August Bank Holiday in England….

Well, more time is going by and more tracks are being written and worked on although the throughput is, typically for me, somewhat stunted.But, thats the way it tends to be around here… works tend to be like London buses. Nothing for ages, then three at once.

There are a number of other songs that are in gestation at the moment based around interesting and maybe slightly off-the-wall themes – concepts like emotions being made human and wearing different clothes to represent their intensity and their best and worst points; concepts like art being a moment frozen in time that never gets old whereas for the rest of us humans, growing old is a privilege, sometimes cruelly denied by fate to some and something that doesnt grow old, stuck away from the beating heart of real life in sterile surroundings is akin to someone hiding from the reality they need to be exposed to. Slightly complex perhaps and yeah, maybe a bit pretentious but… the ideas just come as they come and it makes me think “what if….?”, the lightbulb goes on and the rest just follows.

I’ve also been working on audio versions of some tracks as well… Manhattan Lullaby is pretty much done except for the vocal, some MIDI editing and a decent mixdown; The music for Doesnt Matter Now is being worked on which will probably take a while..(!); I’m hoping as well to start working on the music for Midnight Blue and The Last Dance in the coming days as well while things are quiet on the job searching front.

Yes, not being a full-time pro means that the bills have to be paid somehow and I’m keen to make sure that time outside of that for making music is not lost to frippery and TV. It doesnt always work, but I cant bear to think that the most precious thing we have – time – is not wasted, that I can use it to do more than just exist – I can use it to create, to build something.

On Tuesday, I’m meant to be going to a BASCA gathering in central London about releasing music independently as a writer and producer, which will be useful no doubt but will make for a very long day; I’m also, next weekend going to be working with one of my closest friends and collaborators on some new material and we do have ideas to kick around and do something with. Two of them in particular I’m really looking forward to with themes around:
1) How modern life is totally different to what we knew when we were growing up and
2) What on earth are we going to hand over to the next generation given the mess we’ve been making of things for the last thirty or forty years…. like a variation on Both Sides Now and Big Yellow Taxi, if you will.

Going to be tricky making sure they’re not preachy, but… I have no doubt the effort will be worth it.

And then, in a couple of weeks time comes the annual BASCA Songwriting Camp at Monnow Valley Studios in Monmouth, Wales which last year proved to be so pivotal. Really looking forward to that and hope that it proves to be as inspirational this time as it did last year. I’ll do my best to keep the blog running while I’m there to capture whats going on, as it happens or at least an update at the end of each day. No doubt there’ll be plenty of pictures as well. That weekend is also almost coincident with a major anniversary in my life as well, so if there could be such a thing as a perfect songwriting storm (if thats not too melodramatic!), this month could prove to be it.

Soon find out I guess. So far, September looks like its going to be an interesting and productive month musically, no matter what else happens.


What Became Of Love?

“Lido be runnin’,
Havin’ great big fun ’til he got the note
Sayin’, ‘Toe the line or blow’
And that was all she wrote

He be makin’ like a beeline
Headin’ for the borderline, goin’ for broke
Sayin’, “One more hit oughta do it
This joint, ain’t nothin’ to it
One more for the road”

Boz Scaggs/David Paich, “Lido Shuffle”, from the album “Silk Degrees”, 1976

Another one from 2012/13 and another one where the music came first, but theres a twist in that particular story.

It might sound particularly bouncy and “up”, but like a lot of tracks, it has a soft, dark underbelly, so to speak. Well, it wouldnt be one of my songs if it didnt….!

The opening line of “driving down this highway to Nashville” was originally “running down this pathway into Liverpool”, which refers to the now defunct Liverpool Care Pathway used for palliative care in the British Health system, which I readily admit, I had more than a bit of a beef with at the time of writing. The “thousands of souls on this street” was a reference to the amount of other people who had seen the LCP manage the decline of their loved ones and a reminder to me that I was not alone in watching it happen and feeling powerless, even if my circumstances were different to someone elses. “Kicked out of the kitchen” is wordplay but symbolic of being in a heated situation that you’re ill-equipped to handle.

Although the typical pastiche of a country song is one that includes themes of a mans wife leaving him, the dog dying and all that stuff, its a genre that has transformed itself over the last decade. I’m happy with the structure of the song and its overall feel.

Or rather, I was until a close friend of mine played me a Sarah McLaughlin track called Vox, which has near as spit an identical instrumental break, certainly close enough for a lawsuit. So, quite what I’m going to do with it when it does finally see the light of day, I dont know.

I’m guessing I’ll have to include Ms McLaughlin amongst the writer credits,  because if I dont, I’m sure her publishers will not be backwards about coming forwards.

But, back to the song itself. Apart from the opening line which would have had that element of darkness in it, the rest of it is a series of contradictions, of wordplay, about someone who is (arguably) hung up on making grand gestures for the wrong reasons and ends up apologising for what he feels and denying what he feels in the hope that the intensity of what he feels doesnt end up with him being hated or denounced as a fatuous dreamer or drifter.

Ultimately, providing we do no harm, we shouldnt be embarrassed or apologetic for what we feel, especially where affection for another human being is concerned – but the real world isnt always like that as most of us have no doubt found out by now.

There is a version of this “in the can”. Definitely modern country in its feel.

EDIT, 30/12/2017.

The track has been renamed What Became Of Love? (as the topline says) and the pay off line in the chorus has also been changed accordingly. The track has been completed and is likely to be released on the London Road EP. I have reached out to Sarah McLaughlin’s management company, seeking their permission or at least clarification around the use of a keyboard line that sounds very much like the one Sarah used in Vox. To date, I have had no reply from her manager. I am taking from that, that neither Sarah or her Management have any issues therefore with me composing, producing and performing this track. I have still volunteered Sarah a composition credit, because I think it is appropriate.

Another Accidental Love

Verse 1/
Im driving down this highway to Nashville
Cruising past thousands of souls on this street
Everybody’s looking at me like I dont belong
Thrown out of the kitchen
Kicked out ‘cos I cant stand the heat.

Instrumental break/

And I’m flyin’ cross the ocean to be left standing in a field
My life’s a joke and I’m flat broke with scars that just wont heal
You’re sayin’ that I’m lazy and I’m driving you crazy
And now you think enough’s enough

I cant help it ’bout the way that I feel
So tell me…
What became of love?

Verse 2/
I’ve run too many miles in someone elses shoes
I’ve blistered the soles of my feet
I’m being pulled this way, that way, ev’ry way but home
And cant find the doorway, don’t wanna end up on the street



Verse 3/
And now I’m back right where I started from
I just dont know when I’m beat
Everything is telling me that you think I’m wrong
And it’ll not be much longer til you run out of patience with me


To fade/

© Words by Steve McCarthy-Hunt & Melissa Hardy; Music by Steve McCarthy-Hunt/Sarah McLaughlin, 2013.

Let It Go

“….I’m writing to reach you
But I might never reach you
I long to teach you about you
But that’s not you
Do you know it’s true
And that won’t do….”

(c) Fran Healy, “Writing To Reach You” from the album “The Man Who“, 2000.

This is an early one from 2012/13, that I thought long and hard about posting as it is a bit unusual. Not unusual in that it is probably one of the rawest songs that I’ve ever written, but in the musical concepts that accompanied it – this was one of those very unusual things for me where the music came before the lyrics. The music itself was built from a series of royalty free MIDI piano loops that were assembled into longer phrases and from that point, the song began to take shape.

Its also very unusual in that the musical concept around is “imagine if Jim Steinman had written a Meatloaf/Back Into Hell style track for Peter Skellern”. The late Skellern, some of you may remember was more of an easy listening performer-cum-Cabaret artist & TV composer from the the early 70’s, best remembered for a top 3 hit, You’re A Lady, which had quite a bit of choral backing… and it was that vocal style that somehow seemed to be the sound that I thought would be appropriate for this. A rock voice would be too grandiose and not really dark enough and if there is one thing that this track is at its heart, its dark. Really dark.

The pomposity and grandiosity of the music, with its three different phases, its swooping string passages, heavy harmonised guitars and intricate bass and piano arpeggios towards the end suit the feel of the track – its meant to be intense, its meant to be over the top and slightly melodramatic. But the Meatloaf style chestbeating lyrical delivery I dont think would have suited it.

For as much as the music generates the heat and the intensity, the vocal either brings, or shows up the lack of, light. Steinman’s style of rock writing is meant to be slightly tongue in cheek whereas, without being disparaging to him, this wasnt meant to have that feel.

The words are few, but powerful and need to be taken in the context of the music itself. It describes how since I was widowed that I am never far apart from a notebook where I can capture my lyrical ideas (true to this day) and also that once it had happened that I couldnt stay in what was the family house any longer. It just had too many memories and not all of them good and every day (in a living room where you had to be dead to have your picture on display) was energy sapping and not helping the healing process. It describes isolation, it describes the thoughts about life being short and transitory and fleeting; It ponders on darker things than that which should be quite obvious at first glance.

So, Let It Go was always conceived to be the darker relative, the illegitimate offspring of You’re A Lady and I’d Do Anything For Love – a multi-part epic. Its also unusual in that its lyrics are all in the middle of the song, book-ended by solos and orchestration (which is where the comparison to I’d Do Anything For Love comes in – although this is a similar concept to Manhattan Lullaby.

Most of the rest of it is self explanatory, except for the coda. The “candles all around me, going out like streetlights” refers to lighting a small candle in a church in memory of those who are passed. The inference is that each candle represents a soul or a life. For those lights (and therefore souls or people around you that you love) to be snuffed out or turned off like streetlights, where the loss of light – and by extension, life – is sudden if experienced and seen and always catches you out when you dont expect it.

I lost both my wife and my father within 12 months of each other and this allegory seemed to be a way of giving it form or shape. The last lines are also pretty much self explanatory too – if you leave this world, too young, too early, you’ll always be this young for the rest of all time. Fate has kind of denied you the privilege of growing old and you will forever be the age that you were when you departed this world.

At least this way, by committing the lyrics to paper, it got them out of my head and was at least for a while, cathartic.

I’m hoping that this is going to end up on a future album project;  The guitar parts could do with being done by a professional, the current Work In Progress version needs remixing and needs a vocal, but apart from that, the basis of the track is finished. Almost.


It IS going to end up on an album project, specifically the No Expectations one. Also, the lyrics have been re-written from what they were. The old lyrics I have removed and the new ones that will be on the final album cut are below.

Let It Go

Outside the house
Under your window
So many photographs and memories in my head

Time to leave here
Can’t turn around now
Got to leave this town not live among the dead


Let it go (x4)

Leaving this house
Where it all still lingers
Past the corner of the street where we first met
It hurts to remember
But its far far too important to forget


Let it go (x4)


The darkness at night just leaves me in dark places
Echos of you are on there on every wall
Handcuffed to fate and a hostage to my own thoughts
Now theres no you I dont want no one at all


Let it go (x4)


Candles all around me going out like streetlights
Every day gets darker
Nothing left to fight for or hold onto
Only what I can remember
Though you’re gone too young, remember
You’ll always be this young forever…

(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt words & music, 2013/2017

Promise You Tomorrow

All the memories that flower and blossom, in this pale endymion hour,
They paint a picture of you, too good to be true
Too good to be true….

(c) Grant/Patterson, “Jocelyn Square” from the album “Strange Kind Of Love”, 1985

This was written in late April 2014 when it dawned on me that the emotional energy that I was expending into something was just radiating out into space and was never going to be reciprocated, contrary to the signs that I thought I had seen. Sometimes its possible to want things too badly, I guess.

Fun fact: The line in this song of “vermillion sunsets” was inspired by the above referenced line from Jocelyn Square and many years ago, I thought that the line was vermillion, not endymion. Its only recently, having looked closer into it, that I’ve realised what James Grant was trying to say, about the sleep of the dead. I am guessing that the reference is more to the Keats poem as opposed to the Greek mythology – its a complex piece to read. I should ask him sometime and find out because for a twenty one year old to include a reference to a Greek mythological figure in a rock song is frankly, brilliant.

There has been a couple of attempts at music for this track; I have a definite notion of how I think the vocal melody in the chorus should sound and I’ll continue to work on it. Meantime, as it is a fairly stead meter, if you wish to write your own music for it, be my guest…

Promise You Tomorrow

Verse 1/
I can promise you my tomorrows
If you’ll accept the words I say
Daydreaming of rain that turns to sunshine
In fallow fields I’m torn again

Verse 2/
I can wait in silence if thats what you want
Watching life’s time slide past window panes
In my mind I keep those precious hours
replaying again and again and again

Verse 3/
Overanalyzing every spoken word
Glamourising your every touch
the brush of your lips against my cheek
and the tightness of your hug

It leaves an echo that fades to silence
As my once bright colours revert to grey
once glowing embers turn to ashes of another lost refrain

Tomorrows a time thats always over far too soon
But our forever could last as long as the sun and the moon
Can you hear the music at sunset time
As vermilion skies give way to stars
And the dark night ends another day with your name carved on my heart

What’s happening?

This time last week, this blog wasnt even a twinkle in my eye. However, at the end of week one, a lot of the songs that I’ve been writing and working on for the last couple of years have been uploaded over the last five days.

As ever, there are still other ideas for new material buzzing around and there are a few more songs that are still to be uploaded. Some of these are from a somewhat darker phase between 2011 and 2013 and I’m undecided as yet as to whether these should be part of this collection or not as it is unlikely that I will seek to licence them. They may find their way onto an album release of my own in the next 12 to 18 months though.

A number of these current works are also in mid-composition or at least arrangement to add the music to them. As they are completed, links will be added to them.

As an aside there is a Reverbnation account that contains a number of the songs that I’ve worked on as Producer and musician over the last twenty years, both as a band member and as an independent.

Also, a Soundcloud account, which contains a number of Works In Progress and short clips of tracks in gestation – as well as some that are finished roughmixes awaiting final mixing and mastering.

Have a listen and see what you think. As ever, I’m always happy to receive any feedback, be they brickbats or bouquets.

Glass Bottomed Boat

“You could crack this stony sky
With a single burning kiss
You could bleed this starless night
Like a desert oasis

When love turns to dust, leaves the splinters of your trust
Shine on, shine on
In the beauty of the storm , I wither”

(c) James Grant, from the album “Dogs In The Traffic”, 1991

Admittedly, this one has a working title, as opposed to a final one. Written in April/May 2015. Loosely inspired by an old Love and Money track called Who In Their Right Mind? Given the opening line, the image that sprang to mind was of a couple stuck on a small rowing boat, stuck on a glass-like, calm river in a big city, but don’t exactly feel the same way about each other. The idea of that boat having a glass bottom so that everything is visible to everything else, both up and down, was appealing.

Lots of imagery and allegory, a fair amount of it “borrowed” from watching too much TV (specifically an episode of Holby City about an repeat/obsessive organ donor) and re-interpreting some of the things that characters say – not really inspired by any one person in particular. I’m still umming and ahhing about what to do with this one. It may end up being a donor song to another track. Not finished by any standards yet.

Glass Bottomed Boat              

Verse 1/
Becalmed on a river of passion
Not hard to see, you don’t feel the attraction
No silver lined clouds around to bore your view
Its not about that look in your eye
While your dreams float on by
And your love life just mends and makes do

Verse 2/
Could you grow a heart from a stone?
Maybe you could, if you’d leave it alone, for long enough.
A hostage to your anger and resentment
Seems sometimes that life is wasted on the living
And time is too easily wasted by the young.

The sound of sobbing drowned by the silence
Of the dance of blue lights
And I never stopped to ask you how you felt
‘Bout makin’ sacrifices you never asked me to, to make it last
And when you reach the bottom of your glass
All you can taste is the bitterness of the past.

Middle 8/
Sitting here with you in a room where you’ve never been
Talking ‘bout places and people you’ve never even seen.
The walls have eyes to go with their mouths and ears
And you’ll listen and look and fight to be free of all your fears.

Verse 3/
You get under my skin like no one else
Take me right to the edge then reel me back in
And the steam of your promises in winter fade with the mist.
You paint a landscape in my mind full of mountains to climb
And leaving me with a path to the top that’s just too hard to find.

(c) Lyrics: Steve McCarthy-Hunt, 2015


“Loving you… isnt the right thing to do
How can I ever change things that I feel?
If I could, baby
I’d give you my world…
How can  I, when you wont take it from me?”

(c) Lindsay Buckingham, “Go Your Own Way”, from the album “Rumours”, 1976

This was written around the same time as Heart On A Shelf (October 2014). Same subject matter, same person who flitted in and out of my life like a butterfly as the inspiration/muse behind it. It was a pretty intense time and I guess writing songs like this was the release. Written with a kinda Neil Finn vibe in mind, especially the Coda.


Verse 1/
It was another place, another time
All I wanted was to make you mine
In the empty spaces I wrote another line
In the heat of the day and the dead of the night

Starting each night in the fading light
Always speaking the language of touch
Only one of us sees, with a heart that bleeds
And for the other one, it’s never enough

Verse 2/
Deep in the night, still your eyes are so bright
No other part of you tells me so much
Just two strangers in need of a random connection
Who’ll go their own way tomorrow and not ask for directions


Middle 8/
I’ve got bottles of memories and shoe boxes of dreams
Labelled “Death”, “Divorce”, “Never Was” and plain old “Never Will Be”,
I only see what’s left that I don’t need to see
Dont know where I’m going, but staying here’s not for me…


Now I’m watching the rise and I’m watching the fall
Of the tiny spiders trying to make their way up the wall
Working so hard to make something out of nothing at all
And you know I’d give you this big old heart
Just for the cost of a call…

(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt, October 2014.

Heart On A Shelf

“Something happens and I’m head over heels… I never find out, til I’m head over heels…”

(c) Orzabal/Smith, “Head Over Heels”, from the album “Songs From The Big Chair”, 1985

This was written in October 2014. Basically, I met someone who hooked me all the way in, very fast and I found myself regurgitated back up again equally quickly. An emotional bulimic, maybe, without being too harsh on her. Then again, maybe it is a little harsh…. Regardless of how much initial pleasure it may give to the senses, ultimately food is inert, it doesnt aspire to be re-consumed once its been sampled and then wrapped up in some kitchen paper and put in the waste.  Anyway. I’m drifting off topic. This was written as the writing on the wall became clearer.

This concept of someone who just cant help but leave a particularly sensitive part of himself behind in someone else’s world, no matter how short an amount of time he spends there, with the hope that they’ll wake up to the notion that all they have to do is just acknowledge it, is me all over I guess. Romanticized futility in three stanzas.

If anything, its more a poem than anything else at the moment. Not sure what is going to happen to it yet. There are bits of it that I think would work lyrically as a song, but others that I’m not so sure about. Eitherway, I’m not convinced that it’ll make the KOAS album cuts. Not in this form.

Heart On A Shelf

Verse 1/
I can kid myself I’m wise
But I’m just a sentimental guy
I keep leaving my heart behind
But I know where it hides
On your pillow
In your room
Leaving it growing
Promise me you’ll find it soon?

And maybe I’ll remember next time
Not to leave it behind
Or maybe I’ll bury it in your garden
For you maybe one day to find

Even thought its right under your nose
Blooming like a flower
In the new spring or winter melting snow
Know that it’ll stay right with you
No matter where you go

Verse 2/
And you can ignore it or leave it behind
Abandon it if you think you must
You can choose not to take any promise I make
And put it all down just to middle aged lust

Verse 3/Coda/

But thats not me, I’m not what you see
Not just another old book bound in dust
My heart’s still there on your shelf
Still beating away all by itself
And there it’ll stay
Waiting for your touch

(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt Oct 2014

Once Was Promising

“You surely are a truly gifted kid
But you’re only as good as
The last great thing you did
And where’ve you been since then?….”

“….If it’s uphill all the way
You should be used to it by now…”

“….You must know me, father it’s your son
And I know that you are proud
Of everything I’ve done
But it’s the wonders I perform
Pulling rabbits out of hats
When sometimes I’d prefer simply to wear them”

(c) Paddy MacAloon “Moving The River” from the album “Steve McQueen“, 1983

This one was written in May/June 2015. What fired the imagination initially on this one was the title which came from a misheard part of a riff from a famous Allman Brothers track, Midnight Rider – I had been watching a show where they had performed a really sparse version of it and the “…I got one more silver dollar…” line was the catalyst for this song.

Ultimately, its a story of unfulfilled ambition. And, ambition that is thwarted through the artist’s own inaction and reticence, a lack of time, a lack of willingness to share their gift or just cynicism with the industry. And, to echo the words of Steve Hogarth, “… will you get what you want… to be cursed with your dreams?

As with life itself sometimes, it isnt the destination that brings the fulfilment and the rewards, its the journey that teaches you the most, so they say.

If you dont take that final step off the highway to reach your eventual destination… does that keep the creation that you’ve poured your heart into that bit more pure and untainted? Maybe so, maybe not. Depends why you got into the business in the first place. Having seen members of my own family make their living in this profession and walk away from it, broken and cynical, I think I can understand that lack of desire to fully engage with it.

Anyway. This is seen from the perspective of a songwriter, an author, a painter and a musician. All getting to within that one last step then questioning whether it was what they really wanted. But understanding deep down that maybe, just maybe that they had something special. If only for a short while…

Im hoping that this one will start to take a more solid form for the KOAS London Road project, but there’s quite a way to go yet. It could well end up with a partial or full rewrite.

Once Was Promising

Verse 1/Intro

Watching the clock running down
Aint got forever any more
God knows I’ve learned its hell in the hallway,
While you’re waiting for that opening door.

Dont believe much in Jesus
But I’m told he once believed in me
But what would he think if he’d chosen the same road
And walked in the same shoes as me?

Just one more shot at the silver lining
Just one more rainbow to follow
If not today, then theres twice as far to run tomorrow
Dont care nothing any more for money, dont care to beg steal or borrow
Because I once was promising… but now its left me hollow

Verse 2/
Just one more song, that’ll open the door
Just to prove I’ve got it, then I wont worry anymore.
But the chords wont come and the words wont flow
Dont want ya to hear it yet, I dont wanna hear you say “no”
Maybe I’m a fool, but its my call to say so


Verse 3/
Just one more chapter of the story to tell
I already know who dies in the end, I wrote it so well
Lost in an online sea of unknown dreamers just like me
Trying to be heard above all the noise in the game
But it all sounds, exactly the same


Verse 4/
Just one more brush stroke to finish the picture
To hang it with all the rest
Forty years of dreams on canvas
Like I’ve given myself a test
A life’s work in a gallery on Main Street where no one comes
But they’re snapshots in time forever, what is done is now done


Middle 8/
Just one more performance, one more show
To find a dream realised and end up so soon despised
But I cant afford to let it go
So much talking, drinking, tobacco, it doesnt move me any more
I always thought this was what I wanted… but now I’m not so sure any more.


(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2015

Come Back To Me, Money

“If I cant have your love,
I dont want nothin’ at all

If I cant have your love,
I’ll keep my heart behind the wall

I don’t want to see the sun
Don’t want nothing from no one
And night and day don’t mean a thing to me”

(c) Jon Allen, from the album “Deep River”, 2013

A blues-y type composition written in May/June 2015. Inspired by a singer/songwriter who I admire called Jon Allen. I heard one of his tracks called All The Money’s Gone and it dawned on me to turn that concept on its head… instead of a guy saying to a girl, hey all the money has gone but we’ve still got each other and all that fluff…well, what if I reversed that – and had the protagonist lamenting that all the girls have gone and that he wants the money back because now they’ve gone, he’s nothing to show for it?

So, that’s how this song came about. Another track of Jon Allen’s (Night & Day) had quite a blues based structure so, I shamelessly thought, I’ll use the blues as a template and see how it evolves. Thats why it scans like a blues song.

Come Back To Me Money

Verse 1/

Hey now, come on home to me, Money,
I promise all the good girls have gone
You belong with me, my sweet Money,
And I know what I did was so, so wrong
I know I’ve been a damned fool to ever let you go
And I miss you more than you’d ever know

Verse 2/

I know I gave you up, my dear Money,
Thought I could keep you, but then you were gone
Gave you away to fly ’round the world, honey,
And I ended up right back where I started from
You fell right through my fingers, darling Money,
I was such a fool to ever let you go.
And I still miss you more than you’d ever know

Mid 8/

Please come home to me, Money
You never let me down, and God alone knows, I know it now
You know I’m wrapped around your little finger now, Money
You’re the only one I’ll ever need to be around…


Verse 3/

We had some great times, didn’t we Money,
Stars, cars, guitars, wine and cigars, they’re all gone
Let me take you back home now, sweet sweet money,
Back in my arms where you know you really belong
I’m gonna look you right in the eye and I was a fool to let you go,
And I still miss you more than you’d ever know

(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2015