After I released my first CD "New Traditions" I asked my husband, Bill, what I should put on the next one. "Do something completely different" he advised. Well, "Breathe" certainly fits that description! The 12 original songs on New Traditions were written in the style of traditional folk songs of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Breathe has a mixture of jazz, blues, folk and rock tunes that somehow come together in a delicious, easy to listen to, CD.
I composed all the songs except Ghawdex. Ghawdex (pronounced "ah-DESH") was originally an instrumental song written by Ian Smith, who provided all the excellent guitar work on both New Traditions and Breathe. When Gary Fjellgaard heard the song he suggested that lyrics be added. Because the song was written while Ian was in Malta and was inspired by the the beautiful area of Gozo (Ghawdex is the archaic name for Gozo), I immersed myself in his many beautiful photographs of Malta while listening to the melody and came up with the present lyrics for Ghawdex. That was the first time I'd ever written lyrics to an existing tune. It was a new experience for me as I ususally write my songs lyrics and melody at the same time.
All the songs have stories of their own - I'm Not Finished Crying Yet, Frozen Heart, and Strange World were all departures from my usual style of writing; products of my growing interest in the jazz/blues genres. "Fly With Angels" is a song I've played to many live audiences and I was invariably asked if it was available on CD so I felt honour bound to my listeners to put this song on the CD. Fly with Angels was written after reading a poem my brother George wrote about making angels in the snow. It conjured up memories of making those angels, being overheated with the exertion (to say nothing of the heavy woolen snow suits we wore back then), and how the snow flakes drifed down through the gathering dusk and melted on my hot face, feeling like cool little kisses; angel kisses.
One Good Reason is an affirmation of love and dedication. Goodbye Old Friend is a retrospective look at friendship. In the Rain is a sad song; for the pure and simple reason that I was feeling sad the day I wrote it, thinking of people I knew who faced loss so bravely. Damned if She Just Walks Away is a commentary on the loss of innocence and the tangled web of addiction. Bed of Stones was originally written to be an a'capella song however I included bass on the CD version.
The title track, "Breathe", was inspired by the rhythm of the windshield wipers ("I watch the wipers scrape the bug guts off the glass...") during a long trip and has several 'driving' images. Originally the song was written without the words 'breathe' and I felt there was something missing. I am a big fan of breathing - silly as that sounds - I think none of us breathe deeply enough, slowly enough, or deliberately enough. Breathing deeply is pivotal in many vocal excercises and is a good way to give yourself a 'time out', just breathe. It sort of summed up my approach to personal growth and when I added it to the song, with it's slower tempo, it seemed to add the pacing and space the song needed as well as providing a counterpoint to the image laden and more intense lyrics.
I am very much indebted to my friends who helped me with this CD. Ian Smith whose inspired guitar interpretations brought my songs from idea to reality. Rick Slack for his amazing bass - bowed and plucked! and his serendipitous improv on 'Goodbye Old Friend'. Thank you Bert (Solar Peace Studios, Pouce Coupe, BC) for your patience and expertise. Thank you Barb (Munro) for your back up on "Fly With Angels". And expecially thank you to my husband/manager/fellow songwriter-performer Bill, for your support, honesty and for breaking trail when I got tired.
Come visit me at my website and see some photos, check out the blog, leave a comment, or see what's coming up on the calendar.