Live in Benfeita
This gig and it’s recording were somewhat sprung on me pretty unexpectedly. My wife and I were travelling around Portugal on our pre-wedding honeymoon, working on farms and living the good life. One of our stops was in a beautiful mountain village called Benfeita. We slipped right in to feeling at home here and really gelled with the community. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a group of people quite like the bunch we felt so at home with in Benfeita.
Between digging and planting we would go back to the house for refreshments and I’d pick up the guitar for another kind of digging and planting. Richard and Kristin enjoyed what I did and, thinking other people in the area would too, suggested putting on a house concert. This recording is that house concert.
It was a truly special evening that came about at a time when I needed some support for my music. I wanted to preserve that atmosphere. That’s why this recording is largely unedited. Hopefully it gives you the feeling of being there a little more and the warm intimacy that you can only feel when in the comfort and security of friends. Thank you, Benfeita.
The Devil’s Fire
This record was triggered by the one-off recording of St O’ Killers. It set the tone. It encouraged a deeper venture into a fascination with a fictional Wild West. Charlie Parr’s song ‘Warmin’ By The Devil’s Fire’ was the catalyst for having a group of unfortunate souls inexplicably gather round a fire to each tell their gruesome histories. And with a little artistic license, personal experience came in very handy. I wanted to tell stories with the songs just not necessarily my own.
I wrote the songs and put the collection together over about three years. Oddly they started to work together very cinematically in my head – from the slow drifting in of each of the wanderers in Terry’s Western to the deconstructive madness in The Hedgehog. I’d play these songs and picture the scenes unfolding as if I was playing along to a twisted spaghetti western of my own making. Each song stage calls another character into the firelight. The question is what connects them all and where’s the Devil, is this just confession or is there penance to be paid?
Don’t Ever Work
This record, like The Devil’s Fire, was formed over many years and catalogued parts of my own life’s journey. Overall it’s a record that speaks of my love affair with Nature. Being pushed away and pushing away the very thing that inspires and excites me to love, play, sing and reflect. Yet never being able to entirely forget or reject Nature’s metaphors – the rope that binds me to it and helps me pull myself back in.
Naturally, entwined amongst these little green odes is the story of my own cultivation through relationships both internal and external. The love-hate dichotomy of interacting with the constructed world around me. In reflection this record feels embarrassingly angsty but I think the gentleness of its overall movement helps to keep the album grounded despite its honest but somewhat heavy-handed sentiments.