I was listening to Wogan on Radio 2 this morning. Okay… my girlfriend was listening to it, I was hovering nearby making toast. But anyway, Seth Lakeman was being interviewed. He also performed a few of his songs – including another spectacular rendition of Kitty Jay. Well, it took me back to the times we played together, and then to the songs I was writing around that time. This is a site that is documenting the creation of my new album. In fact it is currently documenting the creation of two albums. I find it interesting to reflect on the intervening years. What has changed in my approach to crafting a song?
In those heady days of the early noughties I felt I had the world in the palm of my hands. I wanted to create lush soundscapes, beautiful walls of sparkle. I wanted to take your breath away. I wrote from the heart, but I did write the lyrics in a slightly cryptic manner – I wanted to take you with me, but I wanted you to have to hear, to listen, to think.
So, what’s changed? What are my songs about today? Hmmmm. Well, I want to create lush walls of sound. I want to take your breath away. I write from the heart. But today, I don’t so strongly feel the need to hide behind the lyrics. I am who I am. I say what I say. I feel my music has come on in leaps and bounds. I am producing music that surprises me. Music that can hold its own with anything out there. But the most important thing is that the music ebbs and flows.
I have been working on the latest Eleventh Hour song today. Bill and I have a winning formula. I tend to write the music and Bill tends to write the words (with a little overlap here and there). When it comes to this album the ability to concentrate on the music has been a revelation. I have produced a collection of songs that I feel are up there with the best. I have been able to create emotions and stories with sound. And I have been so lucky to have Bill as the other half of The Eleventh Hour. He is the best lyricist I have worked with bar none. Okay, he’s the only lyricist I’ve worked with ’cause I’ve always written the words myself before – but I mean that I read his lyrics and I just think “wow”. Seriously good stuff. He’s up there with the best of them! So, I listened to our ‘album so far’ through today and it just blew me away. My music and his words are the perfect fit. The album flowed by and in a split second it was gone. Half an hour of the most intriguing, intricate, exciting music I’ve heard in a long time. And it’s mine!!! Ha ha.
So, as I was saying… I was working on the latest song today. I’ve pretty much mixed it. It has a beautiful ending. A real “heart fluttering” ending. An ending which probably places the song at the end of the album. The final track. I was mixing the song, mixing in Bill’s contribution of multiple layers of chimes and whooshing sounds… and the song became something else. Not just a song that we’ve created… from nothing. No. The song became its own entity – right before my ears. A truly gorgeous massage of sound, swirling, rising, falling and dying. Music has to die. The perfect end to what is shaping up to be my perfect album.
Anyway… I buttered the toast, Seth played Kitty Jay, and I raised a cup of tea to him. We have both come a long way in those years. A life in music is one of trials and tribulations. Of great ups and depressing downs. But one thing always remains a constant. Music is you. You are your music. Everything life throws at you becomes your music. There is no spoon. But there is always a guitar. People may ask what ‘inspires’ you to write a song. But that isn’t the right question. The question should be “to what extent does the song write you?”. It’s a loop. Chicken and egg. All the clichés. My life is laid bare via music. The new song will be posted soon. Don’t you guys let me down.