Track One – Running Free
My childhood memories are of running wild and free in the fields and woods near my home in the seaside town of Bangor, just outside Belfast. On the weekends in summer people would gather to walk or just sit on the sea wall and catch up with friends on the waterfront on Queens Parade. Not unlike Melbourne’s St Kilda.  The conversations were good and there were usually a few colourful local characters to amuse us all. I have come realise how wonderful a place Bangor was to grow up and what an idyllic childhood I had. I can remember cruising around the bay in the little clinker built rowing boat my father gave me for my 11th birthday. Summer just never seemed to end with the influx of Scottish tourists, the 12th of July procession with all the Orange men in their orange sashes and bowler hats, banners with King Billy on his white charger flapping in the breeze, kids with ice creams, Bangor rock and yellowman (local confectionary) parents with brown paper bags of freshly dried dulse (local seaweed snack) and the smell of fresh new season strawberries on the street stalls. I can remember sitting on the sea wall around 1960 as the SS Canberra sailed out on her way up Belfast lough on her maiden voyage to be fitted out somewhere in England. Back then she seemed so futuristic and modern.  I hope this song conveys some of the joy I experience when reminiscing back to this magical time.

Track Two - Beautiful Way
This song is about ‘joie de vivre’, ‘the joy of living’, the heady feeling of being in love, the simple enjoyment of being alive and sharing time with one’s significant other. The musical inspiration for this song is probably drawn from the music of Sam Cooke with a hint of Al Green.

Track Three – Dreams
We live in a physical world but draw such a wealth of information from our own subconscious mind. This song drew inspiration from reading the poems of Edgar Alan Poe and W.B Yeats. I have borrowed a few of their phrases interwoven with my own. I guess this song might be about accessing that area of subconscious through dreams and perhaps the issue of trust in sharing the intimacy of that with another.

Track Four - Nothing I Can Do
I have visited this theme in many songs. It’s the old story of being away from a loved one for extended periods of time with the subsequent feelings of loneliness, emptiness, helplessness and hopelessness. It is the core subject of a great deal of blues and country music.

Track Five - I’m Not Your Fool
How many of us have experienced this feeling at some point in our lives. The ‘I’ve just woken up to who you really are’ feeling and ‘how could I have missed all those signals’ realisation.

Track Six - Slip Away
Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realise how incredible life really is and how fortunate we are to actually be alive. It is so easy to get caught up in the negative. I am not just talking about the negativity around us but rather the root of negativity within us. While we dwell on the negative, life passes us by and the opportunity to experience joy often slips away. In the face of adversity it can be very difficult to be positive, but in some ways we have no choice, we sink or swim. A wise person once said if we are suffering depression then we are dwelling too much on the past and if we are suffering anxiety, then we are spending too much time worrying about the future and as we swing between these two states, life slips away.


Track Seven - What It Means
I often have very strange inexplicable dreams and what I can remember of them I sometimes try to unravel mostly without success. So this song is a ‘what was that all about’ plea.

Track Eight - How Long
If you grapple with an addictive nature you will relate to the sentiment in this song. This song is a really a simple boogie groove, and it draws influence from the music of John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Elmore James.

Track Nine - Believe
This is a message for the few of us that may be occasionally hindered by a lack of confidence in ourselves. From time to time we all need a little positive reinforcement and encouragement to forge ahead and be our best. A flippant comment from our childhood or a little negative remark like ‘you could never do that’ or ‘you are hopeless’ or even just a repeated put down like ‘you are an idiot’ from an unconscious adult can sew that seed of doubt that carries into our adult life. We need to take care what we say to others even in jest, especially children. It can take considerable rebuilding to undo that kind of damage. There are many kinds of belief we can have in this life but the most important is belief in ourselves. I love deep groove songs and the inspiration for this is from artists such as Isaac Hayes, The Temptations, The Staple Singers, Bobby Womack, Sly Stone and Massive Attack.

Track Ten - It’s Gonna Get Hot
This is just a fun groove written during a classic Melbourne heatwave where the temperature reached the low 40s for days on end with no respite and no cool change in sight. Way too hot for this Irish lad in fear that his blood might boil. Once again we go back to a hypnotic groove, revisiting some of the themes from my first solo album ‘Holywell’.

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Madonna Melrose - Melrose International
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