Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Hehehe - the heading sounds vaguely impressive!
This blog entry covers the songs that make up SOAR's second imaginery CD in 2011 and features songs written between May and August and listed here in a rough order of writing.
Love Letter
Love Wins
Wild Winds
The Sunflower
Tell Me About Tomorrow
All Through The Night
Fragile Notes
From Another Page
I Used To Hear You Say A Prayer
If I Could Fly (Lalita's Song)
The Ballad of Hope and Prime
Three common threads in SOAR's songwriting are revisited in this album, secondlife based songs, ecopolitcal, and of course love songs which dominate this album. It is true that much of SOAR's earliest material sought inspiration, indeed thrived upon sweet naive love and the torment of relationship break down but this album sees SOAR reaching further into the pool of love related writing. The songs are matched with sparser and more intricate arrangements overall which helps gives this collection of songs a common identity.
I have an inkling that SOAR's upcoming Christmas CD compilation will be named Fragile Notes so i shall choose another title for this album - then let it be, Love Letter.
All but one song has been debuted in secondlife gigs (Wild Winds) and all songs except If I Could Fly, words written by Lalita Graves, were penned by SOAR.
Forgive the complete absence of a she-doggone-up-and-left-me song from this album - we will overcompensate for this in a future album :)
Thanks for reading and for being part of our reasons to write.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


So far this year SOAR has had another year rich with new songs. We pretty much play them as we write them because that's why we write them - to play for people. I am ok with missing out on the thrill of a new CD launch and all the hype that can go with that but I am starting to feel that something else is missing - hence this blog entry.
I love going to allmusic dot com whenever I am trying to find out some info about a muso or band. It is a great resource of full discographies and thoughtful reviews. For me there is something interesting and revealing about the musical journey of a band as measured by their album releases, and this is something SOAR doesn't have. SOAR has only made one album of new material, our album titled, A Girl Like You, though we are coming up to our fourth compilation album this Christmas.
For a while now Experiment and I have been piecing together SOAR's collective songwriting into chronological order. This is made easier because Experiment has been the long time keeper of the SOAR music vault, and the history, recordings and dates that are important to our chronology. While it is an imperfect way to decide upon album groupings, it is the best we can do after the fact.
When I look over my own songwriting I know that there have been particular phases and influences that have resulted in a bunch of songs being written from the same burst of creativity. I see them having a context when grouped together over and above what they have as individual songs so I am going to try and put some structure to this. Thought I would begin with songs written this year, 2011 and attempt some kind of allmusic styled review as I go.
The first few songs from 2011 I am leaving aside to be added to the songs written in the latter part of 2010, these include Rise, Silently, and Cathedral because the first burst of concerted song writing in 2011 began with the bunch of songs I blogged about in late February.
Gonna Give You Reasons
On Our Knees
My Wandering Muse
The Hummingbird and Bee
Story of Love
Straight From the Heart
Flying Back to Canada
Paris Hilton's Cell Phone
It's a Sad Moon Too
Your Candle Burns
Gina Gracemount
The Highs and Lows
This batch of songs was written between February and April - and may be added to if a couple of incomplete songs from then, such as The Mountains Where We Live, Life Goes On, and My One Tomorrow are finished. Thinks of an album title, mmm, let me see, I'd go with, My Wandering Muse. Yes :)
In my mind the foundation songs in this period are My Wandering Muse, Songbird and Flying Back to Canada. Each explores the reaches of sweet sweet love where fate rather than disaster or the falling out of love has intervened. From mystical enchanting encounters as in "Muse", to chance encounters with a lover from the past, in "Songbird", to the maddening intrusion of reality into blissful youthful love, as in "Canada", to the reflective look at immature mistakes in "It's a Sad Moon Too".
To these songs were added "The Highs and Lows" and "Gonna Give You Reasons" two songs about two kinds of mess people can get into, and the love and the years that can be wasted in doing so, and three songs, two lightly weighted love songs, "Story of Love" and "Straight From the Heart", and one exploring a more intense attraction, "Your Candle Burns".
The album is completed with four special purpose songs. The first, "The Hummingbird and Bee" was written in time to be sung at Relay For Life events in SecondLife, while "Paris Hilton's Cell Phone" was written as the 2011 follow up to the Juliette Trilogy, Bright's fruitless 2010 search for a girlfriend named Juliette, and "Gina Gracemount" was written for our sensational friend, Gina to try and gain the upper hand in our gig flirting war! SOAR WINZ. "On Our Knees" was written to augment our group of songs about the state of the world.
Now I feel better! OMG it's an album. Mmmm, now to decide a track order :) Perhaps i will do that separately. Ahhh - perhaps we will let others suggest a track order. Go right ahead :)
I will do the next two 2011 albums, in due course.
Thanks so much for reading.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What became of "The Mountains Where We Live"?

Way back in February 2011, it's a long time for a songwriter, i invited some close friends over to the MP3 Lounge at the Colour Factory to test out some new songs i was working on. I will forget someone i expect, but let me see, Experiment, RebelMum, Precious & Mari sounds about right. This blog entry is about one of those songs, "The Mountains Where We Live" which is yet to find it's way into SOAR'S shows in SecondLife.
I routinely test my songs out on other people even when i am happy with them - because i get too close to them, and too close to them very quickly when i am writing them to be objective about their merits. Over a long period of time Experiment has been this person for my songs and i also do it with others from time to time - like this time. This was a songwriting period that saw the writing of a bunch of songs that have already made their way into SOAR shows, Songbird, My Wandering Muse, Story of Love, Straight From the Heart, On Our Knees, Cathedral, Flying Back to Canada, The Hummingbird and Bee, Paris Hilton's Cell Phone, and Gonna Give You Reasons, and a bunch of parts of songs such as "The Mountains Where We Live" (see the FEB 25 blog entry).
Some of the demos i played that day at the Colour Factory were more complete than others. With Songbird and Wandering Muse and Straight From the Heart i was sure the songs were complete enough to be properly considered by my friends, not so "The Mountains". I had 61 seconds of that to demo.
I still have 61 seconds of the song - exactly the same 61 seconds and yet in my mind and some of my friends this song was the most enticing of all. So what became of it and why isn't it finished? 
In the beginning i was so happy with the 61 seconds and so sure i could turn it into a good song that i put it aside while SOAR put the finishing touches to the songs closest to being finished. This is one of the greatest pleasures of songwriting, playing them in our SL shows. And i think they have worked out pretty good and still make regular appearances in our shows. But songwriting also takes a lot of nervous and creative energy and a self belief that is rarely constant for a week or more. And it is this factor, the self belief i think, that was the downfall of "The Mountains". Add to this our desire to get songs finished and into our shows, and our hectic performance schedule, and then even newer songs coming along and it is easy to see how this happens.
Throughout the years Experiment, Charles and i have been writing songs we have had plenty of songs end up in the SOAR vault to await the return of inspiration. Many are still waiting, including 'The Mountain".
But, this song, this one was one of the two i was most anxious to see survive the demoing to EX, Mari, Rebs and Precious, and i really want to finsih this song and for it to have its chance in our shows. I need pressure to do so - and you can help pressure me if you like :) Just ask me from time to time "how it is going" :) And then sound disappointed if the answer is still 61 seconds.
There's a place in my heart for you
and i know in my hearts it's you
in the mountains where we live
by the rivers and the oceans and the seas
Who knows whether these lyrics will survive the completion of the song - we shall all see, one day, perhaps....
The photos. One of Lake Tekapo in NZ, and one of what we actually call a mountain, where i live!
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Once upon a time someone special in my life and i planned a road trip across the USA and Canada together. No matter what route we decided upon it always began and finished in the loving arms of our wonderful friend, Enchantress :)
Now and forever the latest SOAR song, The Flame and the Arrow will remind me of their sweet love. And if they don't like the song i just don't know what i will do!
Clicking on the title of this blog entry will let you hear the song.
Thanks for reading and listening.