Monday, September 6, 2010

Justin Roberts "Sand Castle" (2006)

I know Christian has mentioned before having ah-ha moments when listening to songs and finally really "hearing" the lyrics. This happened to me this week as I had the children's music writer/singer Justin Roberts on. On one of the slower songs on his album "Meltdown" (2006) I suddenly heard words that I realized were talking about dying.


Justin Roberts is known as a Children's Indie Rock singer/songwriter. While trying to make it in the Indie Rock Adult world with a group called 'Pimentos for Gus' in the 1990's, he took a day job in a preschool. Taking his guitar to entertain the kids, he began writing songs for them and produced his first album "Great Big Sun" (1997). Still unsure of his path, he headed to the University of Chicago to pursue a Ph.D. in religious studies. The music writing continued and was getting more attention than his studies, soon turning Roberts into a full fledged rocker with 7 albums released to date.

Many interviewers denote that Justin's music is often adored by adults as well as kids. Themes range from milestones such as getting glasses and picture day at school, to family dynamics of moving and sibling relationships with the song my kids love, 'My brother did it'.

Robert's isn't afraid to tackle the tough subjects either, as in 'Sand Castle' the song I was listening to with my kids. He wrote this song for a friend who lost his Mom. The music is mellow and slow and has a sorrow about the melody. In fact, I think it was this sense of sadness that made me stop to hear what the words were saying. The imagery is subtle, telling about this child and father out at the beach remembering and saying goodbye to the child's mom. The last lines "She slipped through our hands/Just like a balloon returns to the sky/So Dad and I/Knew you’d be somewhere out in the sea/In a million sandcastles to be"

I think kids are a unique population when it comes to dealing with death and loss, so to have stumbled across another possible resource was a delight. I'd be interested if anyone knows of other children's music that deals with death?

I've posted the song below to listen to with the lyrics here. For email/rss subscribers you may need to head to the original post site to hear the song (Scroll to the bottom of the page)

Sand Castle (2006)
Dad and me went out to the sea
Just to build it, just to build it
We dug our hands down in the sand
Then we filled it, then we filled it

Till you were just a sandcastle
When we watched you in front of those waves
That was like a real hassle
But you were beautiful and brave
You stood like a sandcastle
And I’ll never forget that day
I’ll never forget that day

We sang ba ba ba…

Dad and I heard planes in the sky
Engines roaring, engines roaring
We built a bridge and castles so high
They were soaring, they were soaring

Till you were just a sandcastle
When we watched you in front of those waves
That was like a real hassle
But you were beautiful and brave
You stood like a sandcastle
And I’ll never forget that day
I’ll never forget that day

We sang ba ba ba…

We didn’t want you to go
We just thought you should know
She slipped through our hands
Just like a balloon returns to the sky
So Dad and I
Knew you’d be somewhere out in the sea
In a million sandcastles to be

We sang ba ba ba…

Justin Roberts -web- -Facebook- -Twitter @MusicianJustin- -YouTube-

2 Responses to “Justin Roberts "Sand Castle" (2006)”

Alifrumcally said...
September 7, 2010 at 7:56 AM

This song is so pretty and sad. It brings so many things to mind. The parents I am working with who are losing their 7-day-old, the friend who lost her mom last month, even the couple who just got married after 20 years of friendship. I can definitely see this being put to use at grief camps, as so many of them use water, sand, balloons/sky in their metaphors and rituals. Thank you for sharing!


Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC said...
September 7, 2010 at 8:59 AM

So gentle and meaningful. Just lovely. Thank you so much . . . ♥