31. The Life
S.Rhatigan/ J F Morrison © 2014
Here and now – the only certainty. The past is tainted by selective memory, viewed through distorted lens. The future unpredictable, non-existent. Ironically when life slows to a virtual stop and all the simple actions and tasks taken for granted are void, it is then you really start living. I’ve experienced this recently, vicariously through my brother in law who is recovering in hospital after a serious injury. He is happy! Happy to be alive. Happy to gaze into my sister’s eyes. Happy to know how well loved he is. He is living just for the moment. Every small mercy a miracle, every tiny treat a luxury beyond measure. To witness his intense pleasure eating a chocolate digestive biscuit is a joy to behold and just a little obscene!
It should be easy to write about something as simple as appreciating the life we have but it isn’t. It’s so much easier to yearn for something better, for more. It is the blight of the singer songwriter; self pity, regret, pain, angst. So much easier to plunge into darker troubled water than to float on a sea of serenity.
Aside from the difficulty I’ve had in the intervening months since the accident finding and justifying the time, I have always taken for granted, to immerse myself in writing and recording, I’ve been plagued with the urge to write something uplifting and positive which put me right off! It’s just not in my nature I can assure you. I can imagine all the good stuff alright, but somehow I am compelled to darken my brighter thoughts with shade, to cool the heat with a little icy foreboding. So I failed. But then I remembered a song I wrote a couple of years ago, which I pitched for a commercial. It had to be positive, life affirming and much to my surprise I grew to quite like it, probably because it was rejected and ended up like a little abandoned puppy along with so many of my other songs.
When I moved back to Ireland, John and I tried to keep writing sending ideas back and forth online, but we were so used to writing in a room together that this new way never quite worked out. John began to get more into soundscapes and electronica and all I could focus on with a young family running wild around the place, was playing acoustic guitar and harmonica in between domestic chores. When I decided to try to pitch something for that commercial I turned to some of John’s electronic loops for inspiration. I really like the esoteric pads and bleeps of Johns sample on ‘The Life’ blended with the acoustic guitar, Wurlitzer and harmonica, and the lovely rolling bodhran played by the extremely talented Pauline Burke.
Pauline is one of the musicians I recently befriended at a pub session here in Dublin. Trad sessions are ubiquitous in Ireland, the culture of musicians just coming together and playing music together is alive and well and is quite unique in the world. It is not exclusively traditional music though. In any number of pubs on any night of the week there are sessions, some folk, some pop or blues, some original tunes some classic covers. It really isn’t important what the style or ‘genre’. Its just people getting together playing the music they love around a table and singing their hearts out. Living for the moment. What could be simpler?
Suzanne Rhatigan Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Wurlitzer…
John Morrison Loops and pads…
Pauline Burke Bodrhan…
Intro voice over Seppi Baumeister (my boy)
PS: I read somewhere recently that Barbra Streisand was doing a duets album? I can really hear her singing this and also I think it would work really well as a duet. Anyone know how to get the tune to her or whomever? Aim high eh!
OK, can I start by saying I don’t know the first thing about music, other than what I like to listen to and I’ve never written a music review before, so bear with me.
Can I start by saying, I loved this track.
The songwriting is so visual that I got lost in the atmosphere of the story within the song. I found myself playing it over and over, laid back in the chair with my eyes closed… I was especially drawn to the lyrics because they resonate strongly with me, (having come from such a shitty place in life, to the happy place I am today). Having said that, it sounds so personal and honest, it could probably resonate with most.
This is the first piece of your work I’ve heard, but if it’s anything to go by, I look forward to hearing a lot more. xl
Thanks Loraine I think you may like some more of the tunes, we are so alike after all x