It’s been a long hot summer here in the UK and it’s not been one conducive to spending time holed up inside a sweltering recording studio. However, time spent in the garden with an acoustic guitar has very much been part of my summer agenda (along with a cold Guinness) and as a result I have a collection of new songs waiting in the wings. The plan is to take the material into the studio this Autumn/Fall and Winter to see what I have.
After writing “The Last Box of Bullets” (LBB) my intention was to move in a different direction and I was intent on exploring a more narrative theme to my song writing. LBB is packed with radio friendly arrangements and hooky chorus sections such as “Just One Day” and “Suddenly I Can’t Find You”, which is something I was brought up with as a teenager listening to the radio. In fact it’s been a style of song writing I’ve come to know well.
But for this new work I felt the need to tell more stories – but what stories? I understood that my new found fascination with narrative simply alluded to the fact that I wanted to write from a different perspective. As Picasso said, ”I’m always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it”…. as a writer/musician that’s what drives me forward – finding new avenues to explore, new chords, new ways to construct a melody.
But I also wanted to keep my signature style – familiar to my audience and I needed to continue to write songs of emotion and honesty that told stories from my world experience and hopefully yours too. To that end I’ve kept the writing process as simple and as naked as possible. Perhaps the hot summer days played a part and as a result the new songs are just written on acoustic guitar and piano – I’ve not to this point added any additional instrumentation or arrangement. Lyrically I’ve delved into some new corners of my mind and written about things that have been rattling around inside my head for years but subjects that I had never found a voice or character for…. this could be an exciting new project. The songs currently have working titles such as ‘Zoo Song’ and ‘Lonely Song’ – just scribbled phrases on a piece of paper – I guess these will develop as the project moves on.
Moving forward the question is do I leave these songs raw and naked? Part of me thinks this has a touch of purity – and that appeals to me, but I also understand that some of the songs are going to burst into life with other instruments as part of the equation. There are one or two that immediately feel to me like singles, others are more confessional – perhaps that will be where I define the line.
I promise to keep you informed over the next few months and maybe we’ll see some of the new material released in 2014.