Track By Tracks: Brightshine - The Wire (2022)

1. New Days:

“New Days” came to me as a sliver of hope in the darkest days of the pandemic. The lyrics acknowledge the darkness that pervaded much of the lockdown, while pointing towards the possibility of positive change arising from that darkness. It was the first song we recorded after not seeing each other or playing together for 10 months and you can really feel that energy coming through track. Because we record everything live, we were able to capture on the recording the joy felt playing together after so much had gone down in 2020.

2. The Wire:

Writing “The Wire” started out with me composing the opening chord fanfare and listening to that and wondering what a song would sound like that had those chord hits as its opener. As soon as I asked myself that question, the other sections tumbled out and I had the whole song mapped out pretty quickly. I wrote the instrumental bridge a month or so later as a sound painting of what it might feel like to walk a tightrope wire. The song imagines relationships and creative endeavors as an act of walking on a wire, always balancing and about to fall off, and examines how we also communicate along a wire (internet, telephone, etc.) and how it can be sometimes difficult to communicate with one another, particularly during the pandemic when everything was communicated along “the wire” with almost no face-to-face contact with other humans.

3. Airborne:

I wrote the chord changes to “Airborne” many years ago and always loved the dong but had never released it. It’s based around chords influenced by Joni Mitchell’s work on “Hejira” and Don Juan’s “Reckless Daughter.” Joni uses unusual chords with interesting extensions that she creates for each of her songs. She calls them “chords of inquiry.” These types of chords create a suspended, floating feeling and worked well for the lyrics in “Airborne.” I had a writing session with Eric (keyboards) and Celso (drums) right before the pandemic and they wrote the riff together. The chords Eric put to the hook fit into “Airborne” perfectly and were even in the same key, so it seemed like destiny that they would fit together! I harmonized Eric’s riff with guitars to make it a little more epic sounding, and connected the riff to my verses and chorus I had already, and the song was born.

4. Arrow In The Dark:

When I wrote “Arrow In The Dark” we had finished all the other songs on the album and I was nearly done mixing the record. I loved it immediately and felt like it really belonged on the album. Celso and Murph laid down a killer groove and Paul contributed some beautifully funky organ work and really makes the track jump. The song examines the experience of trying to reconcile my inner and outer worlds during the pandemic and feeling like my life and possibly humanity itself is an “arrow in the dark” speeding toward an unseen and perhaps unknown target. Hugh Syme, the cover artist, loved the lyric and I suggested we use an image of a Zen archer, which Hugh rendered beautifully on the album cover, adding a wonderfully mysterious layer to the cover art.

5. Until We Fall:

“Until We Fall” is another one of those songs that came out fully completed before I even knew what I was writing about. It features some of the same “chords of inquiry” featured in “Airborne” and it makes clever use of odd time signatures to create a feeling of teetering on the highest branch of a tree and trying to stay there as long as possible before the inevitable fall. It examines our lives as a series of cycles where we climb as high as we can, then we fall and start over again, with life itself being the utility example of that cycle. In this way, it shares themes with “The Wire,” trading the tightrope for the highest bough of the tree as the point where we stand “swaying in the wind, until we fall.” The band played so beautifully on this song, creating the perfect vibe for the lyrics.

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