Ashes to Ashtrays

Ashes to Ashtrays

Heid's picture



Liner Notes: 

This is a peppy little song I wrote this summer exploring what we leave behind when we die. I am a big fan of estate sales, both as a death acceptance supporter and as a collector of used items, so this is kind of a love letter to that overall experience. Hope you enjoy!

I keep going back and forth on the title. If you have thoughts, let me know!
We'd Get Along
Henrietta's Ashes
The Estate
(or a million other ideas and variations of these titles whoops)


Henrietta's drawing room
Cloaked in faded cotton gloom
Once the clock hit half past noon,
She'd gone

Mr. Melvin's rocking chair
Moves the once still, silent air
I wonder if we would've got along

Didn't know you in life,
But I know your ashes and dust
Your jackets and sashes and must
Ashes to ashtrays
And stuff to stuff
Your house and it's hinges and rust

Mr. Melvin's bathroom drawer
Emptied out forevermore
All the contents 2-for-4
They're gone

Walking across your kitchen floor
Plates arranged like in a store
Did you know I had the same kitchen tongs?

Didn't know you in life,
But I know your ashes and dust
Your jackets and sashes and must
Ashes to ashtrays
And stuff to stuff
Your house and it's hinges and rust

Henrietta keeps a rose
In her closet, behind her clothes
From Mr. Melvin back in '59

Now they're sleeping somewhere else
Left their house with knick-knack shelves
Full of little stories just like mine

Didn't know you in life,
But I know your ashes and dust
Your jackets and sashes and must
Ashes to ashtrays
And stuff to stuff
Your house and it's hinges and rust

I'll be like them someday, I know,
My plates arranged out in a row
They will sell my pair of kitchen tongs

A kid will think my boots are cool,
Wear them every day to school,
And they'll wonder, "would we get along?"
Well, yes, my child, I think we'd get along


Yes, my child, I think we'd get along

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


tcelliott's picture

Lots of tasty bits in this one. It's a cool subject to write about and if someone said, 'hey, listen to this song about estate sales' I probably wouldn't be intrigued. But you nailed it. The details, the angle, the melody, everything works so well together. I love the shorter lines, the phrasing you throw in. Bringing it back home to the narrator at the end is a great way to make this one feel full circle, complete. This is a good one.

Mari Flowerbalm's picture

Ashes to ashes, stuff to stuff-- brilliant, the key to the whole for me. The experience of doing estate sales/ thrifting is richly captured. Has a great feel, too, it really moves. For the title, if you want to honor the spiritual late 60s/early 70s roots of the tune, you'd title it so: Henrietta's Ashes (We'd Get Along). Subtitles in parentheses were all over my vinyl 45s. But you could do the Estate (Part 1) and then do a sequel.... Great song!

Tim Fatchen's picture

This is a fascinating and lovely look, connection with the past in a good way. Ashes and dust, jackets, sashes, must... not just inventive but catchy and hugely illustrative. A remarkable song all up. (Mari sent me here!). What a pity we're two weeks to the end of 5090. But FAWM beckons! I will watch and listen with interest.

cleanshoes's picture

Oh man, I love this! I grew up in a family of garage salers and collectors, so I feel this in my bones. The upbeat indie style is great, and I like the phrasing of the lyrics (in the chorus especially). Nice harmonies at the end. I'm personally a fan of the Ashes to Ashtrays title--it captures the content of the song as well as its playful nature.

Technicolor Gramophone's picture

Great storytelling! Really catchy music with nice vocals (chorus is an earworm), and I love the accordion solo. Quirky yet meaningful, and you couldn't have picked a more interesting topic. By the way, I'll send you an e-mail (via the "contact" thing here) later with the collab song!

billwhite51's picture

this wouldnt be out of place on sgt peppers lonely hearts club band. it has all the elementsthat made that album such a cornucopia of sounds and styles.

metalfoot's picture

The cleverness of the lyrics and the bouncy, catchy indie-rock styled music make this song just sparkle. I love the title "Ashes to Ashtrays" so consider this a vote in favour of that.

phylo's picture

The melody is catchy in the extreme. This is a lovely romp, I love the clever storyline because it's what my wife and I loved to do (before the pandemic), shop in thrift stores and estate sales. Lovely tune.

Stephen Wordsmith's picture

Something about the narrative voice and its breezy ramble through subjects great and small, it's stopping to smell the unique details and kicking off at a jaunty clip through deathly serious subjects with child-like glee... I feel I've had the experience of going through an unusually good YA novel. A short journey, but what a journey. I paticularly liked the ending, which gave us a pleasant note to meditate on and cemented the singer as someone likeable.

I think you've gone with the right title - it's a catchy subversion of a cliche that happens to encapsulate the subject. And it's always nice to have a title drop in the lyric so the listeners know what to ask for in the record store *checks notes* OK, it's not 1959 any more, but it does help tie everything up in the memory!

fresh spotless youth's picture

I really like this lyric--but then I'm especially fond of songs about the detritus of a life. (My first song this summer tackles this subject in a more plodding fashion.) I really like the way this one bounces along, and the way the lyrics tumble out with the music: "Jackets to sashes and must" is killer. As a big Bowie fan I salute your excellent Ashes to Ashes allusion. It's great how you bring yourself into the picture--and I really like the question, "Would we get along?" I'm glad you found our community, as I think it's skewing a little old these days. The real question is: What's gonna happen to all these songs we're writing? Will someone someday think they're cool?

dzd's picture

Great stuff! I was going to mention @fresh spotless youth 's first tune this summer Smile that title Ashes to Ashtrays works for me, and to me that's the "hook" of the tune too ashes to ashtrays and stuff to stuff........ a great line! A really nice vocal delivery too, its peppy yeah, but also with a tinge of melancholy that fits great with the lyric, to Mari's point too yeah a subtitle wouldn't be bad.........Ashes to Ashtrays(We'd Get Along) would be my choice, but grains of salt........just my opinion
Really dig that no tone guitar tone too btw!

Fuzzy's picture

I used to own an antique store, mostly so I could have a legitimate reason to go to a huge number of auctions and estate sales.
Wow, this is a really great rokkin track here.
And a Melodica solo, as well!
Your vox are fantastic.
A real groovy track for sure.
So catchy!
Like @dzd, I'm enjoying the flat guitar tone.
Really excellent work.

ductapeguy's picture

Stuff with memories. Yes indeed. I am loving the full band groove you are getting with your demos.

sph's picture

Besides the lyrics I like your vocal phrasing. Good song and demo