Recorded & mixed at Spey River Studio
Owen Sound Ontario
Rob Ritchie, piano
The idea for this song was provided by a long-time friend Dorette Carter and is inspired by two dear friends of hers, the revered Canadian poet Richard Outram and his wife, artist Barbara Howard. They described their five decades together as "a long conversation". Barbara died in 2002; Richard took his own life three years later.
My recollection is that Dorette told me the story in late 2005 or early 2006, and I sensed the possibility of a song pretty much right away. I have half-a-memory that Dorette herself suggested it.
The nice thing about writing a song that isn't destined for a particular project (I never intended it to be a Tfoot song, although I suppose there's no reason why it couldn't have been) is that in the absence of a deadline you have the latitude to wait for the muse to speak in the fulness of time. I worked on it off and on for the next couple of years in the van during Tanglefoot road trips. I'm not a prolific songwriter but I think I've done some of my best writing in a moving vehicle.
The lyrics were the subject of endless revision. At all cost I wanted to avoid maudlin sentimentality but I also wanted to set a scene of searing emotion. I remember even changing some lines in the studio during the vocal sessions.
Recording began in 2008. I recall singing the song for Dorette during soundcheck at a Tanglefoot show in Cobourg right around that time.
I heard recently that some of Barbara Howard's work hangs in the Tom Thomson Gallery in my hometown of Owen Sound.