The song Black Magic was written towards the end of the production of the As One album. I really wanted to get it on As One, but it would have delayed things. So I figured I would save it for the next release and as it turned out it was a good thing.
I think it’s hard driving sound complements, on the electric songs, the rounded offering of the material on the album as a whole.
The song, “Songbird” is a balance of what is found on the rest of the CD. It contains a good upbeat pop tempo, as well as the acoustic sound found on the ballads. This is one of the unique things about this song and why it is the opening and title track!
Songbirds desire one thing and one thing only…to sing.
Songbirds have a self contained joy. Desiring nothing from without and resting content with everything. Songbirds remain free of egoistic likes and dislikes. This freedom harbors the quiet security of a heart fortified within itself.
Listen to “Songbird” on YouTube.
In some ways, the Songbird CD is something of a roller coaster type of experience. It has up-tempo pop songs and slower ballads throughout. After four of these changes, it culminated with a hard edged rock song Black Magic. I would have left it that way, and everyone thought I would. However, I tried putting Courage after Black Magic and I liked how it sounded. Also, I thought it a unique way to end.
Courage is the only song that I do not sing the lead vocal or sing as a duet. I only help in the backround vocal. This is because Abby sang it so well. As a matter of fact, she sang it so well that we held back on the recording. This is because what she did deserves two versions. The one you hear on the recording and the one you will hear live!
Listen to “Courage“.
Originally, I had intended to record this song without any accompaniment. I thought the solo guitar and vocal would complement the message of the song… and it does. However, the other instruments enhance the song greatly (and I can always perform it solo). So the proper thing to do was to add the strings.
Also, I thought it might be better if Abby sang this song (without me). As it turned out, I was correct, because she was wonderful. What a great voice!
Listen to the song Courage.
Courage is a song born of the “Great Recession”. It was a time of great loss and uncertainty of the future. At the time, courage is what was required to keep one’s head, deal with the situation and remain true to one’s principles. This song asks for the courage for these things.
Although we do not know what the future brings, what we do know is… we need to be true to ourselves. This is because, being true to one’s self is the only thing superior to all external fate.
Sometimes it takes more courage to be true to yourself… this was one of those times.
This is why, I believe, courage is the greatest human virtue of them all.
This song is the “heavy hitter” rock song for the album. Of all of the electric songs
(Bass, Drums, Electric Guitar), this song has the most energy and punch. It was originally going to be placed as the last song (The idea was to go out with a bang) however, in the end, I liked the idea of this song followed by Courage.
Listen to “Black Magic“.
The music comes from the energy within that produces such things. I guess when you have the right amplifier, guitar and volume…these types of songs happen. At its core the song is really a blues progression.
As for the arrangement, I was thinking of a horn section, for the beginning and in between the lyrics but Jimmy did a great violin part so we went with violin.
The lyrics come from a time when I was close to someone who was “Wicca”. The things that happen in the song come from the procedures that they follow when casting spells and/or performing rituals. That is…from what I was told.
Listen to “Black Magic”.
Originally this song contained Acoustic Guitar and Violin. Abby and I sang the duet and at the end of the song we both sang “rounds” for a number of measures through to the end of the song.
Then, the first time I worked with Rachel, we played the Fall …just me and her. She started playing along with the same Cello part that you hear in the beginning of the recording. It pretty much changed the direction that I had thought the song was going… and yet, still added to the same emotional content that was already present.
When Jimmy and Abby heard what we had, the task was to change what we had been doing by getting out of the way and trying to enhance the new tone (Cello) of the song…which we did!