Back Stories to the songs from 'Shadows In The Grass'
- The Sheer And The Coaming - Arguably Australia’s most famous working sail boats were the Couta boats of Port Philip Bay in Victoria. This is my salute to them.
- Equal To The Task - Written in celebration of my father, an extraordinary man in an ordinary kind of way.
- The Farmers Prayer - Farming can be a hard life and I suspect there are the odd times when a little help is requested.
- 332 Palmerston - Inspired by memories (both true and imagined) of a thirteen bedroom house I rented back in the late 1970s for $21 a week. In it’s time it had been a private house, a private hospital, an old folks home, a brothel and car parts storage. Latterly it had been split into separate apartments then opened up again into a single dwelling. Reputedly, footsteps could be heard walking the hallways upstairs when nobody was there. In the end our motley crew was evicted to enable its demolition.
- Anytime The Wind Blows - Just a simple, true, love song written on Valentines Day 2009.
- Forty Fathoms Deep - A fictional tale based on the ‘Battle of Flamborough Head’ between the English navy and John Paul Jones. He was a Scottish privateer fighting for the Continental Congress in the American War of Independence. The song also has a bit of Francis Drake in the Philippines thrown into the mix.
- Coalville Train - Ostensibly about a train wreck this song is actually about the interconnectedness of people. It spawned an as yet unpublished novella called ‘b'twixt and b'tween’ that was great fun to write.
- Loch Torridon - The true story of the captain of the four masted barque ‘Loch Torridon’. The first two lines are quoted from a letter he sent his parents after he ran away to sea. The ship was from the same line as the ‘Loch Ard’, but somewhat luckier. I inherited a model of the ship from a distant relative who was a sailor on her in the early 20th century.
- Walkin' In The Moonlight - Written in 1978 while touring with ‘Easy Street’, a rock band I played bass with for a living. We were crossing the desert road in NZ where the battle scenes for ‘Lord Of The Rings’ were much later filmed, and the full moon rose over a range of low hills in the East. It lit up the silver tussock and highlighted the last snows trickling down the base of Mt Ruapehu in the West, the flanks of which disappeared into the low cloud capping the scene. Just magical! The song was written by starting with a percussive rhythm and layering the bass, guitar and vocals over it in my head as we drove along; the only time in 38 years that I’ve used this method.
- Shadows In The Grass - In 2007 I watched a documentary called ‘The Devil Comes on Horseback’, about the terrible situation in the Darfur province of Sudan. The most vivid images that stuck in my mind were of ‘shadows’ in the grass where innocent people were burned to death. Unfortunately nothing seems to have changed yet.
- Try Love - Just common sense really.
- Wreck Of The Dunbar - The story of a shipwreck off Sydney on the 20th August 1857. 121 lives were lost with only one survivor. Tragically, for four years before the sinking the Government had been storing a catoptric light for use in a new lighthouse at Sydney Heads. The arguments against building it ceased promptly when another ship wrecked two weeks later, while also trying to enter the harbour in poor visibility.
- Raw Edge - An anthem to the legendary Scottish highland chieftains.
- The Mark Of Simos - A brief foray into instrumental guitar resulting from an exercise set by Mark Simos, associate professor in song writing at Berklee College of Music, Boston, during a Melbourne workshop.