Here, Keith talks about his songwriting for this album in detail and you can buy it by clicking on this link
some secrets about 'secrets of the heart'
I have a strong sense of retaining friendships. Perhaps it's because my brother died when he was four and a half years of age. I was seven and not really aware of what was happening because of the veil of silence behind which his illness was dealt with. My longest standing friendships go back to early schooldays and are strong and open. I have unconditional male and female friendships and my challenge is to make sure that our paths are two-way and my enthusiasm is consistent. Only recently one of my dear friends showed me this quote from the pen of the Roman, Epicurus, written about 300BC: "Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one's entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship". Does this mean we can stand in someone else's shoes? Is this a non sequitur? Who cares, so long as we can have friends and friends can have us, specially like those in the "thanks and warmth" paragraph in the CD foldout. Fold it out and peruse.
as long as I know you love me
somehow that front room at Stuart Street in Northbridge, dark as it was and unremarkable, gave me the surroundings for this song and for kathleen, two of the more narrative pieces on the CD. The lyric of as long as I know you love me contains not only predictability but also the occasional personal view. "…letters filled with sacred lines…" mean more to me that words in so-called holy books. Letters from those I love are of my knowledge and reckoning. They are more preferable to me than the hand-me-down disarray of hearsay attributed to writers of letters in tomes that should have been assigned to mere history rather than being venerated by those who rely on third party supplication.
an extraordinary way
location, location, location; the catch cry of real estate agents who wish to peddle their properties on burgled boundaries was also the basis of the move by Eddie Koiki Mabo to focus attention on the location of his people's land. He realised that his people truly had the right to it. I agonised over the phrase "He was an ordinary man" because I understood that he was exceptional. It was, in my poetic style, a way of contrasting the power of his personal mission with the perception that he was not up to the task of leading such a monumental change. I know his legend will mature in the best possible way because I believe compassionate people outweigh all others, if not in numbers then certainly in attitude.
old karri town
'unique' is a unique word. It applies to eucalyptus diversicolor, known more commonly as the karri, that majestic tree that's a native of the south west of Western Australia. There is a particularly attractive place on the south coast of WA, Denmark, which used to be a karri town and a jarrah town and a marri town in those bad old days when all these giants of the forest, unique to that part of WA, were felled relentlessly. My first visit to that area opened my eyes and mind to the rare blend of spirit and earth I believe resides there. In some ways it should be recognised as its own realm, its own flora, its own fauna encapsulated in an area roughly the size of Liechtenstein. However it is now an old karri town and thankfully not a new karri town open to modern day felling. At least there will be some tall timber for my grandchildren to gaze at in awe when they visit.
soul to soul
how intriguing to think that there could be someone with whom one could be soul to soul. The ephemeral soul is credited with so many subjective qualities that it takes on a separate being for some. Perhaps then if, as a believer, my soul comes into close contact with, as a believer, your soul we could experience soular power. The sum will be greater than the total of the individual components. The concept of soul gives those non-secular folk an acceptable route through their repressed pagan depths. In reality it may be just the sublime extension of the human brain's capacity for esotericity. The song floats over a safety net of majors, minors, suspended ninths and a singing bowl. With the permission of my co-writers, Annette Ducharme and Andrew Matheson, I will be entering soul to soul into the competition for Up And Coming Wedding Song Of The Twentyfirst Century. Please consider it for your next nuptials. It will not disappoint.
i wish you would change your mind
secretly hoping that Eric Clapton or a similar performer will cover this one. It's a rare excursion into a sad lyric for me. Luckily co-writer Jim Fisher was there to make sure the maudlin quotient was not breached. Would like to claim the electric guitar solo as mine but Michael Cristian's fans know his talent for tasteful restraint and they would have reported me to the guitar police in a trice. "Easy fixing broken windows…" but fixing other things may not be so straightforward. Sometimes a change of mind is all that is needed. People who know me understand that I frequently have difficulty taking this kind of advice.
peace in my time
originally titled "the shining mountains" and written for the famed Canadian singer and good friend, John McDermott, this piece sat around for a few years. Flicking through my old song jottings I came across the "peace in my time" chorus I had discarded and suddenly it felt more appropriate than the chorus of "the shining mountains" did. Perhaps if people are sufficiently interested I could put the alternative section on the web site when I update it. Lots of love songs have been written; many peace songs have been written. Hopefully this means that these topics are on the mind of many people. Translating love songs into action, however seems to be much easier than propagating peace through words and music. Needs more work and diligence from everyone.
secrets of the heart
"…falling out of love has never been so hard…" is one of the secrets of life that some may keep within their heart. I chose to make it less of a secret in this lyric. The title of the song seamlessly became the title of the CD because I lived these words within welcoming walls during the recording period. Slowing it down only became possible once the heart stopped crying. Very recently, indeed, and perhaps never completely.
sitting in the little Sicilian village of Triscina in the summer of 2001 seemed to be very influential for my songwriting. I was there with my mother for the wedding of my son and Sicilian daughter-in-law. My muse was there too and helped me through this work in very short time, crystalising some of the family issues extant. I'm mildly disappointed that no one seems to pick up the device my muse and I used: to start a verse with the last word of the verse before. The Gaelic feel to the accompaniment was always in the back of my mind but was really brought to fruition by Michael Parker's wonderful Irish whistle playing and, to some extent, by my late realisation that an open tuning for my guitar part would be empathetic. Michael Cristiano's accordion work on the song makes the whole thing float emotionally.
your heart will always be my home
indeed it will, my dear mother, and mine will be yours. When Alan Rhody and I sat down in Nashville to work on this song, I don't think either of us realised how comprehensively the words show respect for an older generation. It certainly sings well as a lyrical love song, but the extra dimension of making that dignified person who is your parent the subject of the song really works for me. We have done well, Alan. Michael Cristiano's suggestion that this be a fully acoustic track has increased its directness to the heart that will always be my home.
welcome to the new sunrise
"…don't take for granted what's not your own…" The Yallarwah Project, for which this song was written, started out in a noble fashion: to provide proper accommodation for indigenous people from country areas of New South Wales visiting sick relatives in hospital in Newcastle. Sadly, some of the lyrics have turned out to be prophetic, like the opening lines: "So much has been said before, most of it not worth the time anymore". We should all walk a proud highway, not turn our back on those who need our help and we should never patronise. How noble is that? No more nor less than the original Yallarwah concept. Respect is not a line in the sand. It IS the sand. The journey on the proud highway will lead to the new sunrise. Let's welcome it together.
action! move it! make a decision! own up, because no one can judge you like you judge yourself! Thank you again Alan Rhody. And in all of this where will my granddaughter Indigo, the precious little backing singer, be in twenty, thirty years? Hope I'll be around to find out. Likewise my grandson Pascal, the bold and talented artist who contributed the inner sleeve painting. I own two of his rare works created before he decided to tread the path of connectivity that eschews paint and paper. Long may they both hit the ground running with my little strand of bloodline somewhere in that double helix within them. Finished! Done!!
what possess a grown man to interpret a song written for a boy group? The quality of the song, that's what! Tony Hiller and I were focussed on creating a pop song in the great British tradition of pop songs. The result was something more, with a depth and mystery about it that some find insidious. As for boy groups as exemplars, I'm just happy that there will be no video clip of this version. In fact are there any boy groups these days? The first group I formed while still at school was all boys - The Trinamics, so called because there were three of us and we thought that we were pretty dynamic. Doesn't really stand up to scrutiny, does it? However we could have had a hit with this had it been written back then. Tony, where were you when we needed you?
everything in your love
this is probably one of the most personally important lyrics I have written. It could be inspired by the "if you love them, set them free" graffito but it goes well beyond that. The extension of someone being so selfless is the foundation for this observation. I wonder if I can match this by giving so completely as the subject of these words has given. Time will tell, but we know that time is not always a friend.
my holy grail
oh you wonderful muse. You gave me the courage to take eight bars of melody and repeat it until the gong sounds several minutes later. Fortunately Michael Parker steps into the studio playing his evocative Uillean pipes to imbue the performance with a haunting horizon of daunting craggy peaks. With this work I can visualise acting in the video clip, so long as I don't have to dive into the Arthurian-style lake to retrieve the sword held aloft by some submerged and very soggy lady.
who are we? And more importantly, why are we? We definitely are heading for bar-coded lives, so resist with all your spirit. But hang on. It's too late already isn't it? Thank goodness there are beaches we can crash down and sand that crunches. Life's not half bad when you have those two components, but spare a thought for those in the middle of New York or London where both beach and sand are almost non-existent. Denizens of those towns will just have to enter their barcodes and have a virtual crash down and a plasma screen crunch. Oh if only an airline or holiday cruise company would see the merit in making this song the soundtrack for their glossy travel advertisements. They may have passed it up because the lines of the chorus don't rhyme.
should have thought of another name for this lyric. A quid for every time someone says: "is that 'I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen?'" would make me a rich person. No matter. The subject of this narrative is named Kathleen. I can't be responsible for her parents' lack of originality. And what a life he (whatever his name was) and she had. Motorbikes and picnics and punts on the lake; it's a wonder they had time to have any kids. But, there was the lovely Kathleen dancing the night away while just about to give birth to their first child. You'd be kicking your heels up too if you had wonderful musicians like Gerry Hale on fiddle, Michael Parker on Irish whistle and Michael Cristiano on accordion to lure you on to the dance floor. 'twas obviously a marriage made in heaven, wherever that is, and we can all respect the reverie of the old narrator as he pays homage to his beautiful vision, Kathleen.
friend like you
this collection of songs started with friends and is now going out with friends. It's no wonder that my music publishing company is named Circle Music. Things have a way of moving in that bubble-like form, just as in this lyric: "…there may be a lucky few, who sail through life untroubled, floating on the bubbles, in the wake of special friends like you…" and you, and you, and you. Mark Lynch, cartoonist extraordinaire and a special friend, came up with the lyric. Because of the aforementioned John McDermott recording it and featuring it in his concerts, this song has been heard round the world. It makes a lot of friends.
denmark sunset (instrumental)
the secret about this is that it has nothing to do with the country Denmark, though in 1972 I witnessed a sunset in the west coast harbour city of Esbjerg. It has everything to do with that old karri town, Denmark, in Western Australia. There, sunsets abound and the birds swish their formations across the richness of the clouds, heading over the water to their nesting grounds near Wilson Inlet. Some clouds bring the cleansing, recuperative rain that closes this piece. However, let the CD play through until the stillness of the night gives way to the birth of a new day, contributed by my granddaughter, Giulia. Such joy is irresistible to me and I am so blessed to have another precious life to observe from my humble position filled with privilege.
thank you for listening and reading. I hope you will share these secrets with special friends.
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