The song “If I Let It” came about at a very low time in my life several years back. I had gotten into a rut of self-destructive thinking. I wasn’t eating well or getting any exercise. I had forgotten to focus on the things that are under my control: thinking, feeling, behavior and focus. I was trying too hard.
I had to “get it” — to stay within myself and control what I could control. In order to do that, I had to “let it” — to stop worrying about things I couldn’t control. The song expresses that.
As for the lyrics, they came out of where I was living at the time. It was out in the country, and there were a lot of wild animals around. I can recall several times that I came in of an evening and saw foxes out in the yard/field out in front of the house. One very early morning, I woke to the sound of a mourning dove that was so loud I thought it had gotten into my bathroom. It was outside, but so loud the sound resonated in the shower. That experience inspired the verse about the “bird who sings a song.” (Originally it was an owl, but I changed it.)
The first thing that came to me musically was the first few notes of the melody (“in the twilight . . .”). I sort of worked out the lyrics and melody around it and fit harmony (chords) around that.
I did a basic demo of the tune back then, but wanted a more fleshed out arrangement to support the melody. The countermelody that ends up in a harmonica patch on the final version was originally on a piano. There was also a pad underneath in the original demo, but I wanted something that would convey a little more emotion. I’ve always liked the idea of using a string quartet to provide a more intimate feel, so I came up with an arrangement that would give a warm pad as well as some contrapuntal highlights.
You can buy and download “If I Let It” at my Bandcamp site. I hope you’ll check it out. (Link opens in a new tab/window.)