Butterfly

from by Martha Groves Perry

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about

This may be the most powerful song on the CD. It seems so important to me that I considered making it the title track. It’s about figuring out how to parent a young adult who lives thousands of miles away who’s going through a tough time, and about giving fair weight to the healthy hesitation and doubt I have. I insist on questioning myself and assuming nothing about my adult child’s life, but I also find relief and some delight when I realize that my instincts as a mother are still fairly solid. It’s a song about connecting even while trying to remain healthfully detached. There is yearning … a LOT of yearning … but it’s also tempered with self-restraint and a joy in my ability to have that self-restraint.

The butterfly reference reflects that caterpillars turn into “soup” inside their cocoons and must fully re-form as butterflies. In other words, the moment when everything seems most formless and deconstructed is the moment right before something beautiful takes shape. Without that melting down process, which is disorienting to the point of despair, beauty would be impossible.

This is one of only two songs on which I also play a beautiful cello part written by Kenny Schick, my producer. I recorded both in the same session, and while I breezed through Patiently in a few takes, I struggled while recording this cello line in Butterfly, even to the point of having to stand up and walk into another room for a few minutes to collect myself. There was so much intensity, I wanted so badly to play perfectly, and this song felt so important, that I had to take myself in hand in a way that I had not previously experienced in the studio. Later, I realized the experience felt much like what the song describes.

Happily, my adult child likes the song, and even said it was the best one on the CD. Whew.

lyrics

I’d like to get a picture of just where you are
And where you’re going
I sometimes get the feeling that I’ve gone too far
To keep if flowing

Then you look at me and then I can see
You are not so far from me
How can I help you when what made us two
Is now just old history?

It doesn’t matter how much time has come and gone
Your heart breaks in me
I know this world demands that we just carry on
But I am listening

Then you look at me and then I can see
You are not so far from me
How can I help you when what made us two
Is now just old history?

You’re the man you always dreamed you’d be
Right now it’s just hard for you to see
Even when each day includes a sting
Let that butterfly unfold its wings

Then you look at me and then I can see
You are not so far from me
How can I help you when what made us two
Is now just old history?

Then you look at me and then I can see
You are not so far from me
How can I help you when what made us two
Is now just old history?

Then you look at me and then I can see
You are not so far from me
How can I help you when what made us two
Is now just old history?

Words & Music © 2019 Martha Groves Perry

credits

from These Hands, released March 1, 2020
In addition to songwriting, lead vocals, and writing the harmony vocals, I played cello and performed backing vocals on this song. Kenny Schick, my producer, also sang backing vocals and played or programmed all of the other instruments. Kenny recorded his parts at Basement3Productions in Nashville, TN, and I recorded my vocal parts in July 2019 and the cello line in September 2019 with Kenny at Nice N Up Studios in San Francisco, CA.

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Martha Groves Perry San Francisco, California

Martha Groves Perry is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her music is straightforward, compelling, and sometimes edgy with strong blues and southern rock influences. Her lyrics reflect the fearless truth-telling and unbothered amusement of a seasoned, female point of view. Martha’s music has been described is a cross between Tom Waits, early Gwen Stefani, and the Indigo Girls. ... more

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