A Bit About The SOngs on Back To Shore…
I am shamefully familiar with the dance of infidelity. Which is not to imply I’m a tart – I have been a serial monogamist with only having had 2 spouses over the past 34 years so that hardly earns me such a moniker. (Though we won’t go into the previous 20 years!) But I do know the compelling lure of the new shiny thing, and how easily we can fall prey to crashing our ships on the shore when the sirens call. The song was sparked by the line “I know you’re thinking that the grass is greener / I can tell you it just looks that way in the spring” that came to me on a walk. Sometimes you have to build the whole song around one brick.
Love Is Everything
The chords and melody of the verse haunted me for a good year before I found the lyrics. All it took was Tom Taylor to say – “I like that!” for me to feel I should pursue it. I love the sound of the choir on it. I try to re-create it in live shows with the audience and at times by conscripting an actual choir.
Creativity is a fascinating subject to me. Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book “Big Magic” that the ideas are out there and if one lands on you, if you don’t see it through it’s going to move on to someone else. For a year I couldn’t decide whether it should be called “Busy” or “Big Idea”. At one point I thought of titling the album “What’s the Big Idea?” which Julia and James thought was the WORST idea EVER!
The loss of a loved one to dementia is heartbreaking. I had no intention of writing about it, but sometimes the music just tells you what the song is meant to be about. We were able to record the strings in one of the most beautiful concert halls I’ve ever been in – the Chan Centre and it was one of the best recording experiences of my life.
I’ll save the story for how I came to Canada for when you come to a concert, but needless to say, I am very happy I chose to do so when I was 19. Though I was quite surprised to see what was here when I arrived, it did not disappoint in being a kinder, gentler nation. I wrote it on a "stick" - 3 strings, just a few frets....you can make music on anything!
Aging is a fascinating process. We run from it, we try and hide it, we even feel some weird shame around it. What the hell? My mother always said how odd it was to feel 25 on the inside and look in the mirror and see something so different. I get it now. But on the upside, I have never felt happier, more fulfilled, and more enthusiastic about the future. Who knew?
By and By
Change comes – some inevitable like the seasons, some as a complete surprise. And some things are as predictable at the rotation of the earth – or don’t change no matter how hard you try.
So…let’s ignore all the great work we could do here to make life better on this remarkable planet we share, and spend it all on trying to get to a planet that can’t sustain human life. Excellent plan!
That's What I Thought Too
That phrase was the “Sussudio” of this album. It wouldn’t let me change it to anything else, so I had to create a vignette where that would be a logical response. The tossed off “Tomorrow you could get hit by a bus” becomes the reality for the 45 year old man I’m channeling in this song - who wishes he’d done some things differently.
Ferry Tale Jig
I seem to always need to include one instrumental on an album. This one grew out of something I’ve been doing on fiddle in live shows with a looper. We asked Sarah Frank to write a melody for it which became Ferry Tale Jig and we invited John Reischman to play on it. Then I couldn’t resist giving him my fiddle solo! I mean….it’s John! So lucky to have him.
This song went on such an interesting adventure. It started as Goodbye Little World- both a love song and an apology to this stunningly miraculous and beautiful planet we live on. But it no one really wants to go there and it came off as vaguely suicidal – WHOAH ! NOT my intention! I asked my audiences – “too dark?”. They responded - “too real”. It was at the bottom of the pick list for Julia and James and the top of mine. So I took the hint and evolved it into a lullaby. Still a love song – still an apology – but enough hope to make it sweeter and go down a little easier.