The hardest question I'm asked about songwriting is “What kind of songs do you write?” One
answer could be that they're not love songs. The word “love” does appear in the lyrics: it appears in the
past tense in “Let Them Go” because that's about letting go of loves (and other things) from the past.
“Something Of You” mentions “someone I love” but it could be male, female, brother, sister or
parent - anyone who had a profound influence on us. Having said that, there are two songs which are
about “relationships”: “I Wonder Where You Are” describes the situation of two people being
separated and not knowing where the other person is. “Don't Get Weary Of Me” says that although
the world can be a bit tiresome, it's nice to have somewhere to hide and someone to hide with.
We shouldn't presume that all songs are written from personal experience: “One Of Those Days”
is totally fictitious apart from having to wipe the windscreen of a car parked outside during a chilly night.
I'm sure we've all done that! The story was adapted from a section in a wonderful book by Leslie
Thomas called “The Adventures Of Goodnight And Loving”. “Into The Blue” is also an imaginary
situation about how we can look at other people and think they are in an enviable position, although we
don't really know that. “Up On The Hill” is the track which includes the title of the collection. Some
people are so busy achieving, there's no time for enjoying where they are, in other words “looking back
at the view.”
Two tracks are songs without words (or “trees with no leaves” as Graham Nash once described
instrumentals). “Open Road” should be the kind of music to play driving along a clear road on a sunny
day in early summer (another imaginary situation…) while “Spindrift” is evocative of a beach in
Australia which is where the birdsong featured was recorded. Two songs mention months: “Last Day
In August” is about that moment when you can sense there's a change in the air but it's not yet Autumn.
“November Blues” is not a blues song but about the depression that can set in when you realise it's
going to be a long winter. “The River” could be any river but the one I had in mind was the Wharfe in
Yorkshire, from Buckden to Bolton Abbey, one of my favourite parts of England. You may recognise
the title “Longing In Their Hearts” as a song by Bonnie Raitt but her title suggested to me a very
different kind of song. One of the line is this songs says “There may be someone feeling the same as
me”. I never know if a though in a song will connect. Perhaps some will; maybe they can also be
enjoyed as songs.