Raw Recorded Solo Videos

The Purpose of this Video Series

The aim of this series of videos is to get out some of the over 300 songs that I have written that never get played in bars or festivals because they are more solo acoustic concert songs than lively drunken melodies.   In order to do so, I will record them at home with my iPhone and small Zoom recorder, and try to capture the raw sound.  I am going through a small AC-33 Roland acoustic amp with a touch of reverb, but otherwise the sound is natural.  The idea is to get out a song a week—52 songs a year.  To choose the songs, I will fish them out of the archives based on topical themes or just pure whim of the moment.  I hope you enjoy.

String of Pearls

String of Pearls was written soon after my daughter's birth.   When I got home from the hospital on the day she was born, I got a call from my father.   I thought it was to say congratulations, but it was to let me know my mother, who had a stroke the month before,  had tried to climb out of her hospital bed in the night, crashed to the floor, suffered broken ribs and an epileptic fit. The doctors were certain she would die that day, and my dad had called to prepare me for her death.  She lived, thankfully to see her granddaughter, but the contrast between the joy of my daughters birth and the sorrow of my mother's impending death at the same time, combined with a feeling of the presence of my long dead grandmother gave me a sense of the balance in the universe and continuity through life in DNA.    I sometimes see our paths through this weft block universe as the quantum warp threads of DNA, along which individual lives are like pearls woven into the tapestry of some greater history and being.  We are singular points, or colours in a pattern we do not always see.   All a little much for a song, but I hope I catch some of the mood in the song of the experience and vision which helped me deal with the feeling of pain at the time.  I would like to redo it with less strained vocals.  

Don't Lock the Gate

The song I am starting with is: Don’t Lock the Gate, written in 2003.  What inspired me to start with this now, is that we are in the midst of the Corona Virus lock down around the world, most people are stuck at home, or trying to get back home.  I was recently listening to CBC news podcast about Canadians stuck abroad unable to return .    As a Canadian ex-pat in Japan (or in woke terms, an immigrant from an developing western country living in a developed eastern one ; ),   I have often felt this sense of dislocation.  I am sure immigrant from around the world share this feeling of trying to make a living in a distant land far from your family. You know your parents are getting older and could use your help, but you’re barely making ends meet in your new country and the ability to go back and help gets harder every year as your develop more obligations in your new land and less contacts in the old.   It gets particularly sad and painful when your parents get sick.   This was my situation in 2003.  I was back in the summer and I could see my mother was not doing well.  Always coughing.  Her local doctor missed all the signs, and in December of that year she had a stroke that paralysed her down one side, from which she never fully recovered.  The song was written before the stroke, actually in response to general feelings of uselessness.  But I believe the stroke made me tighten up the song and gave it the passion. I hope you enjoy and for anybody who has a similar sense of being unable to be the source of support you wish you could for your parents or other loved ones, I hope this touches and heals that part of your heart.  I imagine it is a common feeling even for many people who have not even left their countries, as we are mostly all part of the downturn of the economic wheel in which our parents generation had or has more wealth  than we.  The gate is the gate of the heart, but also the gate of our ability to return to our home country.

Don't Lock the Gate (2003)

The Crime of Being, 2014