Dancing in the Ashes

Dancing in the Ashes

Russ Keys's picture
Artist Favorite



Liner Notes: 

To all you guitar players out there, my apologies. This song is a pastiche of GarageBand guitar samples. It is also a rework of the previous song I posted.
It speaks to the feelings I have about climate change and living next to some of the biggest wildfires California has had. We get the fall out both of ash and homeless people and it has changed our community.


Change is never easy
The old ways must die
It requires sacrifice
The fire has taken another town
Homeless people are wandering around

We’re dancing in the ashes
Of a civilization as it crashes
around us, its coming down

There’s talk about rebuilding
and staying strong
Meanwhile, we party in the park
and pretend that nothing’s wrong

We’re dancing in the ashes
We’re dancing in the ashes

Ashes to ashes, we all fall down
Ashes to ashes, falling on the ground

There’s homeless people camping in the park
and dancing in the ashes
ashes, ashes, ashes, ashes

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


kahlo's picture

Love the groove! You’ve mastered GB! And compelling important lyrics! That hook and chorus are great!

billwhite51's picture

good depiction of complacency, one of americas dominant traits

cindyrella's picture

Oh I love this! Very disco and yet something more too. Great song!

Hypnotist's picture

I like the way the music and the words sit against each other - there is something really complacent about disco - certainly no soul-searching, so it seems really appropriate. Love that electric guitar sound actually, don't know if that makes me a philestine. Really good song.

Russ Keys's picture

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I think being a philestine is just fine. I often find myself in that role too. Smile
I was pleased that GB had some good guitar sounds to choose from.

Sunfire's picture

Everything about this is good. Yes, the music depicts complacency or unbothered by what's going on and the words of course paint a very different picture.
Your ability to weave the two into one is beautifuly done but sad when the reality hits.

Russ Keys's picture

Thanks so much. Your music has these qualities too. I really appreciate when people can hear that juxtaposition.

Jerry Pettit's picture

I'm trying to stretch my wings a little lately--you've inspired me to dig through all those sample packs I've bought over the years and try and put something like this together. This is really very well-made and you've mixed it perfectly so that everything comes through.

Very nice--I'm inspired!

Kristi's picture

This has a nice groove. The music elements all sound really cool. The lyric has a good message and those lines ring true as to what's happening.

Russ Keys's picture

Thanks for listening. Sorry the smoke from our fire got all the way over to you.

dzd's picture

This is a really excellent lyric! Touching on the complacency and willfull ignorance and unwillingness to change here. Juxtaposed nicely with the upbeat music! Great track I really enjoyed.

I'm in Oklahoma and sun even got blotted out here, much like that picture of yours. It was weird, becaues it wasn't from our own dust storms or prarie fires for once, it was a totally different color hahaha.

Russ Keys's picture

Thanks for listening and commenting. Sorry you had to breath our smoke :-P

KateStantonSings's picture

“We’re dancing in the ashes
We’re dancing in the ashes
Ashes to ashes, we all fall down
Ashes to ashes, falling on the ground”
Creative mixing in GB—loving these lyrics. I’m sorry California and the NW has had so many fires lately. A friend of mine in Athens, Greece had to evacuate his home/music studio due to wildfires there last month. It’s heartbreaking, but I am glad you’re able to create beauty from ashes with music!!

Russ Keys's picture

Thank you! I'm glad you can appreciate the creativity out of ashes part. Fortunately, I personally haven't been burned out (yet) but we have to breathe the smoke for months on end. It's a challenge when you can't open a window.

wobbie wobbit's picture

i don't know garage band so i don't know how much it takes to assemble those sounds but it all hangs together very nicely. i love the imagery of this song... i sometimes feel that as muscians that is what we are doing in these times... dancing in the ashes.. i feel like we are the band on the Titanic playing on as the ship sinks.

Russ Keys's picture

I agree! We follow in the tradition of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
Garage Band makes it super easy to plug in sounds and use them this way. I liked some of the guitar sounds so much I bought an electric guitar to try to extend my palette of sounds.

elesimo's picture

This is great, Russ! As a musician, (ex-) climate scientist and fellow California resident, it hits all the spots! Groovy, relevant and catchy!

Mandolinda's picture

Just loving all the GarageBand possibilities before 50/90 is over.my next goal.