It dawned on me this week that its been 20 years since I’ve been writing songs. Over that time I’d like to think that I’ve learnt a few things about music composition and myself. I’ve always loved creating and over the years I’ve enjoyed painting, sculpture, and various genres of writing, but nothing has been as rewarding as seeing the germ of an idea travel through the universe of my heart, mind and soul into a song. It is a thing of wonder. At one point in time I was meticulous in keeping records of my work. Dates and places. Not so meticulous about equipment. I’ve worked with a variety of keyboards on the low bracket and three guitars. I’ve worked closely with one songwriting partner for a period but mostly alone. The gift and the curse is that an idea can take over your life. You persue it, in or out of pocket, whether its affordable to dream it into reality or not. You dream about what a song can be when given its wings. I’ve studied the work of many songwriters, famous and obscure, but when I create, its from the blood of my soul. This year I had the pleasure to complete the recording of a song that meant a lot to me at this stage in my life. I had to wait almost two years to get the artist I wanted to breathe more beauty into what was already the apple of my eye. I still can’t say I’m done with it but the journey is its own reward. I feel fortunate to have written it and the hundreds of others. I am also grateful for the people who have helped me in collaboration. Musicians and engineers. Friends and hired hands. The inspiration has come from every conceivable thought, memory, feeling,…all corners of the human experience. I thank God for my inner ears and the organs that work together with the spirit in me. Curtis Mayfield is one of my many teachers, and I know I wouldn’t have become the songwriter I am without the lessons I learnt from the craftsmanship of masters like him.
Track 9 sounds like trauma passed down Atlantic waters, translated in generations (deep waters are shallow too) by the ignoble scribe. Sounds like holocaust left overs compressed into psychic muscle memory. And the denial is also in the DNA. It sounds like guilt and complicity, because when you suffer long enough you forget that you were once innocent, until you pass by the time that passes by the mind’s eye and come to find that you were never so pure. Holy water flushes your insatiable appetite’s indulgence down to sewage glamour. Survival tastes good when your hungry to exist. The years have had you fooled in the fix of first impressions and belly butterflies. You were born old. You harbour generations (shallow waters hold secrets just as full as fear’s skeletal bones). It’s the itch you can’t scratch off your skin that seemingly condemns you in the reflected gaze of the beholder that holds your imagination captive. Now if only you were born young….Maybe the hump wouldn’t sound so steep. And generations of blood forced out of flesh, left without the host of a body to call their own, might take refuge in the agony and misery and pain projected and regurgitated, in your walking vegitated, agitated, itching, scratching, sloganeering, facade of pride, you are still a conversion in progress. A baptism of unspeakable things. A revolting revolution of ideas. You are upside down and inside out obviously. And you are not on a road or a river. You areally a floating gestation, gesticulating in the clumsy circus act of the affairs of the heart. Traumatic as hoarded desires. What you want might free you. It might kill you too if you weren’t already dead as the night. Black as the opposite. Night as the brightness of attractive opposites. Repeating words like mistakes, like lives repeating, mistakes like words that oppose what is being said, meaning and metre, timbre and diction, tonality and terror, black as light hidden in misread signals, come hither, black knight as white as right that rides a pale horse into the dark night, homeless night, lonesome night, thoughtful fears of what that night could be for us on the otherside of mourning.