While I’m working on albums – three currently, I thought I’d release some of my catalogue, songs I’ve worked on a while, and some new ones. They’re acoustic, guitar-driven songs with simple arrangements. Most are sung and produced by a fellah I’ve got enormous respect for – Trav Bryant. What Trav can’t do or doesn’t know about music is not worth knowing! I’m very grateful to Trav for giving me a voice, the chance to bring songs to life before I learned more about how to do it myself.
I’ve submitted the album for review on Indie Band Guru, a paid service but Keith was great help on my first two albums and I appreciate the publicity. Here are the song notes I prepared for him:
Never Be Friends
Written for my first wife. We met in a café in Brisbane after our divorce to sign the papers. It felt so weird – so close but so distant. I wish we could have remained as friends, but we couldn’t be. We had too much history, and I felt too much for her, even though the divorce was my fault. Why does marriage have to be so formal, so legal? Can’t we work it out some other way?
Crossed The Line
About breaking the rules, crossing the imperceptible line between OK and ‘not OK’, and how fine that line is. I wrote this about the making the shift from thinking about myself as a “day job” guy to a writer/musician – a mental shift with few physical signs but a potent new way of thinking. Like, if I get fired – it’s OK, I’m still a writer. I’ve got no choice but do this. I want to live my life on my own terms, not someone else’s. ‘Two Thieves’ from a previous album is in the same vein.
Only Man Alive
Written for my first girlfriend. We both had a lot of problems, and baggage, and then there was the pressure of being first boyfriend and first girlfriend. My family gave me shit – even while they were breaking up, and she had some dude admirer consstantly hanging around, and school tongues were always wagging. Felt like a shit fight, a battle, and it brought us closer – relying on each other, only on each other. And we discovered sex. I walked taller because I knew she cared.
Give Me Mercy
About my depression, and the support and love of my wife, Simone. I got the line from Walking Dead – a TV show about zombies, but I mean it differently! This is about unconditional love and acceptance – which I never expected. Gratefulness for being accepted and loved, even though I fight my demons every day. She gives me peace, hope, finds a little space I can breathe in.
Not Coming Over
Written with my best mate, HG, in mind. We went through a lot together as young men – lots of booze, women, and broken hearts. This is me sitting with HG through a breakup, getting drunk together, trying to ease his mind, make him feel OK, knowing the awful truth but trying to soften it, make it palatable. The pain of knowing there’s nothing I can do. I submitted this song once and the reviewer said it was boring, wasn’t about anything. Fuck them. HG liked it. He knew.
Wrote It Down
Tough song to write. A combination of my parent’s breakup and the end of my own first marriage. Both involved personal writing that was accidentally discovered – a diary, and a drunken poem. This is about wanting things to go back, to be as they were, to rewrite (literally) history, to unsee what has been seen, written down in black and white. Once something is written down it becomes more real somehow. A reviewer dissed the song because I wrote ‘lie if you’ve got to/but give it to me straight’. Obviously, theyhad never been through this. Someone can be lying about details but still telling the truth about what’s going to happen next. I still think that’s the best line in the song – ironically, the most truthful.
Written for my wife (Simone) who is a chronic worrier. A song of acceptance and understanding – I get you, it’s cool, worry if you have to, I’ll be around anyway. Don’t worry about me or us, at least. Please.
A dark song about climate change. It doesn’t matter what we want, think, believe, or deny – it’s coming. Even if we act today and cut emissions to zero, things will still get worse. Not as bad as they could’ve been, but still worse. We’re in a horrible situation, and we haven’t accepted that, yet. It’s time we faced up. If we’re not going to fix it, we’re going to wear it, and our kids will suffer worse. It’s coming no matter what – it’s coming anyway. Love the line “I’m the god you made me”. Because we made this.
We Don’t Fight
A twist song. Couples should always agree, right? Be happy and never argue. But arguments are inevitable and natural – silence is a quicker death than disputes – as long as they are respectful. Moni (Simone) and I started rough – lots of fights as we worked through our baggage. This song was a reaction, acknowledgement of that – this is OK. We’re worth fighting for. I recognized the silence anddistance of my parents marriage and what that led to. They only fought right at the end, and by then it was too late.
Tied To The Shore
I wrote this sitting by a lake, and saw a boat tied up, empty. It was a long way to the other side, and seemed too far to go. Seemed to me a good analogy for stepping out and trying something new –songwriting in my case. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Being tied to the shore is safe, practical, respectable even – but not what I want, which is way over there, on the other side. I can complain asmuch as I want but that won’t get me across.
One More Last Time
A sad song, reminiscing. I was thinking about my Grandma writing this. I’d give anything to see her just one more time and talk a while. She always had a way of making me feel welcome and accepted, even if the whole world seemed against me. If I’d known that was the last time…
Checking The Weather
A song about hating my day job, which I do. Looking out the window, seeing the weather, but tied to a desk when I ache to be outside, free to walk and write and be myself. A desperate call for freedom. Anything is better than this. Booze and anti-depressants help but that lonely void is still there.
After the breakup of my first marriage – which was my fault – I felt shamed and alone. But my family gathered around me, even though I didn’t deserve it. This song is about that – about feeling part ofsomething, being accepted when I didn’t expect to be. Although she wasn’t much in my life at that time, my Grandma was again in my mind writing this, because I felt she accepted me, and got me, more than anyone else.
I travelled a lot as a kid and this about that experience. In the 70s, I went to my first disco – a school event, and danced with a girl for the first time – Dancing Queen, of all songs! Coming from PNG, I didn’tknow the song, but she did and she could dance. The romance is fictional, but I do remember the pool in Armidale – the freezing cold water and glorious hot cement. Dumb hearts get left behind. I’ve got adumb heart, quick to love.
Arms of the Man Who Loves You
A simple love song about connecting with someone and wanting to wrap them up, safe from the worldoutside, being and staying in that moment, no matter what’s going on outside. Acceptance, love, protection, and safety.
Just A Man
A song about being a “quiet” man and loving someone. An acceptance of my limitations – I can’t alwaysfind the right words, or the way to say them. But that doesn’t mean I feel less, don’t have the feeling.Words come easier to me now but at the time it was hard expressing myself.
Love Is Love
Acceptance. Why does anyone care who someone loves, but that they do love someone apart from themselves? Colour is a skin pigment, literally skin deep. This song comes from a favorite saying of a great friend, open heart, and joyful marriage celebrant – Jilly. Like Jilly, I don’t have an issue with anyone – colour, race, or creed, as long as they treat others with respect. We all love the same. This song is about that – accepting and loving people and all life, as equals and fellow travelers. We are lucky to be alive, and so are they. We should respect that more.
Love is love. Hope you enjoy it.