Started life one evening mid 2012 after a strange romantic experience as I was wandering up Brae Tongue by starlight. It evolved over the next couple of days on the PC in the back bedroom in mum's house.
It's been sitting in the library since then being updated every so often, most recently here in Portmahomack where I am now. John, my son (see CAB Collective) was here for a few days and played some solo guitars over it. At the time, I was trying to remain distant from it as I wanted his interptretation and not my suggested lead parts. I listened to the recorded parts a few days after he'd left and to be honest, switched them all off. There were traces of lovely guitar licks but generally they appeared, too disconnected.
However, I'd set myself a deadline for December 31st album completion, and just before christmas I took the track out planning to do a final mix/master session and stumbled on a few passages of John's solo guitar that suited the song perfectly. It took a few hours reworking to put it into a finished , compiled track but it was well worth the effort. I think you'll agree.
Strangely, the very, very last edit transpired from a conversation I was having with a woman on the internet. I wanted to know what she thought of it as I needed a final version for the album, 'Tick The Box' and wanted a second opinion. She made a few suggestions which I tried to accomodate, and which since her departure from my life a few days ago, have themselves been updated.
So, the version you hear on the 'Tick The Box' album, and the 'one step' I released last year on the internet have evolved and are quite different in many respects. Better? Well I think so but then, I wrote them.
Last october I had to make a site visit and meeting with a client in Hampshire. I flew to Gatwick, spent the day on site and later in the afternoon met with my friend Tim who lives in East Sussex.
My telephone battery died on me prior to our text conversation completing the arrangements but somehow, by magic most likely, we managed to meet up at the airport and he drove me out to my hotel nearby. He was wearing a dark split down the leg, skirt to go with his newly found femininity. We had dinner at a pub in a village near redhill somewhere and sat out in the garden away from the locals, venturing inside when it grew dark to eat dinner at a table in a discreet (middle) of the lounge.
The following day, I was on the return flight to Inverness. Somewhere high up above the clouds '10,000 feet' in my surreal day dream, I felt inspired.
When I returned home the place was empty. My friend and landlady, Lorraine, was at a music festival on the west coast for the weekend. An excellent opportunity presented itself to exploit the space and time.
It would not be passed up.
It started off with a drum, click track. I began hearing a distant melody, quite haunting and celtic in origin for sure. I was whistling it to capture it and hold it in reality long enough to puff it up into clouds and sky.
I used the nylon string, and steel string guitars to lay down a floaty, calm, gentle, rythmic backing. If you push enough buttons, you sooner or later hit sounds that fit the sense of drama (more or less) that the music is suggesting. I struggled with a few lines of verse over the weekend until Lorraine returned home.
A few days later I re-voxed a few lines, added some backing vox, printed myself a record copy and sent it to the library where it sat until late december.
Mixing and mastering 'Reference Me' was tricky as the guitar parts were deliberately bitty and needed to bind together close in the mastering yet still be unique, seperate parts.
It works for me but there's a lot going on in places. I would have loved to have had strings and real bass lines on this song. (Never mind Chris, next time maybe).
Raise The Game
I'm living in a world of spontaneous social uprising so; 'Time' to 'Raise the Game' is basically about the social state of life on the planet. About putting philosophy into practice, mobilising our global scientific understanding and knowledge and repairing all the damage we've done.
'Billions of people all over the world
focus your vision, into the whirlpool.
It's time to raise the game'.
Nobody Wins if Nobody Learns..........
Let It Shine
'Let it shine', was written soon after 'One Step' and charters the passage of meeting yet another woman on the wonderful, all powerful internet.
Sometimes people amaze me because of specific aspects or personality traits, this woman had a grin that said, everything's wonderfully perfect here and now. She had an invisible light that shone about her: I found out later that it was the effect of the 'happy pills ' she was taking on prescription.
Or was it?
Originally this woman's name appeared in the song but a later 'edit and re-vox' session eliminated it for the 'proper words'...It's a very spiritual song although in fact, I'm not religious at all. Nope, heathen that's me....Happy heathen.
Gave It All
A very John Martyn inspired composition. Not long after I arrived back in Tongue after the completion of the last contract, I received a call from a lovely woman who lived on the north coast and not that far from me. She inspired me to write 'Be True', after our first rendezvous and a few weeks later, when I realised that she wasn't really my type of gal, penned 'Gave it All'.
Gave it All was written in the evening sun as it set over Ben Hope with the kyle of Tongue in the foreground calmly reflecting golds and pinks and reds from the sky. I mean, this is a truely inspirational place on our lovely planet, if you can write original material anywhere this is where you'd write it best.
'This frozen, empty place, lost in time and space forever'.
This track makes me laugh. I had fun writing and playing this into the machine, probably too much. I released it soon after writing it because it was so energetic and made me feel like dancing so hoped it would make everyone else on the planet dance too.
I tried to make it mean something and not jus be a pop rock song. So why the remix? For the same reasons that I took everything else out of the library and remixed it. I wanted it to be the best it could be when the album went out. That's OCD behaviour I'm displaying; but look, I'm just me but I need it to sound like five people sometimes.
Thank god (?) for electronics...
This is just me and the nylon strings with a click track for guidance. I wrote this one night in bed. When I found I couldn't sleep, I grabbed the nearest guitar and sat there strumming for a few minutes. It happened almost instantly, just began singing the chorus line and within an hour had penned the whole thing. The effects of pure, starry night skies.
The remix deleted a whole verse to get it down to a reasonable 4 minutes. I added the harmony vox to thicken it up a bit and give some texture. (This your song Dr. Jane thing).
I watch a lot of rolling news some days, especially this last year while the 'Arab Spring' was in full flow. Seeing these pictures of war and destruction, live and real is quite disheartning for a pacifist such as me. Seeing pictures of dislocated peoples herded like sheep into canvas cities and forgotten. Their stories of friends and family executed on the streets in front of them. Horrid, morbidity. The worst of our kind. It's been going on forever but is so, very pointless.
We have all this wonderful technology yet we still can't stop famine, poverty and war. What's happening? Where is love? Wake up!!!!!
Tick The Box
I began writing this in the kitchen in Tongue, and finished it here in 'the Port' some days later.
I re-voxed it twice and just couldn't make it sound completely a hundred percent. It's another one that could really be shaped properly with punchy bass guitar and a rock piano like 'Rolling Stone' off the 'Change The World' album. Hellish to mix without; but it's near enough.
It's about growing up with my friends and living the life and then having to consider becoming a number where 'my' opinion and point of view is restricted to a calculated answer to a calculated question.
It has a bit of the Beatles' , 'Lady Madonna' running through it in places which was fun. It being the title track I didn't want it to be depressive at all. No, I needed the opposite, a decent, up-tempo, rock and roll song. Dancing! Just what the doctor ordered.
Tick the box and Be Happy.
This is a romantic first encounter song. A walk along an empty, white duned beach in the november chill, with the wind whipping about us.
First encounters are amazing aren't they. That's what inspiraton is all about. That feeling of spinning and dreaming and being so happy.
Thank you for reading this.
As usual, my most humble gratitude for your participation in my world and your contribution to original music. If you bought the singles (roughs) on .mp3 already on the net, thanks. Please accept my apology for the lesser quality of those versions.