To Say Goodbye

I gotta go now
but I don’t know how
to say goodbye
I gotta walk out tall
can’t go stumble and fall
every time I hear your voice
I gotta go

Who controls the creative process: the artist or the art? The origin of this song was provoked by the unexpected death in 2018 of my sister Cathy and the deep struggle my niece Anne suffered with this sudden loss of her soulmate and mother. I had the beginnings of a chorus – I gotta go now but I don’t know how, to say goodbye – and built it up from there. But the creative process isn’t that simple. We think we’re in control. We are not.

Languish, by Mark Stock

This song has morphed and evolved into a lament for all who experience profound loss and brawl with the process of letting go, … of family who pass, of friends who move away, of lovers who move on. What accounts for the shift in the song’s direction? I can’t explain that. Nor can I impose too many limits on what is bubbling in the creative well. When lucky enough to be inspired I need to let it move where it feels the pull and just try to give it form. I think that any artist understands that tension.

This demo was recorded over the past 2 weeks in Studio B, a.k.a. my apartment in Aix. I thought it was going to be an upbeat acoustic style with my Martin D35 guitar and a bit of piano. Hated it. The acoustic guitar tracks were tossed, the the playful piano piece deleted, and what you’ll hear is a style closer to 1960s era pop, like the Hollies or the Byrds. I always loved that jangly electric guitar style.  I hope that you enjoy it as well.

To Say Goodbye will be rerecorded by my band The Vivid Stage in 2021 for the upcoming album.


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  1. Bill, enjoyed the song. I get it since I lost a sister on January 11th. She had a tough time going due to Alzheimer’s and a weak heart. While it is a relief that she is no longer suffering, there is a void to be filled.
    Take care and all the best

  2. Hi Bill, saying goodbye….can be so hard and take so long to process. So sorry to hear about Cathy’s passing and for the heartbreak of her daughter. It will be 11 years since we lost my brother Kent, sometimes I think I’ve still not processed this. I hope that Anne finds strength in memories. I was 22 when my father died and look back on that time as a time of self preservation, where I ran on autopilot and didn’t say goodbye for a very long time. Your song is a reminder to all to say goodbye in your own way. Thanks for sharing, Nanette ( It is very rare that I comment on anything) Hope your are well.

    1. Thanks for this note Nanette, your impressions mean a lot to me. As you say, we all need to say goodbye in our own way, in our time. Everyone’s grieving is different. It’s hard to believe that it was 11 years ago for Kent, wow. I hope that your staying well as well.

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