‘Running Free’

There’s something appealing about lyrics that are in direct contrast to the melody. One can be tight and forced, the other free and flowing; or one is happy and bouncy, while the other is sombre and serious.

‘Running Free’, the title track of my second album, feels just like that.

Now, while I don’t want to come across as a tortured artist, this song does exemplify the idea that art is informed by suffering. This song commemorates the sad loss of my beloved mongrel stray George. She just appeared at my door collarless one day and stayed with us for several years. Unfortunately, one weekend, when she was being cared for by friends, she was involved in an accident and, despite several operations, she never made a recovery. The only humane option left to us was euthanasia.

It may not be a happy story, but the song itself always feels good to sing and play. It feels joyful to me because it’s a celebration of her life. George was a true free spirit, who often needed to run as fast as she could, only returning to me when she was exhausted.

I found the tuning for the song by trial and error; adjusting the tuning of the strings and looking for a new or unique sound in the pattern of the notes that are presented to me by the six strings. This is often how I find different tunings, voicings, and those chord shapes that sets my slide playing out as individual. Making ‘my sound’.

I’ve recorded ‘Running Free’ twice, both times with the Kora player Dan Wilkins, who I got to know through a friend. Each version feels very different to me. The original, on the album ‘Running Free’, is slow, considered and restrained; and the second version, on ‘Can’t Teach an Old Dog’, sees us letting rip, played with as much speed and gusto as we can manage. In this version, I’m searching for space to play amidst Dan’s frenetic Kora playing as he lets fly with fingers and thumbs – both of us on the edge and full of laughter.

I feel both versions are a fitting tribute to my loyal friend.

To hear a segment of the first version of ‘Running Free’, click below:

 

To hear a section of ‘Running Free’ from the album ‘Can’t Teach an Old Dog’, click below:

 

‘Running Free’ the album, can be bought directly from me, here, and downloaded on iTunes, here.

‘Can’t Teach An Old Dog’ can be purchased directly from me, here, and downloaded on iTunes, here.

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