Chris Eldridge

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Keep Me From Blowing Away

Singing and Communicating Emotion

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Keep Me From Blowing Away > Singing and Communicating Emotion

To me, the essence of singing is communicating emotion. If you can find a song that you can relate to, that you can really get behind then you'll be able to sing it well, because the medium of song is uniquely suited to communicating emotions. Lots of people get confused and think that singing in tune, or having beautiful tone is what it's about. Those things are great (and there's certainly nothing wrong with either of them) but it's important that your priorities stay in the proper order: feel and communicate the emotion, then worry about the technical details of singing.





Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:
Chris Eldridge
Keep Me From Blowing Away
Linda Ronstadt
The Seldom Scene

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Run-Through of Keep Me From Blowing Away


Well I spent my whole lifetime

In a world where the sunshine

Finds excuses for not hangin' 'round


I squandered emotions

On the slightest of notions

And the first easy loving I found


But soon all the good times

The gay times and play times

Like colors run together and fade


Oh Lord if you hear me

Touch me and hold me

And keep me from blowing away


There's times when I trembled

When my mind remembered

The days that just crumbled away


With nothing to show

But these lines that I know

Are beginning to show in my face


Oh Lord if you're listening

I know I'm no Christian

And I ain't got much coming to me


So send down some sunshine

Throw out your lifeline

And keep me from blowing away


Oh Lord if you hear me

Touch me and hold me

And keep me from blowing away


Loop 1:27 The Essence of Singing is Communicating Emotion

Loop 7:10 Capturing the Intent and Emotions of "Keep Me From Blowing Away"

Loop 12:52 Closing Thoughts

Loop 14:56 Outro





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Joe Wilson
Joe Wilson Aug 23, 2019

Joe Wilson
Joe Wilson Aug 23, 2019

My 2 year old daughter and I got in the habit of listening to acoustic music while she “helps“ make breakfast on weekend mornings. We listen to the Avalon album a lot and this has always been one of the standout songs for us. She’s always talking about stuff blowing away (because she’s always dropping stuff and we live in tornado central) so we both relate to the emotion you put into the song. 

Mike Caren
Mike Caren Aug 23, 2019

Beautiful.  Great singing and playing!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Oct 17, 2019


Great, heartfelt rendition! I was really feeling it the whole time. I also really dug the way you ended it. Cool and unexpected. Really I just have one minor suggestion:

The chord after the D minor (for example, at 1:33 or 3:53) is should still be a full D minor on top, just with a C note in the bass. It sounds like you're letting the B string ring open, which, while not technically wrong, doesn't make for as strong of a gesture in my opinion.

Otherwise, it sounds honest and good. Can't beat that! 

lewis Apr 09, 2016

Hi Chris,

Thanks so much for a great lesson (they're all great obviously) .... I hadn't heard this song before and really love it, and have been hunting down as many different versions of it I can find to see how different people have approached it. It's a challenge for me because really when it comes to singing I'm more of a "belter" and this song clearly needs that plaintive, earnest approach. My voice sounds kind of lacking in definition in that mode so it;s something I need to work on. This is a great song to do that with.

Any input gratefully received!



Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Apr 11, 2016

Hi Lewis, you have a great voice and great vocal control! I like your version, but my first suggestion to make it less "belt-y" would be to drop it down a half step to C. The lower key will make it sound a little darker.

The other thing that you might try is speaking the lyrics of the song a few times while you play through the chords. Try to find a natural cadence and expressiveness that way. See if that informs how you sing it.

Alex B
Alex B Mar 29, 2016

Hey Chris,

Thanks for taking us in-depth on singing here! Not to completely side-step the thesis of the video but I was wondering if you had any advice on some of the best ways to improve singing pitch/smoothing out notes. Linking my voice to my ear is something I've struggled with for a while and has often kept me from singing confidentally live. I'll be sure to post a video soon so you can here where I'm starting off, but any tips or "swing thoughts" in the meantime would be greatly appreciated.



Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Apr 11, 2016

Hey Alex, sorry for the delay in answering this! Somehow it got through the last round of answers without me seeing it!

I have 2 tools that have helped me with pitch:

1. Record yourself singing and immediately review. All the better if you're playing guitar at the same time so that you have a stable pitch reference to judge your voice against. Listening back will keep you honest.

2. Try singing against a drone. Any iphone app that has a pitch pipe function works for this.

Good luck!


James McCann
James McCann Mar 28, 2016

Hi there Chris, I didn't want to waste your time by putting the whole song because I know it could be long; the advice you gave was great and really helps me as a singer song writer because pulling emotions make the song's meaning really come to life and hit home. Great lesson, thanks again!

James McCann
James McCann Mar 28, 2016

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 28, 2016

James, you have a beautiful voice! Great to hear you sing this. One quick word of feedback: make sure you're actually saying all of the words. Sometimes the first word of the phrase can get dropped or swallowed (I'm as guilty of this as anyone), but you want to try and get all of the little words in there. 

Kip Marchetti
Kip Marchetti Mar 25, 2016

Dude you're a great teacher and the song is so lovely. Your words in regards to singing mean a lot because you're such a great performer as well BUT ... and there is always a but when it comes to me .... I don't sing much because I don't consider myself much of a singer, no range,  which is a deadly combination when coupled with an inability to do magical tricks on an acoustic guitar (other than what I have recently learned from you). When I do sing, my only option is to try and sell it through emotion ... and my kids still usually tell me jokingly don't give up my day job ... ha ha ... which I never had any intention to do in the first place. I don't know where I'm going with this other than to say thanks for the lesson Chris ... I think it was an important one ... and you can bank on me eventually posting a video of me trying to sing this beautiful song.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 27, 2016

Right on Kip! Thanks for the kind words and I look forward to that video!

Bruce Dumes
Bruce Dumes Mar 25, 2016

Hey Chris! This is a really great lesson! I hadn't been working on the song, but when I saw the subject was singing and communicating emotion, I had to watch it. Your voice is terrific on this song; you remind me of Gram Parsons in the way you emote. I don't think this song would be so good for my voice, so I picked another one. Apologies. ;-) 

This is certainly one of my favorite songs and I think some of the most emotional yet subtle lyrics ever written. The silence of a falling star, lights up a purple sky. And as I'm wonderin' where you are, I'm so lonesome I could cry. Whew. Makes me teary just to type it. Curious to hear what you think. Couldn't help but show off my new distortion pedal t-shirt. 

Thanks a lot for the really great lesson! 



Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 28, 2016

Bruce, it's hard to argue with I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry! Great job on the singing. I can really feel what you're putting out: "the lonesome," as it were. 

Since you've got the emotional thing happening, let's look at the singing, melodic side of things. Sometimes you stop and take a big breath in the middle of a phrase. Try humming through the song once, thinking in bigger, connected phrases. Try recording this. Listen back to hear what sounds good to you musically. Do this until you have a sense of how to hum/sing the melody in a way that is musically satisfying to you. Then try putting that together with the words. 

Bruce Dumes
Bruce Dumes Mar 28, 2016

Hey Chris. Thanks for the great feedback! You know, it really gives me pause. I was talking to someone the other day who does rap, and I asked him how you do it, and he said really quietly, like he was letting me in on a big secret, and he said, "It's knowing when to breathe." So...taking that, and thinking that the lines of a song are like an actor reading lines -- knowing when to breathe is part of the meaning of the phrase. 

Ok, I'm thinking out loud, but I'm understanding what you are saying, I think. Thanks a lot, Chris. That is extremely helpful. 

judson Mar 25, 2016

you did a great job communicating that song, not sure who's it is, but i don't think you could write a happy song to that beat any way...

in the end, i don't think a sad song is sad because of the words... I listened to this song initially in the background without even paying attention to what was being said... I almost didn't even given it a chance because i wasn't wanting to dwell on a down song... I just don't think i could every write anything that slow... and especially put words to it... 

but anyhey, I enjoyed hearing your thoughts...

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 27, 2016

Hey Judson, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You make a good point that it would be pretty hard to write a happy song to the music of Keep Me from Blowing Away! That said, for me as a performer it's the words that really pull me into that emotional place of desperation and desolation that I want to convey to the listener and have them feel.

Paul Craft wrote this song among many others including the awesomely titled "Drop Kick Me, Jesus, Through the Goalposts of Life."

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