Looking Inside the “Wishin’ Well”

"Mannequin ladies are yesterday's babies...stood up in the window alone"

“Mannequin ladies are yesterday’s babies…stood up in the window alone”

“Hope flies from the Wishing Well when you find your way back home…

like the Mannequin Mister who reached out to kiss her,

from an old shiny penny once thrown.” ~ Chip Murray, Wishing Well

I wrote Wishin’ Well in 2002 from the perspective of the “Mannequin Mister” who had fallen in love with a department store mannequin of all things…

Imagine a window that looks out on a sunrise                                                                 that shines on all of your dreams.                                                                                          Like a friend who can feel you, but don’t want to steal you                                       from the places where you’re meant to be. 

But on this side of the glass, she seemed trapped, suspended and forbidden the luxury of dreams. It was as if she had only just shed the final tear of hope that precedes the eternal echo of the last closing door, before I came along. Everything appeared so well-ordered and perfectly placed and yet, I felt the tear and the hurricane wind.  I felt her reaching from inside her frozen form…

Who is to say “where we’re meant to be”? Some people pop out of the womb like bloodhounds and never lose the trail, while others lose the scent gradually…slowing from the animated limber to the stiffer crawl before the final sleep.

Hope dies in the wishing well                                                                                                    when you’re so far away from your home.                                                                          Mannequin ladies are yesterday’s babies…                                                                      stood up in the window alone.

If there was only one word I could use to describe the message of this song, it would have to be hope. If I were allowed a second, then it would have to be honesty which, as Billy Joel once sang, “…is such a lonely word”. To free her required the shattering of a glass that could never be put back together again, leaving shards that follow…

Bluegrass pickers taught me a wonderful term of endearment they use to express the experience of hitting the musical sweet spot where the player and the audience become one. Ironically, the term is “lonesome”.  It was our producer Rave Tesar’s favorite track of 14 tracks. There were times towards the end of the “final mix” sessions; I would catch Rave alone in the studio sitting back listening to Wishin’ Well in the head phones smiling. And it was the simplest track; Pete’s bass, Steve’s Mandolin and my guitar captured an intimacy that seemed to come from inside the well.

So break through that window and breathe in the fresh air; open your heart; open your eyes and take this lonesome penny for your ears!


Chip Murray: Wide Awake

About Chip Murray

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