here's a few notes on the origin of the songs on this new album
As The Sunflower Turns Its Face Towards The Sun
Overall I wanted to bring some guitar influenced numbers to the party. This track was recorded in 2012 and re-recorded in 2013. Gestation? First I had the title. Staring out the window one day, and hey presto. It's a title that's about facing adversity and coming out the other side. I kept the song title in my "big book of songs" until I found it again one day and working with a Telecaster tuned to open G I found the chord riff sequence pretty quickly. After a few strums I picked on a Stonesy feel and followed my nose. The verses wrote themselves and the song quickly fell into place. I loved the first two Oasis albums, and there's almost an Oasis-like feel to some of this song too, which although completely not in my consciousness at the time, I can draw a line to at times when I listen back.
Over a few recording sessions in 2013 I layered many guitar parts over the main riff. I have to give props to my son Alex here too. I think he's an outstanding guitar player and after watching him doing many a blurring run of guitar solos I thought to myself "holy crap! I gotta raise my game here". I think I did and in the main there is without doubt my finest guitar playing to date can be found on this album. I'm absolutely no Hendrix but I have to admit to, and maybe immodestly, getting a buzz when I hear myself play some of these solo's. I used to play an acoustic on 3 strings once upon a time and for me being able to get some of these noises into the songs represents a really (really) big deal for me. With the exception of "Anxious" all the guitar playing on this record is human, and specifically this human.
Convoluted Paranoia Blues
Word frenzy :). I had this written for ages before I could establish anything like a tune or meter that would suit the flow of the words. No logic or story behind this although depending on your lateral thinking skills you could probably knock out a few B-Movie scripts from the content. A rhyming dictionary is a wonderful thing. It's right up there with Tiggers.
I wrote this in Italy in 2010 on an acoustic guitar, which if you hear this album version, you can only imagine was very different. I recorded the first version on the older Boss BR1600 equipment (note - see? Even my recording equipment was "Boss").
I did a "do over" on the Mac and I was able to port over the original funky guitar parts so the music didn't lose any of the original intricacies. Written from a place of very poor disposition. I could have, and probably did, howl on many occasions during the years bookending the original lyrics.
Instrumental anxiety. Just a little space filler. Loops reign here and everything is programmed on this track. I like the programmed drums here and I try will use them again in the future, you've been warned.
Green Blue Red
in Oct of '13 I was listening to Pink Floyds' "The Wall" album on the way home in the car late one night. It's a great record to listen to in the dark (and even better to see live! Which I'm thankful I did in Sept '13 - with Amy and Alex - at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin). For some reason a phrase I'd heard about D minor being the saddest chord was rattling around my head. The idea of a mentally ill patient being given different colour tablets came into my mind. By time the journey was done I rushed in picked up the guitar and wrote the main bulk of the basics for this song. The words, again for me, came quickly and nearly perfectly formed to what you hear here, and then I committed the demo to the Mac machine. This song was never going to be on the record originally as it wasn't even written when the first draft of the "Sunflower" track listing was compiled. But the guitar sound fitted in with the vibe of the other tracks, and so it found a home. Yes, that's me doing all the voices here, using pitching shenanigans on the Mac.
Anyone who listened in on my old 'MySpace' page would have heard the original demo of this. It really rocks and I'm very happy with the song as it is a throwback to my utter love for power pop. There is a sister song for this one called "Country Girl" (and only two people know how the chorus goes - Amanda and Michelle the secret is yours alone ladies). I wouldn't want to be the subject matter for either song! Took the title from a book Amanda had lying around.
Tower Of Strength
The chorus started in my head one day as I was juggling lots of tangential-to-my-life support for other folks who probably didn't realize I was likely in worse shape than they were. A tower of strength built on a weak foundation. Once I had the title I wrote the music around it and then developed the lyric based on broader architectural themes. Lots of tracks in the mix here (not as many as the title track though) but took ages to mix to any level of aural satisfaction! Gets a good groove on too.
Rock Stone Dust Powder, play it loud .....then play it louder.
The Man Who Couldn't Get Away
Amanda was out in the back garden sunbathing one Sunday afternoon (akin to self immolation my fairest and dearest) and we were chatting through the open door of the conservatory. Not unusually I had a guitar in my hand (unplugged, my mint green Aria with the three lipstick anico pick ups) and I started picking out notes from the key of E shape. After we finished talking I plugged in, slapped up a drum track, added a few twangy overdubs, put on the bass parts and the track was finished very quickly. No lyrics, and the second instrumental on the album. Could fit quite well onto a Tarantino western soundtrack. Quentin? You know where to find me.
Little Pink Girl (In A Black And White World)
My daughter Katie was the original inspiration for this song. I had brought her and Alex down to County Clare to the shores of Lough Derg for a week and I took a photo of her which I later converted to black and white but kept her coat pink in the picture. She therefore became the little pink girl in the black and white world. I have two daughters, Amy and Katie, whom I adore beyond all words and I tailored the lyric to address my fears that, as most parents realise, they'll forget all the times they'd be fighting to be on Daddy's knee or under an arm each watching the tv or dozing on a weekend morning.
I've never been more comfortable, relaxed or happier than when one, two, three or all four rug rats were lined up around me attached to arms, neck etc. Ben and Alex would have done the same too as they grew up, I was blessed with being able to tell the kids how much they were loved, but also, I hope, by being the kind of Dad they felt so at ease with that they were able to find that cuddle space when they needed it. But of course, and life is sad that way, it's generally the adult who remembers all this and the child whom you weren't allowed to leave the house without, soon forgets. I'm sure this is also a similar perspective that our parents would have and there's definitely an element of time space continuum payback. Ben, Amy, Katie, Alex? You've been warned! :)
Going For Drive
Simple little chord progression here G-Bm-C-D kicks off this song which is actually written about the economy (go figure). Drive around any small town in Ireland, maybe in any country, and the ravages of global micro economics stare us in the face. From the "..the empty homes, where there's no one around" to where "so much has changed here over the years but then it hasn't changed much at all". So there's a metaphor drawn here between a bankruptcy of the soul and what is left standing.
The moral of the story is try and dance in the sun when you get that sunshine on your face....it won't last long, but enjoy it while you can...
I thought about opening the album with this version and then going out with the rockier version as the last song. I couldn't make my mind up (I used to be indecisive, now I'm not sure) and this is how things ended up. I wrote the original version in open G tuning which I felt gave it a Keith Richards/ Ronnie Wood vibe (well, you can't blame me for trying to put 'Keef', Ronnie and myself into the same sentence!) but reverted back to E tuning here. I wanted to give this version a 'blissed out' kind of sunshine vibe to it, an almost 'druggy' type feel to the music (and no, I don't - "the coffee fuelled" comment being as strong as my stimulants get. Well the odd cigar maybe).
That is it folks. I hope you enjoy some of the stuff you may listen to. To paraphrase what the Bond movies always say at the end, "Chris Carry will be back soon in 'Onion'" which is "currently" my next album. Work progressing steadily as I type this on March 14th 2014. But who knows! I may go and do another left turn in the meantime. I have a full Blues album near ready that just requires lyrics so I may revert to getting that out of the vault first.
To anyone who's gotten this far with the note reading, fair play to ya, even more so if you've been in a position to support the Irish Cancer Society through purchasing the music.
A genuine and sincere thank you for anything you've been able to do to support this cause. 'One in five" is a horrible statistic, but even those other 4/5 will have to face some exposure to serious illness of a loved one at some stage.
So, we're all in this together and how can I not quote Bruce in signing off?
...."no-one wins unless everyone wins"....
very best wishes