From the recording Life And Everything In Between
Life And Everything Inbetween
After finding my musical muse and writing and recording an outpouring of 3 albums of original songs within a couple of months (plus, having about 80 cover versions in the vault - I figure it could possibly be a nice little nest egg for the kids in case I get assassinated. The world loves a good tragedy) I decided to take a bit longer about this, the next album in the portmanteau, per se.
As a side meander in 2010 I spent two weeks in Italy on a writers retreat hosted by the great Chris Difford (from Squeeze). Met some amazingly talented folks, fantastic young writer/performers from the Brighton Institute of Music (BIM) and other incredible musicians from all walks of life and professional standing, and I realized I really needed to raise my musical chops! My song writing is what I'm happiest with and my playing and production skills where I needed most improvement. This record is a good step (leap?) forward. My guitar work has improved (practice, practice, practice) and I know my way around the piano a lot better too now.
Given I wrote and recorded in a walk in wardrobe on a 16 track recorder I migrated my set up to a different platform, a Mac, and moved some equipment out of my safety zone into the conservatory (musically coming out of a closet!). I hope that what you listen to on this album reflects a continual development from the early days and the naivety of “A Crack In The Cosmic Egg” through “Ghosts” and “Blue Eyed Boy”. In my modest opinion, those records still contain some very decent songs, but amateur hour prevails in their recording. I guess in my defence I wasn’t ever expecting to let anyone hear that stuff. I was in effect using the writing and recording activity as a cathartic process to help me contend with the various curve balls life had flung in my direction at that time. I will go back and re-record some of those songs someday. (Actually, I did re-record “Sarah, Don’t Be Sad” at the Monestevole Studio in Perugia in Italy in 2010 with the wonderful Kate Harwood on piano and produced by the ϋber patient Henry Frampton. You can find this updated version on the "A Crack In The Cosmic Egg" page under "Albums").
None of this stuff would be possible without the love and support of Amanda. That same love and support puts me in a good place personally, and I build from there. I also happen to have the four greatest kids of all time; Ben, Amy, Katie & Alex remain my biggest and most worthwhile contribution to this world. I’m a proud Daddy, and they know I adore them, so I’ll stop the waxing lyrical now. Thanks of course to my family, who politely ignore my musical leanings but remain staunch allies.
Finally, thank YOU listener, and I hope that somewhere during the songs contained in “Life..” that I raise a smile, a thought, a dream or a wish in your subconscious. Because I’m a DIY guy, I’m grateful that my music can remain a passion for me outside of any financial considerations.
I do this because I HAVE to…….
Chris, Kells August 2012
Here are some notes about the songs on the album;
1) “Life And Everything In-between” - originally composed as an instrumental, the words just came out one day when I was playing it back. Most writers will tell you a lot of what you end up releasing contains many happy accidents. I had the title line and went from there.
2) “Into The Wild” - Built around loops and guitar, a bolshie piece about finding your feet. Without doubt some inspiration filtered in from the film of the same name by Sean Penn. Although the words are about me, not the character in the film. Check out the movie though it’s really really great. I think Penn has that same altruistic approach to the human condition that Springsteen has and like The Boss the focus is the middle ground where the American dream does not match the reality of life outside of the monied classes. The fact that both of them ARE in reality now part of those monied classes, but not mentally comfortable there, drives an almost apologetic but deep felt need to connect back to their own roots. The fact it's given us such great works of art is a blessing. Bruce has cemented his role as one of the great American writers, I think Penn is more than half way there to being the same with the work he wants to do moreso that the "pay the rent" movies he'll have to do to finance his own artful perspective of the American condition.
3) I wrote this (the words!) on my iPhone one night sitting in bed. Written for Amanda, playfully reconstructing how our friendship turned to romance, which then deepened the friendship. The music for the song was finished in Italy with the thoroughly decent Graeme Murray, a great Scots songwriter. Graeme and I worked out the music between us on acoustic guitars. We played this live that evening and it was a disaster! Both of us forgot how to play it, even though we’d been working on the music most of the day.
We recovered slightly on the night; played it a second time and the song became known as the “Raspberry Smoothie” tune. I hope Graeme records this someday because he has a lovely voice and a great acoustic guitar style which may serve the song better. A good pop song I think (modestly!)
4) “Ammolite” - originally a piece of music called “Ammonites”. I discovered the link to the rare stone in Wikipedia and then I composed the lyrics around that, tying in the references to the jewel to an imagined dark scenario between two lovers.
5) "Hide Me Away" - A song about the black dog (woof!). I threw him a stick and he brought this back. I play all the music on this one and the little solo at the end just crept out, but I like how it ties back the overall sentiment to the blues. Appropriately enough.
6) " I Don't Want To See You Anymore" - catchy little rhythm based tune. Very sing-a-long-able I think! The chord changes here remind me of something David Byrne might do and that can only be a good thing!
Interesting side note (I think!), now that I've mentioned David Byrne! Back in my school days I spent a year at the Christian Brothers School in Kells (1981) after I'd moved from Navan to Kells. One of my class mates was a really nice kid, name of Michael Brunnock. He was big into music like myself and along with another fellow classmate (Paul Smith) were big Talking Heads fans (I'd picked up on their debut in 1977 thanks to Dave Fanning playing "Psycho Killer" on his radio show). Appropos to my comments about Sean Penn, Michael after studying to be a teacher (I think?) and then following his musical muse fronting the much under appreciated "Little Palace" relocated to New York and in the past couple of years worked on the soundtrack to Sean Penn's movie "This Must Be The Place" with......David Byrne from Talking Heads!! Isn't life funny? And it couldn't have happened to a nicer lad. I was very happy to see a Kells lad do so well for himself and live the dream.
7) “Nights With Her”* (Mills/Carry/Houston) – Written in Italy with a young man from BIMM, Andrew Mills and another excellent Scottish minstrel, Tom Houston. Andy and I did the music to this on acoustic guitars. From what I remember I started playing the “James Brown” riffs, Andy contributed the songs theme, further widened by Tom about an unrequitable love (“James Brown Riff Meets Roxanne”) We wrote a verse each for the song (and it’s Tom, mine and Andy’s, in that order here). My version is very different I guess, given it’s a band scenario, and I am pleased with my guitar work on this. For someone who’s a bit of a hacker, the solo here turned out ok. If I ever had to play it again I'd be in trouble, it was played just that one time on this record!
8) “Sunday Morning” – originally the opening track but after hearing the demo album a few times I figured it gave the wrong impression to what the rest of the record was going to sound like (although, it’s actually hard to define a collective genre for my music! It covers, and aspires to, many different angles). This adds a mellow palette cleanser for side "2" of the album
9) “The Night Dreamer” – Composed as an instrumental, the “you come and visit my dreams” was the first line of lyric that I started to sing when playing it back. The song built from there. This has become a bit of a favourite with folks who’ve heard the record, and there’s a decent melody in there and a confident vocal which helps. I wrote the music for this, “Into The Wild”, “Ammolite” and “Anxious” the same day. They eventually bumped some other songs off the finished original album track listing
10) “Shadows” – This originates from a writing assignment given to us by Chris Difford in Italy. It was originally based on a story about a young woman in therapy for addiction issues. I took that DNA and created an imaginary story about how someone may have ended up that way (although the outcome of the song is a bit bleaker). I didn’t realise when writing this that Mr Difford’s intention was to let the folks in the therapy centre (www.providenceproject.org) hear the songs, which would be released on a charity record! Rather than let the unfortunate women hear this tragic story and make any parallels with her own life, which there weren't, I kept the song and re-recorded “Sarah, Don’t Be Sad” for the CD instead. “Shadows” was originally about 10 verses long and it was hard for me to rewrite and take away some of what I thought were other key elements. However! I think the story here stands well as a conclusive narrative.
12) “She Cares About Me” – 60’s beat vibe here, and an open letter of admiration to herself for putting up with me.
13) “Stay In Bed” – written on guitar, this is a straightforward capture of how myself and Amanda work within the relationship. Nearly 5 years in and no rows, something in the dynamic works really well. Easy to be together in the same room doing different things, easy with our mutual interests and easy just having a chat and a cuppa!
13) “Outro#1” - built with Garageband loops and some guitar. One of my favourite albums of all time is “Low” by Bowie which contains a mix of instrumentals and vocal pieces. I figured if it's good enough for DB it was good enough for me. Originally the last song on the album, hence the title, I then decided to put it up front after the first demos of the record were distributed. I still decided to call it “Outro#1” because I can be like that sometimes, but here's it's back in it's original spot.
All instruments, programming, mixing and production; Chris Carry
All songs (except where noted*) by Chris Carry
Front Cover Photo and Back Cover Photo by Amanda Duffy (using the iPhone Hipsta-Matic App)
Inside Photo, layout and all artwork treatments by Chris Carry
An Alex’s Room Production ℗ © 2012 All Rights Reserved
Life And Everything In Between - The song...
August 05, 2012
Words & Music by Chris
Originally composed as an instrumental, the words just came out one day when I was playing it back. Most writers will tell you a lot of what you end up releasing contains many happy accidents. I had the title line and went from there.
There's an element of talking to myself here, trying to step back from the precipice, and raise the courage of my convictions.
Life And Everything InbetweenMy head is too big, because it's full of dreamsLife is what it is and seldom what it seemsThese past few years might have crippled lesser menInstead of giving upI picked up my penInstead of giving upI picked up my pen I believe in my callingBut I fear I'm still fallingDownDown to the EarthIt's life and everything in between All these moments they go so fast they don't seem real Like a shooting star or the secrets we revealLife happens to us each and every daySometimes you don't seeHow those moments slip away I believe in my callingBut I fear I'm still fallingDownDown to the EarthIt's life and everything in between Yeah, yeahIt's life and everything in between Words/Music Chris Carry © Alex's Room Productions 2010