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Steve Key: Songs/Lyrics

Scatter Seeds

(Steve Key)
May 29, 2012
Steve Key Songs (BMI)
Originally released on "Scatter Seeds" (2000)
Recorded and mixed by Mark Stacy, Nashville TN

Not sure where the title came from, but I know the seed for this song was planted at a Folk Alliance conference in Albuquerque NM. I saw Dave Moore sing "Mr. Music" -- all about the muse, and how you used to play music for the fun of it, and now there's all this music business getting in the way of that. The song made me cry. That's what Nashville was to me -- I wasn't writing songs because I wasn't getting anywhere trying to write the kind of songs I thought they wanted me to write. So I wrote this one for me, and it led me to leave Nashville and try to return to the folk circuit back East.

"The wrong side of town" was East Nashville where I hosted writers nights every Thursday for four years at the Radio Cafe. One name I saw around town was James Talley, and not for his writing or singing, but because he was a realtor. That inspired the line in the first verse. Hunter Moore organized a tribute to me as I was leaving town, and he covered this song -- ironic since he was a realtor as well as an excellent singer-songwriter.

I don't have children, and I've often heard songwriters referring to songs as their children. 16th Avenue is Music Row in Nashville. The line about giving up songs for adoption is about the process of signing contracts with publishers on Music Row, but the inspiration for the line came years before that. There was a guy who came to my shows in the DC area who would give me cassettes of his music, labeled "Songs for Adoption". Never forgot that image.

I kid myself saying I could've made a good living in Silicon Valley. Just like in "The Investment", it's music over money every time. But I did take a road out of the Silicon Valley, driving a '68 Valiant, headed north of interstate 5, first stop in Ashland OR. Got real lonely real fast. Ended up in Portland for a couple years.

When I sing that final line "I'd rather scatter seeds", I think of my work as a writers night host, concert presenter, music teacher, record producer. I've done a lot to spread the word about other songwriters. Some of the venues I created back east still exist, although the current bookers have no idea who started the whole thing.
These songs are like houses on the wrong side of town
Priced right for the market, but no buyer can be found
I fill them up with furniture, I build them strong and safe
But if it's only about the money, I'd rather sell real estate

These songs are my children who've all grown up and moved
I gave them up for adoption on 16th Avenue
But I see them every Thursday night when I sing real good for free
If it's only about the money, I'd rather raise a family

Long ago I took a road heading out of the Silicon Valley
In a '68 Plymouth Valiant headed up Interstate 5
And I could've made a good living back home in the Silicon Valley
With a home in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Singing someone else's life

These songs are my garden I planted in my soul
I keep them here inside me so they can't die from the cold
The dollar bills on the branches are all overgrown with weeds
But if it's only about the money, I'd rather Scatter Seeds