34: I Believe

34: I Believe

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

I Believe

Story by Skip Ewing

Song written by Skip Ewing and Donny Kees

Recorded by Diamond Rio

I always wanted a piano. When I first started out as a songwriter and artist, things were tight until I had a few hits. When I finally bought a house, the first thing I bought for it was an acoustic piano. The house was basically empty except for a few things in the living room and my piano.

The first night after I bought it, I played every note on that piano. I played every chord on it. I ran my fingers across the keys without playing anything. I was just in love with it. Then I played a few chords and hit the sustain pedal, then let go very quickly and then put it back on again. When you do that with an acoustic piano, you can still hear the ringing of the notes even though you aren’t playing anything.

This made me think of the energy that people put forth into the world and the effect they have. I thought to myself, when we sing a note or play a note, or write a note, it doesn’t really stop. Where does it go? Those waves, that energy — they keep going somewhere. Those notes keep ringing. In fact, they can keep ringing in people’s awareness and the choices they make down the road in their lives.

I realized there had been so many people who had an effect on me. I was able to remember their kindnesses, or I was able to gain some wisdom from what they did. I had been really touched and moved by a lot of people over the years. My grandmother and grandfather, for instance, both passed years ago, but there is still a resonance from them, just like from this piano, that rings on in me from the notes they played in my life.

I’m not talking about ghosts or anything like that, but there is a resonance of their existence that is still there. Our ancestors are still a part of us, whether we want them to be or not. They are indelibly a part of us. There’s a wonderful man whose teachings I’ve become familiar with. He often encourages us to look at our hands. He says, “If you look at your own hand closely enough, you can’t help but see your mother and your father’s hands. And if you look deeply enough, you’ll see the entire depth and breadth of your ancestry. It’s impossible to separate us from them.”

I began playing a classical melody that I knew. It had this descending movement. I played it up in the high register on the piano and it felt as if I were bringing this melody down from heaven. It just sounded very angelic to me. That stayed in the record for “I Believe.” You can hear Dan Truman play it on piano in the song.

My friend Donny Kees came over the next day. I stayed up all night and was working on this melody and I played it for him. His mother was not doing well at the time so it was really moving for him. He and I worked on it and almost finished it that day.

That song was also one that my daughter loved. For a long time, she made me play it for her so she could sleep. She said she thought it was a little sad, but wanted to hear it before she went to sleep each night.

“I Believe” was another song that sat around for several years until Diamond Rio finally cut it in 2002. Someone from Acuff-Rose Music, who I was writing for back then, eventually played it for Diamond Rio and they decided they wanted it.

The video is very interesting. There is a lady who is lying on the ground after a violent car crash and it seems like her spirit starts to leave her. But that’s the beautiful thing about sharing songs with people. Someone who hears a song often will project their own life experience into what they are hearing in order to be able to connect with it. And a director will often do the same thing. I know when I play that song live, when I sing those lines, “Every now and then, soft as breath upon my skin, I feel you come back again,” everyone responds to that. And that could mean something metaphysical, it could mean something emotional, or it could mean something even physiological. Everybody’s experience is going to be different. But I believe everyone on the planet has someone from their past that has a resonance like that.

I Believe

Every now and then

Soft as breath upon my skin

I feel you, come back again

And it’s like, you haven’t been

Gone a moment from my side

Like the tears were never cried

Like the hands of time

Were pulling you and me

And with all my heart, I’m sure

We’re closer than we ever were

I don’t have to hear or see

I’ve got all the proof I need

There are more than angels watching

Over me. I believe. . .oh, I believe.

Now when you die, your life goes on

It doesn’t end here, when you’re gone

Every soul is filled with light

It never ends, if I’m right

Our love can even reach, across-

Eternity. I believe. . .oh, I believe.

Forever, you’re a part of me

Forever in the heart of me

I will hold you even longer

If I can.

Oh, the people who don’t see the most

See that I, believe in ghosts

If that makes me crazy, then I am

’Cause I believe. . .oh, I believe.

There are more than angels watching

Over me. . .I believe. . .oh, I believe.

Every now and then

Soft as breath upon my skin

I feel you, come back again.

And I believe.

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