and Pearls

Pearls emerge perfectly formed, with a smooth beauty that requires no polishing. Turquoise gemstones date back to 3000 BC in Egypt and can be found in many hues of blue and green. Neither need sparkly facets to give them depth or make them eye-catching. Together, they are the perfect metaphor for the complex but gentle soul in my song, “Turquoise and Pearls.”

January 30, 2022

Advice from the Medium for Mediums

“Advice from the Medium for Mediums” is the last of my “broken ankle” songs. Although the song ended up being both humorous and hopeful, the chorus came to me at a point when I was trying to talk myself out of a deep funk. The storyline emerged later in banter with a friend, when I had the brainwave that “medium” could be both a noun and adjective.

January 16, 2022

Farewell to Nova Scotia

“Farewell to Nova Scotia” is a traditional folk song and anthem for Nova Scotia. It was written before or during WWI, possibly inspired by the poem, A Soldier's Adieu, by Scottish poet Robert Tannahill. The song was first collected by Canadian folklorist, Helen Creighton. It became widely popular in 1964 when Catherine McKinnon sang it as the theme song for the Halifax-based CBC TV program, Singalong Jubilee.

January 1, 2022

Hey Good Lookin'

Jimmy Dickens went to his friend, Hank Williams Sr., for advice on how to become a star. Hank told Jimmy he’d need a hit song and wrote “Hey Good Lookin’” for him. It only took Hank 20 minutes to write the song - maybe because it has the same title as a song Cole Porter wrote a decade earlier, along with some of the same lyrics and similar melody and rhythm. Jimmy’s recording didn’t go anywhere, but Hank’s 1951 release of the same song was a huge hit. In 2001, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 

December 19, 2021

I'll Be Home for Christmas

"I’ll Be Home for Christmas" was first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943, with lyrics by Kim Gannon and music by Walter Kent. On December 17, 1965, it became the first “song request” to be broadcast into outer space. It was requested by astronauts James Lovell and Frank Borman on their return to earth after a record 206 orbits aboard Gemimi 7. A day before, the crew of Gemini 6, also in orbit, reported a UFO in polar orbit, followed by a rendition of Jingle Bells on harmonica and bells which they’d smuggled aboard.

December 19, 2021

The Christmas Waltz

In 1954, Frank Sinatra wanted to release his own version of “White Christmas,” which was a huge hit for Bing Crosby the previous year. Frank wanted a new Christmas song for the B-side (the other side of a 45-rpm vinyl). He asked Sammy Cahn (lyrics) and Jule Styne (melody) to write the song. They argued that another Christmas song seemed ridiculous so close to Bing’s big hit, but Frank insisted. They thought a song in waltz-time might be unique and catch on, so they wrote “The Christmas Waltz,” which has been recorded by several artists since then, but has remained obscure.

December 5, 2021

Last Christmas

“Last Christmas” was written by George Michael of the synth-pop duo, Wham! Released in 1984, it reached #2 on the UK charts, behind Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” an all-star charity single benefiting Ethiopian famine relief. George Michael sang on that song and donated the proceeds of “Last Christmas” to the cause. The song remained a best selling UK single, finally reaching #1 thirty-six years later.

Comet the Disgruntled Fifth Reindeer

Think the North Pole is all candy canes and jolliness, with everyone whistling while they work? Think again! One of Santa’s reindeer is definitely not feeling the joy of the season. I wrote all about his plight in the song, “Comet the Disgruntled Fifth Reindeer.”

November 21, 2021


Michael Bublé released “Everything” in 2007 on his album, “Call Me Irresponsible.” He says the song is about his then girlfriend, Emily Blunt, and he's quoted as saying, “I wrote the song about the great happiness of real love, but at the same time I was making a statement about the world. We're living in really crazy times, and I wanted to say that no matter what's happening, this person in my life is what really makes it worthwhile."

November 6, 2021

Valour Lullaby

For Remembrance Day 2021, I wrote the song, “Valour Lullaby” to recognize the profound work of the organization, Quilts of Valour, and also to celebrate my father-in-law, who lived a century-long life as an extraordinary husband, father, soldier, entrepreneur, and friend to all.

October 29, 2021

Thinking Out Loud

As the story goes, Ed Sheeran wrote “Thinking Out Loud” in 20 minutes at his kitchen table, along with Wales-based singer-songwriter Amy Wadge, who had dropped by for a visit. He says he composed the melody on guitar, with the vibe inspired by Van Morrison. Released in 2014, the song was the first single to spend a full year in the UK top 40 and, as of May 2020, had been viewed more than 3-billion times on YouTube.

October 10, 2021

Sweet By and By

Sometimes a casual remark can lead to a beautiful song. In Elkhorn, Wisconsin, around 1868, Fillmore Bennett noticed his friend, Jospeh Webster, seemed melancholy. When asked what was wrong, Webster replied, “It’s no matter, it will be all right by and by.” In a eureka moment, Bennett wrote lyrics and Webster found a melody on his violin. Within half an hour, the hymn “Sweet By and By” was complete.

September 26, 2021

Evidence Blues

Hooray! After four months of recovery and rehabilitation, I’m cautiously getting around on my ankle, and am over the moon to record a song “in person” from DJs Music Studio. While I was off my feet, I experimented with a number of song writing styles, including 12-bar blues. The result is a humorous song titled “Evidence Blues.”

August 21, 2021

Heart and Soul

My ankle is healing and I hope to return in-person to DJ's Music Studio soon. In the meantime, my thoughts went back to the simple piano duet of “Heart and Soul” that we played as kids. Composed in 1938 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics by Frank Loesser, the song was a hit in the Big Band era and in the 1960s as both R&B and DooWop versions. It’s also in the soundtracks of many movies. 

Heart and Soul

August 8, 2021

Our Little Secret

“Our Little Secret” is a metaphorical song about my ankle trauma. The idea came to me in hospital, while thinking about all the things I was holding on to for dear life - the paramedics, bed rails, grab bars and most of all, my dear Bear who has supported me through this ordeal. And yes, the song also includes the villain wind I was racing against when I slipped and crashed.

Our Little Secret

July 16, 2021

No Place I'd Rather Be At

My two-month broken leg “recliner confinement” has been a prolific time for writing songs! “No Place I’d Rather Be At” is my entry in the Music Mile Songwriting Contest, and talks about how the past and present flourish along 9th Avenue SE in Calgary, from Inglewood to Studio Bell (the old King Eddy).

No Place I'd Rather Be At

July 9, 2021

The Hurtin' Song Song

Stampede has begun and I have almost three weeks left of my broken leg “recliner confinement.” I was doing some research into Hank Williams Sr., who wrote some of my favorite country songs. He’s quoted as saying, “Everybody loves a hurtin’ song.” With this inspiration and my great admiration for Hank, I wrote “The Hurtin' Song Song.”

The Hurtin' Song Song

July 4, 2021

Moxie Magic Danger

What’s the secret for making magic happen in life? It lies in stepping into the unknown and, by force of character, seizing opportunity. The secret can be summed up in the three words that are the title of my song, “Moxie Magic Danger.”

Moxie Magic Danger

June 20, 2021

Stream Becomes a Trickle

This song, “Stream Becomes a Trickle,” tells the story of a David and Goliath battle over water rights in a rural community. I wrote it as part protest song and part anthem, with the firm belief that community will prevail. This is an audio only song as DJ has another six weeks of no weightbearing on her broken ankle and six more weeks of house husbanding for Bear.

Stream Becomes a Trickle

June 6, 2021

DJ Takes a Tumble

Hello friends. It will be a few weeks before I am able to record any songs for DJ’s Music Studio, as I’m sitting here with my leg up after breaking my ankle. I'm working on some new original songs that I can’t wait to share with you when I’m on my feet again, hopefully the first week in July. In the meantime, you can click on the Ambulance for an account of how it happened, told in the inimitable style of the Bear.

DJ Takes a Tumble.

May 23, 2021

True Love Ways

On June 20, 1958, Buddy Holly proposed to Maria Elena Santiago on their first date. Buddy wrote "True Love Ways" with Norman Petty, as his wedding gift for Maria. He recorded the song on October 21, 1958, four months before his death, and the song was released posthumously. The photo of Buddy and Maria's first kiss is displayed above Table 53 at JP Clarke's in New York, the spot of that first date.

May 9, 2021

Alpaca Smile

The Alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid (a humpless camel related to the llama, guanaco and vicuna). It is an unusual looking animal, with a long neck and spindly legs. Alpacas provide luxurious fleeces that, when spun, can be made into soft, warm scarves, shawls and blankets. They have beautiful faces, which I celebrate in my song, "Alpaca Smile."

April 25, 2021

The Rose

Many songwriters say the best songs begin with a "stolen" line or phrase. Amanda McBroom heard a song with the line, "Your love is like a razor; my heart is just a scar," and it set off a flurry of thoughts about what love is and isn't. Ten minutes later, she'd written "The Rose." It was recorded by Bette Midler as the title track for the 1979 movie, The Rose.

April 11, 2021

What Would Debbie Travis Say

Debbie Travis had done it all - home decorating guru, television personality, author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and more. But her lifelong dream was to create a fabulous Tuscan getaway. In an interview on The Marilyn Denis Show, March 3, Debbie tells how she made this dream a reality. And her words inspired me to write this song, "What Would Debbie Travis Say?"

March 28, 2021

Silver and Gold at the End of the Day

Several weeks ago, I woke up thinking the line: silver and gold at the end of the day. It stuck with me and took me back many decades to a young age when I loved to run and compete in track and field sports. A particular competition came to mind and, from that, I wrote the song, "Silver and Gold at the End of the Day."

March 14, 2021

Millarville Dream

In 2019, the image of tumbling hay bales popped into my mind along with a happy melody line. For the next couple of years, at harvest time, I'd look at the fields of hay bales and smile at my private joke. Last month, after dreams about the landscape and friends in the Millarville area, the quirky line developed into my song, "Millarville Dream."

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Chauncey Olcott was an Irish/American actor, songwriter and singer. In 1912, he and George Graff, Jr. wrote the lyrics to "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" and Ernest Ball added the music. It has been recorded over 200 times. On St. Patrick's Day 1985, it entered the political arena when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan jointly sang the song following what was dubbed the Shamrock Summit between Canada and the U.S.


"Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral" (That's an Irish Lullaby) was written by James Royce Shannon in 1913 for a Tin Pan Alley musical, and it was a #1 hit rerecording by Chauncey Olcott. The song was revived in 1944 when Bing Crosby recorded it for the film, Going My Way. That single sold over one million copies.

February 28, 2021

Flowers on the Wall

Recently, I heard someone say that "Flowers on the Wall" is the perfect song to describe the hunkering down that we're all experiencing during this pandemic. A hit for The Statler Brothers in 1966, it was written by their original tenor, Lew DeWitt. I'm singing a version with some edits that make the song especially covid-relevant.

February 14, 2021

Forest John Memory Waltz

Feel free to push aside the furniture and settle into a long, slow, old-time waltz with your sweetheart, a cohort buddy, or just by yourself. "Forest John Memory Waltz" is a perfect Valentine's song; written by me, just for you!

Blue Moon

"Blue Moon" was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934. It's a wonderful ballad of romantic longing, covered by artists in multiple eras and genres.

February 3, 2021

RPAC@Home Concert Series

For years, Okotoks presented a rich lineup of music, theatre and comedy at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC). With Covid, this became the "RPAC@home concert series," live streamed on YouTube. I was part of the recent Emerging Artists Showcase, along with Ethan Collister, on February 3, 2021. Please note, the video starts 11 minutes into the show, due to RPAC technical difficulties.

January 31, 2021

Winter Moon

I wrote "Winter Moon" in 2018 – the fantasy of a young skater flying across the ice on a cold, clear winter night, feeling wild exhilaration as she is bewitched by the spell of the full moon.

January 17, 2021

Home on the Range

"Home on the Range" originated in 1872 with a poem by Dr. Brewster Higley, titled "My Western Home." The music was added later by his friend Daniel Kelley. Variations with new verses were added by William and Mary Goodwin (1904) and John A Lomax (1910). In 1947, it became the state song of Kansas. It is one of the top 100 western songs of all time.

January 14, 2021

Bold and Strong Community This song expresses the spirit that has sustained me during these Covid times. Even though we're distanced, I believe our networks of friends and family provide support, encouragement and inspiration - and together we will build a "Bold and Strong Community." I was inspired to write the song as an entry in the Rise UP Calgary song writing competition.

January 3, 2021

Fly Me to the Moon

Bert Howard was a songwriter for 20 years when a cabaret owner asked him for something simpler than his usual style. In response, Howard wrote "Fly Me to the Moon" (originally titled "In Other Words"). It was a hit for many singers, and in 1999 was inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame. In a 1988 interview, Bert Howard said, "It took me 20 years to find out how to write a song in 20 minutes."

Wine Down

A couple of years after I'd retired, I was strolling down a dock in Sidney by the Sea, admiring the boats and chuckling at some of the names. One boat in particular caught my eye. It brought back all those years of working and inspired me to write "Wine Down!"

December 20, 2020

Silent Night

"Silent Night" (originally "Stille Nacht") originated in 1818 as a poem by Joseph Mohr, curate of the parish church of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria. Legend has it that the church organ broke down, and organist Franz Gruber took the poem and wrote a simple tune that could be played on guitar. The song has been translated into at least 140 languages and in 2011 was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Away in a Manger

"Away in a Manger" was written in the late 1800s and is one of the most beautiful of the traditional Christmas carols. The authorship is uncertain - many think it was written by German religious reformer Martin Luther, but historians now believe it is of American origin. There are multiple versions of the words and melody. I've chosen to sing the verses and melodies that I knew growing up.

O Come All Ye Faithful

"O Come, All Ye Faithful" was originally written in Latin as "Adeste Fideles." It first appeared in mid-1700s in a collection by the English hymnist John Francis Wade. The actual authorship is uncertain, as it seems he and many others had a hand in shaping this beautiful carol over the years.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" was a poem written in 1849 by Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts. The next year, he asked Richard Willis, music critic for the New York Herald Tribune, to put the poem to music.

December 6, 2020

A Marshmallow World

"A Marshmallow World" will whet your winter imagination. Written in 1949 by Carl Sigman (lyrics) and Peter DeRose (music), it was published in 1950 and recorded that year by several artists, including Bing Crosby. The song didn't achieve widespread popularity until Dean Martin recorded it on his 1966 Christmas Album and featured it on his 1968 Christmas special.

Jingle Bells

"Jingle Bells" was written by James Lord Pierpont in 1857, intended for a Thanksgiving program at a church in Savannah, Georgia. Among its rich historical trivia, Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from space. Nine days before Christmas 1965, the crew of Gemini 6 reported a UFO heading in a polar orbit. This was followed by Walter Schirra Jr, command pilot, playing Jingle Bells on a harmonica and Tom Stafford, pilot, shaking some small sleigh bells.

November 22, 2020

The Sweater Song

This song is about many things - family, creativity, making gifts and the hubbub of the holidays. But mostly, I wrote "The Sweater Song" about my Mom and a special gift she made for me over thirty years ago.

Winter Wonderland

“Winter Wonderland” was written in 1934, with music by Felix Bernard and lyrics by Richard Smith who was in hospital at the time, being treated for tuberculosis. He looked out the window and saw a field covered with snow and wrote a poem about a couple’s romance during the winter season. A 1947 version added a verse for children, with the snowman and clown.

November 8, 2020

Remembrance Day 2020

For this week of Remembrance Day, these songs are all from the WW2 era. They are dedicated to the men and women who have served in the military in war and in peacetime, as well as the families and others who have supported them. This is a story of our family, where the history of service runs deep.

White Cliffs of Dover

Nat Burton wrote the lyrics to “White Cliffs of Dover” in 1941, a year after the Battle of Britain waged in the air over southern England, including the white cliffs of Dover. Walter Kent put the lyrics to music. The song was made famous by Vera Lynn in 1942, and remains one of the most popular songs of that era. It expresses determined optimism that WW2 would be the war to end all wars, and that there would be “peace ever after, tomorrow, when the world is free.”

I'll Be Seeing You

“I’ll Be Seeing You” was written in 1938 by Irving Kahal, with music by Sammy Fain. It was a major hit for Bing Crosby, as well as Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra. In the 1950s, it was the theme for Liberace’s TV show. The soundtrack to the “The Notebook” has two iconic versions of the song - opening with Billie Holliday and the Jimmy Durante rendition at the end.

We'll Meet Again

“We’ll Meet Again” was an emblematic hit of WW2, ringing with hope for soldiers going off to war and leaving their sweethearts and families behind. It was written in 1939 by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles, with the most famous version recorded by Vera Lynn. She also sang the song in London on the 60th anniversary of VE Day in 2005.

Lili Marlene

In 1915, Hans Leip, a 22-year-old soldier in WW1, wrote a poem about his sadness in being separated from his sweetheart, Lili. He also reflected on a nurse named Marlene, who waved at him when he was on sentry duty. Through a series of coincidences, “Lili Marlene” was recorded in 1943 by Marlene Dietrich and became an international hit. Years later, Vera Lynn recorded a version with modified lyrics and new verses. I’ve recorded a blending of the two.

October 25, 2020

Monster Mash

Bobby “Boris” Pickett wrote "The Monster Mash" in 1962 and recorded it with his band, The Crypt Kickers. The BBC banned the song for a decade on the grounds that it was too morbid. Pickett also released a Christmas “Monsters' Holiday,” a “Monster Rap” version, and “Monster Slash” used in the 2004 presidential election campaign to criticize the environmental policies of George W. Bush. Spooky sound effects in my version are by "The Bear." Sound effects info

October 11, 2020

Stormy Weather

Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler wrote "Stormy Weather" in 1933 and Ethel Waters was the first to record the song. Lena Horne recorded it at least five times, including in 1943 for the movie of the same name, and her original 1941 version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. Many artists have recorded the song, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Etta James, Billie Holiday and, more recently, Joni Mitchell and Jeff Lynne.

September 27, 2020

Come go with me

"Come Go With Me" was a 1956 hit for the Del-Vikings, a doo-wop group whose members met in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Pittsburgh. The bass vocalist, C.E. (Clarence) Quick, wrote the song. It was covered by the Beach Boys in 1978, and has been in many films, including "American Graffiti" (1973), "Diner" (1982), "Stand by Me" (1986), "Joe Versus the Volcano" (1990) and "Set It Up" (2018).

September 20, 2020

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry

Hank Williams released “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” in 1949 on the B-side of “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It,” which producers thought would be more suited to the jukebox trade than melancholy ballads. "I'm So Lonesome" proved the producers wrong when it reached No. 4 on the country charts that year. It’s stood the test of time, with artists from many genres recording the song over the years.

September 13, 2020

The Glory of Love

“The Glory of Love" was written by Billy Hill, a songwriter in Tin Pan Alley, New York. It was a hit for Benny Goodman in 1936 and has been recorded by many artists, including Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante and Paul McCartney. It's often in TV shows and movie soundtracks, including "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner" (1967, sung by Jacqueline Fontaine) and "Beaches" (1988, sung by Mayim Bialik and Bette Midler).

September 6, 2020

Unclouded day

Rev. Josiah Kelley Alwood wrote "Unclouded Day" in 1879, inspired by a vision in the early morning sky. An indispensable song in old hymnals, it found its way into popular music with a 1956 recording by The Staple Sisters. Since then, it has been covered by many artists, the most widely known by Willie Nelson in 1977.

Whispering hope

In 1868, Septimus Winner wrote the hymn, "Whispering Hope" which is sometimes attributed to one of his pseudonyms, Alice Hawthorne. In addition to song writing, he was a teacher, performer and music publisher.

August 30, 2020

True Love

In the 1956 movie, "High Society," Bing Crosby serenades Grace Kelly with the song, "True Love," written by Cole Porter. The song has been widely recorded since then, right up to an album by Harry Connick Jr. last year. I've done two takes: first in the style of Patsy Cline's 1961 cover, and then with influences from the 1977 George Harrison recording. PS...look on YouTube for the campy, but brilliant video of George as a gondolier wooing his "true love" with the song.

August 22, 2020

It Doesn't Matter Anymore

Buddy Holly recorded "It Doesn't Matter Any More" a few months before he was killed in a plane crash in February 1959. It became a posthumous hit and Paul Anka, who wrote the song, gave the composer's royalties to Buddy's wife. Many artists have recorded the song, with my favorite being Linda Ronstadt on her 1974 album, "Heart Like a Wheel."


Herbert "Happy" Lawson wrote "Anytime" a century ago, and the beautiful lyric and melody still stand up today. The song was a hit for several early country artists, including three "Eddys" - Eddy Arnold, Eddie Fisher and Duane Eddy. Patsy Cline recorded it on her 1962 album, "Sentimentally Yours."

August 16, 2020

Twenty Above and Below

I started writing "Twenty Above and Below" after the first snowfall of 2019 and finished it last month in the summer heat at an RV campground in Drumheller. Most people shudder at the thought of coming winter, but I say, "What's not to love about 20 below?!"

August 9, 2020

Puff the Magic Dragon

Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton went to Cornell University in the late 1950s. “Custard the Dragon,” an Ogden Nash poem about a “realio, trulio little pet dragon,” became like an earworm for Lipton and, to get it out of his head, he borrowed Yarrow’s typewriter to write his own poem. Yarrow found the poem and turned it into the song, “Puff the Magic Dragon,” recorded by Peter Paul and Mary in 1963.

Send me your Pillow to Dream on Hank Locklin wrote and recorded "Send Me the Pillow that You Dream On" in 1949, but it was his 1957 re-recording that became a country hit and crossed over to the pop charts. It has become a standard by country, pop and bluegrass artists.

August 2, 2020

Summertime "Summertime" was composed by George Gershwin, with credit also given to Ira Gershwin. The song was an aria for the 1935 opera, "Porgy and Bess," based on the novel, "Porgy" which was written by DuBose Heyward in 1925.
I Just Want to Dance John Prine was an amazing musician whose songs spoke of the simple joys, absurdities and heartbreaks of everyday life. Sadly, he passed away on April 7 at a youthful 73. I love his sweet song, "I Just Want to Dance With You," which he wrote with Roger Cook and recorded on his 1986 album, "German Afternoons." The most widely known version is by George Strait on his 1998 album, "One Step at a Time."

July 26, 2020

Sartoria Sistas Kinda Waltz I wrote "Sartorial Sistas Kinda Waltz" in 2018 to celebrate the milestone birthday of a special friend, who is an avid gardener. I took this photo last month, showing some of her amazing flowers. The song also honours the contributions of a special group of friends who work to promote health and wellness in the Foothills community.
Sway "Sway" was written in 1953 as"¿Quién Será?" by Mexican composer Luis Demetrio, who sold the rights to songwriter Pablo Beltran Ruiz. The melancholy Spanish lyrics were about a man wondering if he'd ever love again. Norman Gimble wrote new English lyrics about someone whose heart is affected when their partner sways as they dance, and Dean Martin recorded this song in 1954. The most popular modern version is by Michael Bublé in 2003.

July 12, 2020

Four-Four Foothills Waltz In my view, living in the Foothills truly does have a special kind of vibe, and that is the central theme of this song, which I wrote in 2019. This feeling is expressed through the story of an uncoordinated dancer who yearns for a waltz with simple footwork - a "Four-Four Foothills Waltz."

July 5, 2020

(Now and Then, There's) A Fool such as I "(Now and Then, There's) A Fool such as I" was written by Bill Trader in 1952 and was a hit for Hank Snow that same year. The song reached new heights when it was sung by Elvis Presley while on leave from the army in 1958. Presley was backed by the "royalty" of the Nashville recording scene, including Chet Atkins on guitar, Floyd Cramer on piano and The Jordanaires singing vocals.
I Fall to Pieces At first, Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard had trouble finding someone to record their song, "I Fall to Pieces." When Patsy Cline agreed, she had trouble accepting the new, lush sound her producer wanted, backed by the quartet, The Jordanaires. But the resulting sound marked a turning point in her career, and the song became her first number one hit on the Country charts and her second hit to crossover onto the Pop charts.

June 28, 2020

A Swallow Song "A Swallow Song" is a beautiful ballad written by Richard Farina. It was released in 1965 on "Reflections in a Crystal Wind," an album of duets with his wife, Mimi Farina, who is also the sister of Joan Baez. In the album's liner notes, Richard wrote: "For Joanie, who coaxed the creatures from the Big Sur wind, and eased the trembling of their wings."
Wings of a Dove "Wings of a Dove" is an inspirational gospel song that tells of God sending His love in the form of a dove during times of trouble. Written in 1958 by Bob Ferguson, it was a hit on the country charts for Ferlin Husky in 1960. Since then, many artists have recorded the song, including Dolly Parton, and Robert Duvall who sang it in the 1983 movie, Tender Mercies.

June 21, 2020

I've Got Tears in My Ears from Lying on My Back and Crying Over You Henry Haynes and Kenneth Burns were masterful jazz musicians, but are best known as the comedy duo, Homer & Jethro. They appeared on 1950's and 60's television variety shows, and Kellogg's Corn Flakes sponsored their TV spots, "Ooh! That's Corny." One of their fans was my dad, who often quoted their line, "I've Got Tears in My Ears from Lying on My Back and Crying Over You." While Burns wrote most of their songs, this one was written by Harold Barlow.
There's a Tear in my Beer Hank Williams Sr. wrote "There's a Tear in my Beer" during his 1950-51 Nashville sessions, but never released the song. Decades later, Hank Williams Jr. found the old film footage and electronically inserted himself onto the stage with his dad, singing harmony. The resulting father/son video won many awards, including 1990 Gammy for Best Country Vocal Collaboration.

June 14, 2020

Over the Rainbow Five minutes into "The Wizard of Oz," Dorothy (Judy Garland) sings "Over the Rainbow." Composed by Harold Arlen (music) and Yip Harburg (lyrics), it won the 1940 Oscar for "Best Music, Original Song" and was voted the #1 song of the 20th century by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Storms Never Last Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings were part of the 1970's outlaw country movement, which included artists like Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash, whose music had a harder edge than the slick Nashville sound of the day. In 1981, after being married for 12years, Colter and Jennings released a duet album of love songs that included Jessi's 1975 song, "Storms Never Last."

June 7, 2020

I Shall be Released Bob Dylan wrote "I Shall Be Released" in the late 1960s, and his recordings have included two versions of the song. It has been widely covered by other artists, including The Band, Nina Simone, Joan Baez and Joe Cocker, and no two are alike. I hope you enjoy my take on this song.

May 31, 2020

If You'll Give Me Your Hand Now to Hold I wrote this song, "If You'll Give Me Your Hand Now to Hold" in 2018. It's a love song that isn't a love song, but then becomes a love song in the end. Believe me, when you listen to the song, it will all make sense ;)
Time As we stay at home and feel time stretch limitlessly in all directions, Dean Brody's 2016 song, "Time" is even more poignant. It speaks to how we spend our time in the here-and-now, while the things of lasting value slip away.

May 24, 2020

Up on the Roof As well as being an incredible performer, Carole King is a prolific songwriter, with more than 100 chart topping hits to her credit. She co-wrote "Up on the Roof" with Gerry Goffin, and it was a massive hit for The Drifters in the 1960s. The song seems fitting for these times, when all of us need a place where we can go to relax and leave the world behind.
Too Damn Busy I wrote "Too Damn Busy" in 2018 to express appreciation for men-of-a-certain-age who find themselves busier in retirement than they were when they worked full-time. The song celebrates the charm, humor and generous spirit of these great guys who keep on living life to the fullest.

May 17, 2020

Memory "Memory" is based on a poem by T.S. Eliot, and is the climax song of the 1981 musical, Cats. It's usually sung as a slow, melancholy remembrance of lost youth. Instead, I've chosen to sing it as an upbeat celebration of moving to the exciting stage of life as an older cat :)
Jolene Although our vocal ranges are at opposite ends of the spectrum, I love singing the songs of Dolly Parton because they tell stories that are packed with drama and emotion. "Jolene" was written in 1973, and of all her songs, it's the one most recorded by other artists.

May 9, 2020

A Place in the Sun This song is my shout-out to moms on Mother's Day. It is also a song of hope for all of us, as we begin to open the world after weeks of isolation. "A Place in the Sun" is by Brian Wells and Ronald Miller; and was a hit for Stevie Wonder in 1966 and Glen Campbell in 1968.
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain This Mother's Day song is dedicated to my grandmothers. The emotional ballad, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" was written by Fred Rose in the late 1940s, and has been recorded by the Who's Who of music, including Hank Williams Sr., Willie Nelson, Charlie Pride, Olivia Newton John, Elvis and many others.

May 2, 2020

Dream Lover My illustration (at left) of "The Phoenix" is part of my shout-out to the Phoenix Art Club at the Okotoks Art Gallery. To this great group of artists, I dedicate Bobby Darin's song, "Dream Lover," and invite you to join in!
Da Doo Ron Ron This song topped the charts for The Crystals, one of the original girl bands of the '60s; and a decade later it was a hit for teenage heart-throb Shaun Cassidy. Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, join me in a rousing chorus of "Da Doo Ron Ron" :)

April 25, 2020

I'll Be Seeing You I love the songs of WW2, with determination and hope in the face of overwhelming odds. This song, written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal in 1938, became an anthem of WW2, and echoes for us in these times with the promise that, "I'll Be Seeing You"!
Summer Wine "Strawberries, cherries and an angel's kiss in spring..." What an amazing line. It was written by Lee Hazelwood and became a 1967 hit in his duet with the incomparable Nancy Sinatra. I hope you enjoy the ballad of a young cowboy seduced by a beautiful woman and her offer of "Summer Wine."

April 18, 2020

Wild Flowers Don't Care Where They Grow A shout-out to the music and art students who are missing their teachers. Likewise, to the teachers who miss the joy of sitting with their students and watching as the light goes on with each artistic breakthrough. Zoom, Skype and FaceTime can help keep connections, but it's not the same as being there. For you, "Wildflowers Don't Care Where They Grow," by Dolly Parton.
Alberta Blue It's glorious to get out on a day when the sun is shining and the wind is light. For everyone maintaining distance while walking on pathways, sidewalks and roads, here is "Alberta Blue" by Eva Levesque. To me, it is the quintessential song about the beauty of our province.
Wine Down The Foothills Acoustic Music Institute (FAMI) organizes three camps a year where musicians, from beginners to professionals, can come together to learn, jam, perform and share their love of music. This is an iPhone recording of my first solo experience at a 2019 FAMI camp, performing my song, "Wine Down."

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Please note: all original songs by DJ are copyright DJ's Music Studio.

Wondering about DJ ? At its most basic, those are my first and second initials. They are also the initials of the cartoon villain, Dishonest John, in the 1960's animated TV series, Beany and Cecil. DJ was known for his disguises and cunning, and especially for his sinister "nya-ah-ahh's!" His schemes were always foiled by the hero, Cecil, and my 10-year-old self loved the drama. My older sister teased me with Cecil's catchphrase, "DJ, you dirty guy"... and that probably encouraged me to be a brattier middle sister. Back to top

Sound effects used in DJ's version of Monster Mash are from - Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 & public domain, Mike Koenig & others.
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