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
Forgiver
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.

Chorus/
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

Touch

“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.

Touch

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

Chorus/
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

Chorus/

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…

Solo/

Coda/
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?

Bridge/
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

Chorus/
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?

Chorus/
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

Chorus/

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

Chorus/

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

Chorus/

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.

Chorus/

(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…

Solo

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

Amorphous

Written in June 2015, probably during watching daytime TV. Believe it or not, from a mis-heard phrase in another song. What was actually “more thoughts”, I heard as “Amorphous”. And, considering that the word literally means (in this context at least) a collection of thoughts without form, I thought it somehow appropriate to use as a song title.

Fans of a certain, often repeated TV show may recognise the Wedding Band Boneyard line. Yes, I did appropriate it from that show, in case you wondered.

It doesnt really have a theme or a story behind it, although it is full of imagery and allegory. Like a lot of songs, there are some autobiographical aspects but none of any particular consequence.

Amorphous

Verse 1/
Time came when he’d  never leave the house
Without wearing something in black
Police found his clothes on the beach one day
With a note that said “Never Coming Back”

Verse 2/

He was an ordinary man til the wolf moved in
And bought the house next door
He never bothered with the cobwebs on the ceiling
And didnt care about the dust on the floor

Chorus/
Last night he stowed away on the ship of fools
Took a small suitcase and all of her jewels
To an island in the sea surrounded by stars
She knew she’d never trust him again
When he said he wanted to be more than friends
And his hourglass had to run out in the end.

Verse 3/
Couldnt stay any more when the wolf smelled the fear
As he growled and scratched at the door
And the bus from the wedding band boneyard
Bought in so many more and more (and more)

Chorus/

Middle 8/
Was it all about keeping control?
She dont need a priest if theres no sin at confessional
He lets her unload and unload and just sits and he listens
And absolution’s the love she didnt care for unless it glistened…

(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2015

Strange Girl

Written in Summer 2014 after I met someone who just appeared to be going through the motions, emotionally. Im trying to be non judgmental about it – in the same way that I can’t help my emotional responses to things, to her no doubt it was all completely normal. Maybe I was just looking for the wrong things in the wrong places. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Strange Girl

Verse 1/
Met a strange girl in a strange house
Drove to her strange house in a strange car
Looking into those strange blue eyes
Trying to find a strange new light
Seeing nothing familiar

Verse 2/
What its take to get closer to you?
Sitting around on this strange afternoon
Dont know you well enough yet
To think about regretting what I’ve not yet said
From Sunday to Monday

Bridge/
I didnt think I’d be so out of my depth
I didnt think… well, thats my problem, I guess
And I dont know what you’re looking for just yet
Its all so strangely familiar

Middle 8/
Can you start a fire without friction
All of that passion’s been worn away by attrition
Driven by what you can get?
I can give you all that I can give
Might not be much, but its all still mine to live
But you cant take all of the time, putting nothing back
I cant keep on making up for all those things you lack
Its all just so strangely familiar.

(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt, 2014

South To The Sun

This was written on a BASCA songwriting retreat with the brilliant Lisa Fitzgibbon. It grew from a combination of a topline and a chord progression that Lisa had and a theme that had been found by both of us going through my old lyric book looking for lines that would fire our imagination. The track was pretty much done inside 24 hours and I’m really, really pleased with it.

The more sharp eyed readers will notice not only a line that has been used elsewhere in another song, but also part of the story as well which has been re-examined through a different view through the prism. As is the case with a number of my works, its core subject is around loss and transformation and change – and adaptation to the changing world around us.

South To The Sun

Verse 1/
I whispered a wish into the palm of my hand (hello, hello)
My memory drinks from a solitary glass (let it go, let it go)
The autumn rain falls on my face
And the leaves on the trees turn brown
As the birds fly south to the sun…

Verse 2/
Wearing two gold bands attached to a chain (I know, I know)
They’re here to remind me that you wont go away and I know… (let it go)
The autumn rain falls on my face
And the leaves on the trees turn brown
As the birds fly south to the sun…

Middle 8/
Your coat’s in the hallway
Your shoes at the door
I turn on the lights and watch the dust settle
Days growing shorter and the shadows grow longer
And I look at the sky and I smile a little
As the birds fly south to the sun…

Verse 3/
Time is a thief, makes the memory fade, I know (I know)
He comes and he steals a little piece every day and I know, ‘cos I let him go
Autumn rain falls on my face as the leaves on the trees turn brown
Todays not just another day
Because I’ve nothing left to fear now
As the birds fly south to the sun…

(c) 2014 Lyrics by Steve McCarthy-Hunt, Music by Lisa Fitzgibbon

Your Town

“.…Up on the street, lights shining bright
Watch the world go by down on the walkway
The shadows try to kiss the night goodbye
Well I need you now, I want you now
And If I die, will I be born again?…

(c) Steven Lindsay, “Big Town” from the album “Satellites“, 1991

Written in 2013, not long after circumstances had moved me on from the town that I should, on deeper reflection, never have moved to in the first place. I hadnt bargained on ending up in the countryside, but… its proved to be a fruitful place to write, so every cloud has a lining of a different hue.

Inspired by the need to move on and embrace change and an old Big Dish track from the late 1980s.

Your Town

Verse 1/
A morning mist dissolving,
Buried treasure that will never be found
You wont know where you are if you don’t look around
Just minding your business, keeping your head down

Verse 2/
Don’t play my guitars any more
The lost chord remains unfound
This is the lie that I’ll live in
Til the day I leave your town

Chorus/
Leaving your town, your town
(Wouldn’t have to leave if you’re still around)
Leaving your town, your town
(Gonna find somewhere else to settle down)

Middle 8/
Now neither of us know how this will unwind
All that we know is that life don’t run on straight lines…

Chorus/

Solo/

Chorus/

CODA/
Such a bitter pill left behind
Grass wont grow on dead ground
Don’t care where, just anywhere but here
No home in your town now you’re not around…

(c) Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2013

Come Home Soon

Written in April/May 2015. Inspired by two things. One being the concept of someone who goes away to sea to earn money but finds that by going away he has to travel further away to earn more money to be able to return home… by which point, he has travelled further away, so needs to earn more… and it repeats and repeats until he’s travelled the worlds oceans to be reunited with his family.

The second one being a Norah Jones track. Which shall remain nameless.

One of my collaborators has done a sterling job in putting this to music; once I receive a copy of the mastered track, I’ll attach it.

Come Home Soon

Verse 1/
I could cross an angry sea
And leave my footprints far behind me
Fly over the ocean in skies so blue
I’d go anywhere just to be with you

Verse 2/
I think about you on the rising sea
And I know you’re always with me
While my working life always drags me away
Its only you that brings me home each day

Chorus/
No need to say a prayer tonight before you sleep
I’m not too big to miss you, our love is ocean deep
Keep me in your heart, you know I’ll be home soon
Write my name in the stars, I love you like the sun and the moon

Verse 3/
I will cross a tranquil sea
Counting all the miles between you and me
Got to go all round the world to get back to you
All the money and time cant bring me back too soon

Chorus/

Middle 8/
They can stretch this thing that binds us
But it’ll always bring me back to you
They’ll never break this thing that binds us
It’s the thread that always brings me back to you…

Chorus/solo

V4/
I have crossed the seven seas
Counted every footstep between you and me
Crossed every ocean, flown every sky so blue
Don’t want to be just anywhere
I want to be with you.

(c) Lyrics: Steve McCarthy-Hunt, Music by David J Barnes, 2015