On Sparrow Song

This was originally a Facebook post. Copied here for sentiment’s sake.
It brings me great joy to share some new music. Click hear to listen.
When one of my primary school students asked me what this song was about (I showed them the live video in class and asked them to identify the instrumentation, tempo and mood, not sure if its a bad reflection on me that one of them identified Stephen Hornby‘s double bass as a banjo), another of the students blurted out… “did you want to be a bird when you were little too?”
Gillian Welch tells us that we should never dictate to our audience what our music is about, after all without an audience, music is causeless. In essence, the audience is the key part that makes the music meaningful and who are we to decide what our audience sees in our lyrics/art/performance?
So I had no choice but to say yes, and then we spent the last five minutes of class discussing what type of bird we would be if given a choice and then the bell rang and we went out to playtime.
Suffice it to say that I’ve never really dreamt of being a bird, but I understand the sentiment, and this song probably hints at some underground sense of escapism. Or maybe its a dissertation on the search for home amidst a shifting, shapeless 21st century multiculturalism. Or maybe I just saw a sparrow one day and wrote a song about it.
I found my first draft of the lyrics for this song, in my diary under the headline ’23/12/17′. I was interested to see that both the verses on this recorded version arrived fully-fledged in that first draft. The chorus was something entirely different and the bridge (probably one of the more interesting series of chords I’ve ever stumbled upon) didn’t exist.
I used the word ‘autotelic’ in the original draft. I had to look up what the word means as I’d forgotten it completely. It didn’t make the final version, but now I’m wondering if it should have.
(of an activity or a creative work) having an end or purpose in itself.
Big thanks to Lucy McKenzie-McHarg, Vinny Russell, Alexandra Keusch, Stephen Hornby and Damien Sutton for their musical expertise.
I’ll playing this song live with a full band. This Sunday, September 1st at The Wesley Anne.


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