Confessions

They Say (Lyrics)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time I said

I’m going to keep my cool

Not going to lose my head

Not going to play the fool

And that four letter word

I will not speak

The one that starts with “L”

And ends with “E”

 

Chorus:

But everywhere I go

People seem to know

Just what I’m not speaking of

And they say…. They say

“You must be in love”

 

Stopped by a café

One Saturday afternoon

I had a smile on my face

I was humming a tune

And the barista said

As she poured my brew

“You must have someone

Who is very good to you”

 

Chorus:  Oh everywhere I go…

 

Strolling in the park

He was by my side

When a man and wife

Came cycling by

And they called out

“Love looks good on you,

We know just how it feels

‘Cause we’re still in love too”

 

Chorus

 

Had my neighbour’s child

Sitting on my knee

She was asking about

That man and me

I said “He’s just a friend”

But then she called my bluff

She said, “Do you mean

That man you love?”

 

Chorus (double)

 

New album release

It’s been a long journey, but I am thrilled to be releasing my second album, “Borderless Sky”. A project like this is always intensely personal, but it also involves many other people along the way to bringing it into being.

There are 8 tracks, ranging from the romantic to the lively and humorous. Songs like “They Say” and “Traces of You” are classic jazz, and feature piano and trumpet, recalling the style of Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. There’s an intimate bossa nova tune called “Here I Go Again”, and a cheerful horn and piano track called “Feels Like Breathing.”

Alongside the jazz there are tracks that branch into other styles too. “Ribbons and Bows” is a toe tapping fiddle tune with laugh out loud lyrics about one couple’s ongoing conversation, which ranges from stilettos to breast implants. “Backcountry Blues” and “Saying Goodbye” are guitar ballads, full of lush images and invitations to lose yourself in summer days and fields full of dew. The title track, “Borderless Sky” features a slide guitar and story about love at the most unexpected moment.

It’s been a wonderful journey to make this album. Collaborating with trumpet player Fred Palidor, bass player Steve Smith, guitarists Flavio Veloso and Steve Fisk, the incredible violinist Mary Brunner, and cellist Finn Manniche has been a gift. I’ve been profoundly moved by the talent and beauty they have brought to these songs. I also have a huge debt of thanks to producers Paul Claxton and Michael Dewey, and to Shael Wrinch, who mixed, smoothed, and added guitar, mandolin, and all manner of magic.

It it my hope that you will enjoy listening to this music as much as I enjoyed making it!

They Say…

 

When I was a kid I listened to a lot of Nat King Cole. His smooth vocals and almost confidential tone were part of my early exposure to jazz. I also listened endlessly to an album by his daughter, Natalie Cole, whose versions of “Nature Boy” and “Lush Life” still dominate my memory.

When I started writing the songs for this album, it was inevitable that these experiences would colour my style. I think of “They Say” as a song that Nat could have sung. It would have suited him perfectly, in lyrics and arrangement. It’s a tribute of sorts to that style of jazz, and the way it made me feel.

I wrote the lyrics for this track with a good deal of chuckling. There’s a verse about a bicycle riding couple in a park that was taken straight out of a summer walk I did one evening.  The reference to a neighbor’s child is about the uncanny ability of children to read things we never tell them.  As always, while these verses are mine, I hope they sound like a feeling you can relate to.  This song was written with a smile on my face, and I hope it puts a smile on yours

.

Georgia on my mind…

Well, it’s been a long journey with a lot of unexpected delays, but my second album is almost ready to release. It will be called “Borderless Sky” and includes a mix of all original songs, from vintage jazz to a few tracks with a more folk or country twist.  This album also includes one of my favorite songs of any I’ve written.  It’s called “Back Country Blues”.  The first line is:  There’s a summer day in Georgia, I’ll wait for you there…

This song was one I wrote in my very first few months of songwriting. It was a crazy time, because it felt like a tap had been turned on in my mind, and suddenly there were lyrics and melodies tumbling out without warning. In that year I sometimes wrote a couple songs in a week.

Anyway, this particular song was unique because it started late at night. I’d been listing to some jug bands on Youtube late in the evening and thinking about how some music made it feel like summer, even when it was cold outside. It was February at the time. I soon curled up in bed and began drifting off to sleep. Then it happened.

 

There’s a summer day in Georgia, I’ll wait for you there…

I heard these words form in my mind, and with them the nub of an idea. Recognizing what was going on I knew I had to get out of bed and write it down. It would be gone by morning if I surrendered to sleep.

I jumped out of bed, grabbed my notebook and pen, and went out to the kitchen to turn on the stove light. There I stood, frantically scribbling at one a.m. I got the first two verses and the chorus on paper right then. Satisfied, I went back to bed.

The next morning I wrote the third verse and found a melody for the song.

Of course, I’ve never been to Georgia.  That’s actually the point.  Sometimes you can imagine a place– its sounds and smells, the feel of it– and it exists vividly in your imagination.  It’s a place you can visit in dreams, by day or night.  It’s the sort of place where other things that are impossible in your daily life might happen.

This song has remained one of my favorites, despite writing dozens more since then. For me, it still has a dreamy, lullaby quality that takes me away. I hope it has the same effect on you.

Night River

When I am not writing songs, I write poetry. In fact, reading and writing poetry was a regular part of my life for almost as long as I can remember… certainly since childhood. It was only later that I began to apply this drive to writing lyrics. This poem I wrote after a summer weekend in the woods.

“Saying Goodbye”: The backstory

I am very fortunate to live in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.  I love Vancouver for its mountains and water…the feast of green and blue that floods the eye.  While I’ve lived in other places, I always end up missing the landscape here.  My happiest moments are being out in it, running a trail or hiking up a mountain to chase the view.

This song came out of that love of place.  It’s about all the natural beauty that can make being alive such a vividly joyful experience, if you let yourself stop to notice it.  It is often in contemplating loss and death that we can measure the value of what we have most accurately.  Some people only think about this when that loss has occurred, but I think that imagining the inevitable helps sharpen my appreciation for what I have while it is still with me.

I started composing these lyrics on a trail run one spring afternoon, and finished them when I got home.   From the moment I started working out a melody, I knew it had to have a cello in it.  A simple arrangement that was clear and slow enough to let the words and emotions sink in is what I was trying to create.

When the time came to think about filming  a video for this song, I mentioned it to a friend of mine (Craig Jones) who was visiting Vancouver from London to work on various film projects.  He came up with a narrative vision for it which matched my sense of the song exactly.  

 

We did some brainstorming about the shots we wanted, and then made a list of props, locations, and people we would need. So began the whirlwind of preparation that always precedes the making of one of these videos. I do the location scouting, the casting, and the prop acquisition. When I drove out to Pitt Polder Ecological Reserve and saw the landscape, I knew I’d found the right location.

My hope is that the imagery in this video fills you with a sense of appreciation for the beauty and transience that marks our lives, and the love that makes it all that much more precious.

Saying Goodbye- Lyrics

When my time to go comes

I’ll miss the rain

That falls fragrant on the earth

And greens it again

I’ll miss the way spring

Makes everything new

But I don’t know how to say

Goodbye to you

 

When my time to go comes

I’ll miss the blue

Of cold mountain shoulders

And fields full of dew

I’ll miss the moonlight

And star dappled skies

But I don’t know how

To leave you behind

 

When my time to go comes

I’ll say goodbye

To lilac colored mornings

And orange evening skies

But there is something I don’t know how to do

I have no words

To say goodbye to you

 

I have no words to say goodbye to you

Oh I have no words to say goodbye to you

For Leonard Cohen

leonard-cohen1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voice of the lonely

You were the bard

Of the famous blue raincoat

And the end of love

 

The growling conscience of the future

Poet of backroom drunks

And solitary hearts

Who walk the city streets

Alone with their longings

Nameless and reckless

 

You lived intensely

In the bareness of your white rooms

Distilling the marrow of desire

Maps of flesh

Tracked relentlessly

Tracing the lust and the hallelujah

On bended knee

 

Speaking aloud what we barely knew

But felt without words

Fedorad monk of debauchery

Drunken poet of grace

With your canticles of longing

And your irreverent grin

 

You found the crack in everything

And let the light shine in

Trails of Joy

sparks

Your touch is fire, beloved
Sudden sparks along the neural net
Leaping, arcing, spreading
Beneath my skin
Like sky-dazzling diamond peonies
On the Fourth of July

Fading into glow
Breaking into slow flame
Blazing and roaring, incandescent
Until we fall — embered with bliss
Trailing light
Into the silent depths
Of the flesh-colored nights

Phosphorescent down the long hall of memory
Like bonfires along a beach
Light towers for a midnight ship
They are patterns against the dark
Trails of fleeting joy
Lamps leading home

Wordless

rose 1
You leave me wordless
Raising worn out phrases like broken bowls
From the well within
Poor riven fragments, dripping and empty
From a place purer—deeper in me
Than anything I’ve known
Even to look at you
Sometimes is too much
And the water rises and overflows
Silent and bright
From the corners of my eyes

There is a place
Older than words
Wiser than thought
Longer than life
Deeper than waking
Quieter than silence
Closer than skin
You touch me there