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  • Writer's pictureBlair Morgan

Behind the Music: The Making of 'Live at Darkroom'

Updated: Mar 30

The live set from the Songwriter Collective gig in January has been released to all streaming platforms.



Here are some things that informed the gig ......


What is this all about?


I was approached by local musician Deborah Wilding about playing a set for the quarterly series (or thereabouts) known as the "Songwriter Collective" at the great live venue Darkroom in the Christchurch CBD. As the title suggests it was an opportunity to play a full set of original material live , usually during the course of a gig it usually is only 3-4 originals amongst 30 or so covers. So playing this many end to end was new.


How old are these songs?


A mix of old and new - a couple date back to the 90's even , most are in the last year or two.


Old stuff includes..


"Hurry Home" was a title English musician Dominic Halpin suggested when I lived in Sydney and worked with him on various things . How it played out as a song seems a bit out of step with what I do now but I know I was listening to a lot of T Bone Burnett at the time , especially the great The Criminal Under My Hat album and that influenced the approach to this song. I still have no idea how the middle eight drops a half step and it seems to work ok but that is how songs can work out.


"Falling Forward" - was originally a cliché title "Falling For Her Now" but "Falling Forward" was more interesting to me . You tend to jot down song titles and refer back from time to time. The opening lines were formed from flying into Auckland one night , flying into somewhere at night can be surreal hence ..."In between the light of touching light ". The line "It's all perspective in motion , a night ride home" is the title of an under rated late 80's Joni Mitchell album (Night Ride Home) that I remember playing in the record store where I worked (Compact Sounds with the one & only Bruce de Geus aka "Kurt Richards")


New stuff includes ...


"The Daily Light "- came about post Xmas Day when we hosted 18 family and a Xmas orphan,

hence "19 versus nothing, guitars out of tune, shaking in the tinderbox it wasn't even noon." This is the universal Xmas day feeling when it can be the very opposite of relaxing . A guitar was brought out later in the day and this being Xmas day (memories of Xmas day TV in the early 80's) I cranked into the opening songs from the Simon & Garfunkel Concert in Central Park (the opening killer line up "Mrs Robinson," "Homewood Bound" & "America" ) only for my guitar to be out of tune as I kicked off (may have had a few by then)


Xmas in Lisbon - Talking of Xmas, the previous Xmas my son and I were in Lisbon, Portugal after travelling through Spain. The verses are all true except "taught the truth in Seville near the end , before landing in Lisbon my friend "..I have no idea what that means but like where words seem to go together -"Lisbon has been my friend " seems to work as a recurring phrase.


Denniston - per the story on the live set, this emerged out of seeing Jordan Luck walk past our motel window in Westport . No visit there of course is complete without heading up to Denniston and wondering "how on earth did people live here". (there are family connections too) The song has the narrator (me I guess) "heading, driving, arriving, living" all concerning Denniston -point A to point B which is another songwriting cliche /technique. This was the first time I tried it in 4/4 time , previously it was a descending thing in 3/4 time , when the late Blair senior heard it he said it sounded just like Mr Bojangles and that always bothered me (partly because he was right!).


Goodnight Tonight - at the end of a 3 x hour gig when you have basically had it, the time comes for the last song and the last thing you want is to have to think at that time of the night . With years of playing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (Stones), "Human' (The Killers) "Better Be Home Soon" (Crowded House) I realised I should come up with my own to sign off hence "Goodnight Tonight" (Yes I've stolen a Wings song title but please don't tell Paul McCartney).


Senor Senior - wrote about Blair senior here , always a challenge to get through this but try and make it more of a celebration/tribute rather than a downer. As I said I remember Bob Dylan having a track called "Senor" around the time of Street Legal , that and heading off to Spain definitely informed this.

Why is all the in between song banter there and how come there is so much of it ?


Yeeess , apologies about that , thought about this and it comes back to my feeling that a live album should be there with all the imperfections and with the audience interaction part of it where it can be . Think "Live at the Regal" BB King and I remember a Blues import my brother had with Buddy Guy & Junior Wells from Montreux set in the mid 70's and those guys really fire up the audience . With this being a new experience too I just thought to leave it complete end to end with me "veering off the script " frequently . This is what happens in front of an audience.


What is happening next?


I'm going to record the newer songs that show up here ("Man of Unease", "Xmas in Lisbon", "Denniston", "Beckenham Blue", "Goodnight Tonight" ) with new arrangements (might even throw in teh odd "middle eight")plus some others that aren't here , eg have a new song "John & Warren" as a tribute to John Prine and Warren Zevon, have a song about my grandfather "Len" (World War I & II for good measure & survived) . The title of the album will be Sunday River with the title song a work in progress. Hopefully landing later this year ...


Cheers!



Thanks to


Deborah

Stephanie

Darkroom (Nick)

Matt

Andre

Louise

Diana

Bruce

Dee

Keith

Jimmy

Karen

Cheryl


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