Although David Singley may best be known as a guitarist, with past gigs ranging from orchestra pits for various Broadway musicals, to appearing with many jazz and pop music greats. However, the single “Change Gonna Come” expresses Singley’s singer/songwriter side. Yes, there is also guitar on it, but this track is much more about its lyrics and Singley’s singing of it.
The track begins with a simple guitar riff, which is a little folk-ish. This leads into a group chorus vocal. This large group of singers sing Singley’s words about the inevitability of change. The track features extremely sparse percussion at first. In fact, in places it sounds nearly like an acapella piece. This is not, by the way, Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Even though both these songs express similar sentiments, they’re not at all about the same things. Whereas Cooke’s song of an almost same name spoke to the aims of the Civil Rights Movement, Singley’s lyric is far more about change in general. Rather than being social/political, as Cooke’s piece was, Singley is far more philosophical. It’s as though Singley has come to peace with the changes happening in life. Also, Cooke’s song was all about looking forward to positive change. Racial restrictions would end, and freedom would eventually come to black Americans. Singley’s song is not quite so focused. He has no eye on any prize, so to speak. Instead, he’s just putting himself into the right frame of mind to accept any and all changes that may come his way.
Although percussion is extremely limited at the track’s beginning, it builds up significantly, including shakers and bongo-ish drumming, toward the song’s end. It’s a relatively simple recording. It doesn’t change chord structures and tempos the way many pop songs do, but almost sounds like a continuous African chant, instead. Granted, Singley enunciates it clearly, like the good Minnesota native he is, but he’s surrounded himself with a sonic that could very well pass for a song found in The Lion King.
If anybody knows about change, it’s a musician like Singley. Unlike probably most other humans on the planet that work nine to five jobs, where many times one day is just like the other, musicians must be quite prepared for multiple life changes. In the gig economy, one must always be looking for the next job while working the current one. Perhaps this song lyric is performed for Singley’s own benefit. Maybe he needs to be reminded of the ever-changing nature of his chosen career. In fact, the song’s chorus plays out a little like a mantra. It’s as though, if it’s repeated enough, peace about it all will eventually set in. Or at least that’s what one hopes.
“Change Gonna Come” is the perfect song to play first thing in the morning. Block out all distractions and focus your attention on a day that may hold unexpected positives and negatives. Whether the day brings good or bad, it’s going to be okay. The only thing that’s constant in this life, after all, is change.