Track By Track

This was one of the first songs I wrote that broke my stalled years of writing. I had the overwhelming urge to express my gratitude to my Colin Cripps, who had shared so many of my formative music and life experiences, especially after my first album came out. When Voyageur came out, the public narrative of that album was always perceived to be songs about our breakup, when in fact, they were songs I'd written when we were still married. I just had this wave of nostalgia for the funny things you navigate as a couple and how life is always reminding you of memories you hold close in your heart.

This song is me waking the fuck up. And exiting. Written on the floor of my empty house after leaving a bad situation.

This song wasn't on my radar until Ian Fitchuk asked me if I had any other ideas or songs in the vault somewhere. I played it for him in his living room and I recall him exhaling quite loudly at the end. He was quite insistent it be part of the record. It was hard capturing the essence of it from that initial sofa moment, but I always loved the sentiment of Total Freedom, because after trying to make something happen that wasn't happening, I realized the relief of not being responsible for anyone except the dogs and feeding the birds and the joy of the simplicity of their company.

I give full credit to my childhood best friend for helping me finish the story behind "love is simple math," a line I had churning in my mind for a long time, with no idea where to place it. We reconnected after a long period of not being in contact, but we picked up where we left off, and she reminded me of so many beautiful things about friendship and how powerful childhood love is.

This was written initially as an expression of love to someone. And in the end it was a fortuitous tale of someone poking holes in your own narrative in an attempt to feel reassured. Which, in turn, makes it easier to leave when it's time to see things for what they are. Nothing like writing your own outcome long before you realize that's what you're doing. Oh, and I absolutely LOVE Daniel Tashian's vocals on this song, they're my favourite parts.

Feelings fade, you wouldn't be the first, but not knowing hurts worse. 
This vocal and guitar are from a single pass in front of a microphone at Jim's studio. I'd re-recorded and rearranged this song so many times but finally landed on this version that spoke exactly the sentiment of an experience I spent years trying to make sense of. Pete added this drum part that just put it right where it needed to be, a nice parting middle finger of sorts. It's frequently my favourite on the record.

When you listen to a podcast called "dirty john" and realize it's a parallel to your own life, shit gets real. Took a while to finally feel ready to write this one, and hopefully I can just let the song speak for itself. It's my armour song of late.

Someone I knew and thought the world of, who I'd come to know as a customer at Quitters, died suddenly shoveling snow 2 years ago. He was only a few years older than me. At the funeral, I sat seething about it, the unfairness of his death and the senselessness of it all on his wife and children. I wrote this song in about 20 minutes a few days after the funeral, and it was my way of venting my sadness, it also reminded me I don't want anyone to mention God when I die.

My dog Redd died. He was my faithful companion. In the final week, when I decided it was time to let him go in dignity, he never faltered in his loving character. He made everyone smile (anyone who doesn't smile looking at a golden retriever is probably an evil shithead) and always carried a stuffy in his mouth wherever he went. I buried his ashes under a little catalpa tree. The acoustic version of the song is a one-take pass off the floor at Jim's house. Jim remarked that I would have to make it through the chorus without crying if we were going to make it a usable track. It took a while, but we got there. 

The double-edged sword of songs written from a painful moment in time: By the time you record and sing them, you'd like the sentiment to be left long behind, but it also reminds you of the authenticity of the work. I was quite happy to leave this song in the vault after initially recording the beds for it but Peter, my drummer, talked me into listening to it one more time before concluding it was cut from the album. I conceded that it had something special and real not to be abandoned. It's just a sentiment of something passed now, and I can carry the sounds and words, but don't have to be caught in the memory of it. It also had a closing drum part that felt like the door shut, just the right end to an album.

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