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Spare Yourself

from Vessels by John Greer

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Sometimes when you’re talking about someone else you really only end up revealing things about yourself. This is a breakup song to be sure, but we don’t actually get to hear much about the relationship. Instead we see the narrator with the fingerprints of the breakup all over, but how full a picture can we get with only seeing the change affected in someone? How reliable can we be when narrating our own stories?

The opening moments of this song was the seed of this entire project. Just hearing that IV-I chord in a new tuning unlocked a lot for me artistically (the tuning, btw, is Open C: CGCEGC). Getting out of standard tuning (or you could even think of it as playing a new instrument) can help breathe new life into the ole I IV V chords. I like to think this work proves (to me, mostly) that these chords have power and should not be overlooked or downplayed when building something structurally sound.

Co-writing credits: Hello My Old Heart by The Oh Hellos; Michigan by The Milk Carton Kids; The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown.


I must have missed it when you said you were over it
You’d be surprised to see how well I would’ve taken it
When you spare someone your true feelings you’re just really sparing yourself
So go spare yourself

You must have meant it when you joked about it with him
I forced a laugh to smooth the path to our white picket
When you spared me of your true feelings
You were really sparing yourself
So go spare yourself

I’ve never been so sure
Of anything or anyone before
And that’s when you left me

Thought I had you pinned down
Well I guess I know better now
The southern wind was calling

I never noticed how my heart did stop beating then
A safety tactic to prevent all this from happening
When I learned to spare my true feelings
I was really sparing myself
I guess you taught me pretty well


from Vessels, released August 4, 2023
Writing, performing, engineering, and producing by John Greer
Recorded at home in Atlanta, GA


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John Greer Atlanta, Georgia

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