Archive for the whisky Category

New Song Lyrics – Moonshine’s a Running

Posted in 12 string guitar, Alternative Country, art, cowboy, folk music, guitar, Jamie McPherson, Music, Newsletter, Songwriting, Uncategorized, whisky on June 10, 2013 by Jamie McPherson

Hi folks,

I’ve just written a brand spanking new song called “Moonshine’s a Running”. Here are the lyrics and below that will be a brief explination of the song –

Moonshine’s a Running

Moonshine’s a running

From the side of the hill

I make my living

From the pot and the still
.

Moonshine’s a running

From the side of my hill

I feed my young un’s

From the pot and the still
.

I work all day toiling in the dirt

When the chillun’s cry from hunger, that’s when I hurt
.

Moonshine’s a running

Like my Pappy did before

As his Daddy did

When he washed upon this shore
.

Moonshine’s a running

It’s an honest man’s trade

The sheriff let’s me know

When it’s time for the raid
.

These hills are alive with the smell of mash

And quiet whispers at night and promises of cash
.

Moonshine’s a running

On an Appalachian night

I’ll brew my magic

By the harvest moon tonight
.

Moonshine’s a running

It’s time to move the shine

The dogs are a sniffin’

I’ve been given the sign
.

The sheriff said “I hear ya farmin’ the woods?

There’s new folks in town out lookin’ for your goods”
.

Moonshine’s a running

It’s time to move on

It’s the end of the verse

But not of my song
.

Moonshine’s a running

Little bellies full tonight

But who knows tomorrow

If their belts will be tight
.

It’s a life I never chose to be

But a man does what he does, for his family
.

Moonshine’s a Running

On the side of my hill

I made my living

On the pot and the still
.

Moonshine’s a running

Time to rest my bones

I died a moonshiner

Four miles from my home
.

The cold and wet got me in the night

Daddy won’t be home, but everything’s alright
.

Moonshine’s a running

On the side of a hill

They’ll make a new life

From the pot and the still
.

Moonshine’s a running

It’s the way it’s always been

It will always live on

In both kith and kin
.

A hundred fires in the woods tonight

A hundred souls will go on, fight the good fight
.

Written by Jamie McPherson

Sunday 10 June 2013

Words and music © 2013 Copyright Jamie McPherson

The line “moonshine’s a running” came to me while reading a Foxfire article about moonshining in the Appalachian Mountains called “The Fine Art of Moonshining”. It was a great article written in the 60’s of the dying art of Moonshining (the distilling of illegal whisky). One thing that touched me deeply was that it was accepted by all the locals, including the local law enforcement, as for many it was the only way they could feed their families. Life was tough for these folks, and they had to do whatever they could to survive. Their only real concern was the Federal law enforcement agencies, who could spell a lengthy prison sentence for them. But to feed their families, it was worth the risk. So, I hope I was able to catch the spirit of this within the song.

The song was really born out of the chords. I was noodling around with the guitar last weekend and started to play these chords. I recorded them on my mobile so I wouldn’t forget. Then, yesterday I played back the chords and wrote the music structure on a neet little program on my mobile. And this morning I sat down and wrote out the lyrics.

So, I hope you enjoy Moonshine’s a Running. Hopefully soon I’ll have a rough demo up so you can listen to it.

Beannach leibh,

Jamie

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Meeting Place – Jamie McPherson’s debut CD

Posted in 12 string guitar, 4 Wheel Drive, Adelaide, Album, art, blues, CD, Dail Chuinnidh, do-wop, folk music, Gaelic, Gaidhlig, guitar, harmonica, Highland, Jamie McPherson, Jeremy Watson, keyboards, Land Rover, lyrics, Meeting Place, Midsummer, Music, painting, Photography, piano, Recording, rock, Saunders Gorge, Scottish, Strathalbyn, tea, theremin, Tikarma Vodicka, whisky on December 7, 2010 by Jamie McPherson

Meeting Place is more than a place. It is a state of mind. Every time you think fondly of a friend or a loved on, that is Dail Chuinnidh. That is Meeting Place.

Meeting Place is also the title of my new CD. And it is on sale now at www.jamiemcpherson.com.au

Meeting Place - Jamie McPherson

Meeting Place - Jamie McPherson

Yes, after three years of hard work, I finally have the CD in my hot little hands and it’s on sale now. It’s been a hard slog but also a great learning curve and has been very rewarding. This CD has represented a lifelong dream and it’s been a wonderful experience writing, composing, arranging and recording. Many hours spent in the studio learning new recording techniques, writing instrument scores, trying to get tracks right, wrestling with vocal takes and then countless hours of late nights and wee hour mixing tracks and then mastering. And on top of that, all the legal jargon and law one has to learn with copyright both in Australia and the USA, organising artwork and CD production as well as the sales process. But I got there in the end. And I loved every minute of it!

The first thing you’ll notice in looking at the CD is the fantastic cover. One of my dearest friends and one of this country’s finest photographers, Jeremy Watson, did all the photography for the album. I’ve looked at all his photos for the shoot many times in order to pick the shots for the album and to approve the proofs from the design company, and I have to say I still get excited every time I see them. He is a true master of his craft. For the album shoot, we got into Jeremy’s Land Rover with his equally talented assistant, Astrid Innes, and headed up to a wonderful property called Saunders Gorge. It is a mixture of wilderness area and sheep grazing land on the rugged Eastern slopes of the Adelaide hills, overlooking the Murray River flood plain. It was a fantastic day full of photography, 4 wheel driving, good cuppas and plenty of laughs. The cover was shot in an old ruin down in a valley by a wonderful creek. As you can see, this shot just screamed to me “Album cover!”. Jeremy has a great sense of capturing the spirit of any person or project and when I gave him a brief on the concept of Meeting Place, he just ran with it. Normally I would be quite controlling with something like this given my background as a film maker, but having Jeremy as the photographer, I felt very comfortable in leaving it 100% in his hands. I just told him that it’s his shoot and his eye and I wanted his vision to come out as the artist. As you can see, it was the right course of action to take. I didn’t even dream of a cover shot so good!

left inside album cover

left inside album cover

When you open it up and look at the left inside cover, you see yet another of Jeremy’s great shots. This shot was truly magical and gives a great sense of a meeting place. Sitting by a cairn high on a plateau. It gives a sense of a place of magic and age. This could have been a meeting place for hundreds of years and here it is being used by myself, maybe waiting for someone. He captured it so well, and the original shot looks even better than the one on the album after the designers reworked the background colour so one could read the text. This is one of my favourites! And it also appeals to my Highlander blood!

right inside album cover

right inside album cover

The third shot of Jeremy’s is the inside left, where the plastic tray is. This was also done high on the plateau by an old stone wall. I thought this was a great shot of me addressing the camera and I do love old stone walls. And it is the perfect segue into the back cover of the album. Stone wall to stone wall.

back album cover

back album cover

The back cover is a wonderful painting by my beautiful wife and very talented artist, Tikarma Vodicka. She did such a brilliant job with this painting, and it now hangs proudly in my studio. As you can see, it is two pannikins on a stone wall. To me, this adds a bit of mystery to the album art. So far, all’s you have seen is me at various meeting places, but now with the two mugs, you know that someone else has been there with me. And just seeing the pannikins only, it still captures that sense of isolation in the landscape, as now we don’t see anyone at all. I gave Tikarma the concept, took a few photos so she could see what I was trying to describe and out of her paintbrush came this very beautiful painting. I was just completely blown away! This is Tikarma’s second painting that has ended up on a CD cover and one can see why. She is such a great talent.

But enough of these talented people. Let’s talk about me, or more importantly, the songs on the CD.

Track One – A Midsummer in a Southern Land

It’s a bit ironic that the first track on the CD is actually the last track recorded. I decided to go with this as the opening track as it gives a sense of place. I wrote this song on a Midsummers day out in my patio. As usual, I had spent the morning with Tikarma, drinking cups of tea and watching the wildlife come into our back yard in Strathalbyn. It was so wonderful and varied that I had to put it into song there and then. All these birds and animals going about their daily life was a story in itself. I wanted the verses to be nice and intimate and capture my little part of the world, but I wanted the chorus to be an anthem, proclaiming with pride that this is my land and home. Tikarma provided the backing vocals on the chorus, as I just didn’t want this to me my song, but everybody’s that loves this land and all that dwell in it. This is my tribute to a country I love so dearly.

Track Two – Don’t Cry Me a River Murray

This song is one about a very serious issue in Australia, particularly in South Australia. We have a very ancient river system that has been a part of our lives ever since our Aboriginal brothers settled in the region during ancient times. When the first white explorers set their eyes on her only a couple of hundred years ago, it was still in a pristine condition with dolphins swimming all the way from the sea up to Mannum. But a couple of hundred years of irrigation seems to have destroyed this beautiful river beyond full recovery. If we act now, it will recover a great deal, but never to its once pristine condition. Hence my words “It’s too late for sorry…”. It is so saddening to see the damage that has been done to the Lower Lakes and the Coorong just on my back door. The river system including the lakes and Coorong have always played a magical part in my life and it does bring me to tears thinking about it. I do not think of this song as being political as such. To me it is more about myself and my connection to this river.

Track Three – I Don’t Care

This song just started out as a guitar riff, with the concept for the lyrics popping in my head as I played it. It reminded me of that crazy guy you see on the street and got me thinking as to what his story was. Maybe his joyous eccentricity was a way of hiding behind a deeper hurt he could not confront. I imagined him losing the love of his life, so in order to feel happiness, he created his own mad delusion, so as to never feel pain again. I put in some organ in this song to give it a bit more of a carnival feel, being reminded of the hurdy-gurdy at Semaphore Beach. I wanted us to feel his delusion of happiness. I recorded a fragility on the vocals that tell his story and then came in strong on the vocals for the voice of society to distinguish between the strength of the every day against the delicate fragility of one man trying to just hang on.

Track Four – Road of Bones

Road of Bones is about death being a part of life. As one grows older, one sees death all around them. This song is essentially about myself and my acceptance of that. Over the years I have been touched by death many times and now I know it is for me to accept that it is a part of my life. It doesn’t mean my grief is any less as a loved one passes on, but that I accept that this is a part of life and all things must pass. You may notice on listening to this track that it sounds like it has been recorded live. Let me assure you that this is in fact studio trickery. My “Bennie and the Jets” moment. As I was writing and recording this song, I kept on thinking how rocking this song would be to do live. So, I decided to capture that in the studio. I especially love the keyboards on this one, which is an old clavichord run through a phaser to give that great effect.

Track Five – You’re My Only Vice

This is the start of my love song suite for the album, even though it is very tongue in cheek.Tikarma kept on joking that everyone likes me, so I imagined writing this song as someone with a huge ego. I may be the saviour of the world, but she is my only vice. It is about ego and love. This is definitely one of my favourite tracks and one I am very proud of musically. I love the blending of styles from country, blues and do-wop. I had a lot of fun arranging and recording this song and was chuffed with being able to blow a bit of harp at the end along with the organ solo and the theremin. I hope you enjoy listening to this song as much as I enjoyed making it.

Track Six – Doing Serious Time

This is my “Me and the Devil” song. It is about the folly of youth and growing up when one finds the love of their life. This song is very much about me. I left the recklessness of youth behind when I saw a better life with the one I love. It is about the Devil coming along and saying “What the hell has happened to you? You’ve changed man!”. The argument ensues and in the end the Devil concedes that he can not compete with her. Love trumps every time. As this song is more a story, I recorded it live in the studio in one take. Just me and my guitar and then some harmonica dubbed in afterwards at the start and end. I didn’t want the music to overshadow the story at all. I think this is a story that many a man could tell and hopefully many find a truth in it.

Track Seven – Be My Valentine

The funny thing about this song is that it started out as a Valentine Day card. I wrote a few of the words on a card to Tikarma and she commented that it sounded like a song. Well, that’s just like a red flag to a bull. The next thing I know I was in the studio and writing a love song. I wanted to do a classic love song of an older era, simple structure and melody, where the sentiments are all in the lyrics. It is about celebrating love through all the holidays and asking for a commitment of love. I kept the instruments on this a bit old school too, with the piano being the main instrument along with organ and violin and strings fading in as the song progresses.

Track Eight – Dail Chuinnidh (Meeting Place)

This is where it all began. With this one song. Dail Chuinnidh is a place in the Highlands of Scotland where my family comes from. The translation from Gaidlhig is “Meeting Place”. I wrote this song during a very happy time in our lives when Tikarma was pregnant with our son Alexander. I was thinking of my favourite whiskey one day when the words “With heather and honey and fine Highland peat” popped into my head. All of a sudden I had the love song I always promised Tikarma I would write for her. It is about love, life and the joy of family set in the Scottish Highlands. The lyrics of this song is a celebration. If you notice a bit of sadness to the recording, it is because our little Alexander did not survive childbirth. This was the most horrible time of our lives and something we will never get over. I had finished the recording on the first anniversary of his death, and I suppose as an acknowledgement of our grief and sadness I recorded the vocals and violin a bit sadder to reflect our loss. Also you will notice Tikarma’s backing vocal on it that has such a wonderful etherial quality to it. It just makes the song. This song is a turning point in both of our lives, both good and bad, but an important turning point no less. This will always be my gift to my two greatest loves, Tikarma and Alexander, with love always. We will always meet in love and life

Track Nine – No Expectations

This Rolling Stones classic is my one cover song for the album and rounds off my love song suite. It is a song of love lossed and I thought it was a good way to close off this part of the album. It was in fact the second track I recorded as it is a song I have always enjoyed playing and always wanted to record it in my own style. I loved putting in the organ and building the song up a bit slowly with the drums and then the piano to add a bit of colour. I am happy with the way it came out and how it sits in the album.

Track Ten – 12 Bar Odyssey in B flat

The final track on the album. This is my second simple song of just vocal and guitar. I wanted to write a song about what it is all about to me. The music. I have noticed that a lot of the albums I love often finish with something simple and basic and decided to do the same. I wrote the lyrics with archetypal images of blues and rock music that many of us can relate to and give a sense of place in music. I do love the way the vocal sounds on this song. I hope you enjoy it too.

Well, that is my new album, Meeting Place. I hope this blog gives you a sense of the CD and where it comes from. To find out more, you can go to my website at www.jamiemcpherson.com.au and even purchase a copy there.

To view Tikarma’s fantastic paintings or even read some of her wonderful poetry, please visit www.angelfire.com/poetry/twistinggoldenthread

To go to Jeremy Watson’s website and look at more of this man’s amazing talent, please visit www.jeremywatson.com.au

Below, for those of you that may struggle trying to read small print, is a copy of the album credits –

Meeting Place
Jamie McPherson

1    A Midsummer in a Southern Land [5:45]
2    Don’t Cry Me A River Murray  [3:41]
3    I Don’t Care    [4:38]
4    Road of Bones    [4:01]
5    You’re My Only Vice   [4:49]
6    Doing Serious Time   [4:11]
7    Be My Valentine   [3:16]
8    Dail Chuinnidh (Meeting Place)  [7:06]
9    No Expectations   [4:25]
10  12 Bar Odyssey in Bb   [3:31]

Total Running Time  45:44

Jamie McPherson – vocals, 12 string guitar, harmonica, keyboards, arrangements and drum programming
Tikarma Vodicka-McPherson – backing vocals on Dail Chuinnidh (Meeting Place) and A Midsummer in a Southern Land

All songs written and arranged by Jamie McPherson Copyright © 2010 except No Expectations by Jagger/Richards

Recorded, engineered, mastered and produced by Jamie McPherson at Ravenwood Studios, Strathalbyn, South Australia

Cover and album photography by Jeremy Watson © 2010 Jeremy Watson Photography
Photography Assistant Astrid Innes
Back cover painting “Meeting Place” by Tikarma Vodicka © 2010 Tikarma Vodicka
Photographed by Jeremy Watson

This album is dedicated to Tikarma and Alexander, with love always and forever.

A very special thank you to Tikarma Vodicka. Your support, encouragement, inspiration and love made this album happen.

Special thanks – Jeremy Watson, Tim Inglis, Tim Wright & Wright Guitars, Tristan Newsome, Matt Reiner, Rob McDade, Elizabeth Reid, Matt Swayne, Kyle Fiske, Tim Buck, Robin Willhite, Peter McIver, Quiet Pop, Music SA, APRA, Disk Makers, Kym & Mike Kuijpers, Mum & Dad, Vera, Bob, Stan & Pietra  and all the brilliant musicians I have had the pleasure of playing with and all the punters who came along.

This recording Copyright © 2010 Jamie McPherson
All rights reserved

Thank you for reading, and for all those that purchase a copy of the CD, many thanks and happy listening.

Beannachd leibh,

Jamie

Songcatcher interview on Radio Adelaide, 30th August 2010

Posted in Adelaide, CD, Gaelic, Gaidhlig, Highland, lyrics, Music, radio, Recording, SCALA, Scottish, Songcatcher, Songwriting, Strathalbyn, tea, Uncategorized, Viking quilters, whisky on September 5, 2010 by Jamie McPherson
Radio Adelaide

Radio Adelaide

Hi all,

For those that missed it, here is the transcript for the recent Songcatcher show on Radio Adelaide featuring yours truly. I make no apologies for spelling, grammatical errors, accuracy or bad humour. It was a long show, but a lot of fun. And a BIG thank you for my hosts, Clayton and Claire. It was a blast! And now….on with the show!

Intro

CLAIRE
Welcome to Songcatcher right here on Radio Adelaide 101.5FM and online at radio.adelaide.edu.au and this is Claire and with Clayton across the desk and we’re back 9 O’clock Monday night

CLAYTON
Howdy. Yeah, it’s lucky the sun went down today, or I might have stayed out in there and I wouldn’t have been able to make it for 9 O’clock tonight but…

CLAIRE
I think I just got a touch of sunburn.

CLAYTON
Wasn’t it beautiful. Bring on Spring!

CLAIRE
I like Winter but, yeah, bring on Spring.

CLAYTON
Indeed. Now, as part of Songcatcher later on in the show we’ve got the last segment of Music in the Blood. Michelle Smith from Rhythm Sticks, little interview series on Murat Usell from the Melbourne outfit called Unified Gekko. So, he’s born in Turkey and now an Australian based musician. That will be fun.

CLAIRE
Appeared at WOMAD as well.

CLAYTON
Indeed. This year. And of course, as is the Songcatcher tradition, we have a Songcatcher. We’ve gone out and caught one live. He was out in the street wandering around. We grabbed our net.

CLAIRE
And we said look…We’ve got you now…Hog tied.

CLAYTON
Well, we had to put some cheese out and a few jelly beans and things like that. To entice him into the studio. It’s Jamie McPherson. Welcome along Jamie.

JAMIE
Thank you there Clayton, thank you Claire. It’s a pleasure to be here.

CLAYTON
Now, you’ve ventured all the way in to the city from Strath.

JAMIE
A bit of a drive

CLAYTON
A bit of a drive? A pleasant drive I imagine?

JAMIE
I love it! Especially at night-time it’s just brilliant!

CLAYTON
And, you work out that way as well as live out that way?

JAMIE
Yes indeed. Work in Mount Barker and live in Strath, so I get a lovely 20 minute drive every day. And it’s just fantastic seeing the countryside. Just going to and from work.

CLAIRE
Ahhh. Would be beautiful.

CLAYTON
What a life aye! And tell me, Mount Barker, do they consider themselves city folk these days?

JAMIE
I think they do actually, yes. There’s still that attitude of a small town versus big town. So, it’s changing, getting bigger and hopefully not too big.

CLAIRE
I hope not.

CLAYTON
OK. But, while you’re out in the country at the moment, at Strathalbyn, it sounds like you are enjoying it out there. You’re a city boy originally from way out west?

JAMIE
Western suburbs, yes, so around Lockleys then Grange, Flinders Park, all around there. So, that’s where I was born and bred and I still love that bit of Adelaide, but definitely my heart is in Strathalbyn.

CLAYTON
Mmmmm… There’s got to be a song in that too, doesn’t there?

JAMIE
I think there could be.

ALL LAUGH

CLAYTON
Now, your first serious musical gigs I understand was a tenor drummer with the Mount Barker Caledonian Pipes and Drums?

JAMIE
Yes, indeed I did that for quite a few years. Playing with a nice big pipe band, just going around all the suburbs and country towns doing festivals and fetes, Christmas pageants as well as even did a big tattoo down at the Entertainment Centre which was just amazing. There were just bands from all over the world. From America, the Seventh Fleet Band, Chicago Emerald, all those bands. It was just absolutely amazing just playing with several hundred musicians at the same time!

CLAIRE
Ah, it would have been great meeting all those people too.

JAMIE
Oh, it was. Especially the Malaysian people were just absolutely gorgeous. So warm and friendly. We spent a lot of time with them and they just made it!

CLAYTON
OK, well there’s lot more introduction we want to do, but we’ve got a pretty tight ship tonight.

CLAIRE
Yeah, Jamie’s had a colourful life in all of his different careers.

CLAYTON
But we better get to our first track if that’s alight. Now, I’m told Claire’s organised Jamie to introduce it because it’s got a rather unusual name?

JAMIE
Yes, this name is actually a Gaidhlig name, which is Highland Gaelic. It’s called Dail Chuinnidh, which basically means “meeting place”, so that’s why I have subtitled the song Meeting Place.

CLAYTON
I never have guessed that, and I typed that out!

ALL LAUGH

CLAYTON
So, there’s a difference between Highland and Lowland Gaelic is there?

JAMIE
There is a difference, but Lowland Gaelic does not exist anymore. But, it’s easier to say Highland Gaelic as opposed to Irish Gaelic and Welsh and Breton and everything else. But technically it’s just called Gaidhlig.

CLAYTON
Here we go…Meeting Place

PLAYS DAIL CHUINNIDH (MEETING PLACE)

CLAYTON
Come on Claire, we’re going to have the Gaelic pronunciation courtesy of you now.

CLAIRE (in a Scottish accent)
Dai Chuinnidh

JAMIE
Very good!

CLAYTON
Isn’t she good!

JAMIE
She is fantastic! There’s Scottish blood in that lass!

CLAYTON
You can tell she is not one of those hopeless monolingual Australians like some of us!

JAMIE
Oh, that’s right!

ALL LAUGH

CLAIRE (in a Scottish accent again)
Yes, that was Dail Chuinnidh by Jamie McPherson.

JAMIE
Very good!

CLAYTON
Oh dear oh dear. She is getting in to it, isn’t she?

JAMIE
I love it! She’s fantastic!

CLAYTON
She must be hanging with that husband of hers too often.

JAMIE
Well, I think she should change her accent now.

CLAIRE
Just speak more like he does?

JAMIE
No, not that way.

CLAYTON
Just more like you do I think is fine with us. “With heather and honey and fine Highland peat, the waters of”…now, Claire? Lochan dory one…?

JAMIE AND CLAIRE TOGETHER
Lochan Doire Uaine

CLAYTON
Oh, there you go, see! Yeah…well…”The place where we meet, I’ll toast to your health, to your life and our love, to the Sith below to the Gods above”. And there’s quite a bit of Gaelic there, isn’t there?

CLAIRE.
Well done Clayton. You got to the Sith below. Well done!

JAMIE
He did a great job!

CLAYTON
It looks like sith and I was thinking Darth Vader is in here somewhere, but no, it’s just a different language. Now, I imagine this is dedicated to your wife?

JAMIE
Yes, indeed.

CLAYTON
And to a firstborn who um…

JAMIE
Unfortunately passed away.

Clayton
…is no longer with us?

JAMIE
Yes.

CLAYTON
Time for a cheerio call at that point I reckon. You better say hello.

JAMIE
Hello to my beautiful wife Tikarma. And, that song was Dail Chuinnidh. And that was for both Tikarma and Alexander who we love dearly even though he’s passed on.

CLAYTON
Mmmm…a song of positive affirmation that’s a bit of a turning song too for you. A metamorphoses from this wild young man who evidently isn’t with us here tonight, to a settled husband and father.

JAMIE
Yes, well that was pretty much what the song was about. I think it’s about the recklessness of youth, and I was a very reckless youth at that, and it’s just about meeting that one person that just changes your whole life and then you’re happy to grow up.

CLAYTON
In terms of your writing was it very difficult to actually find? It’s right to feel that positiveness in it. It’s not always easy to actually write a positive song. Some people actually say a songs got to be sad and they’ve got to be minors in it.

JAMIE
No.

CLAYTON
And sometimes songs with a bit of anger and angst are a bit easier to write.

JAMIE
Oh yes, but I think it all depends on your frame of mind and where you are in that moment. And where I was in that moment was that my wife was there pregnant with our son and I was daydreaming about whisky one day and those lines came through my head. So, it’s a song born of whisky and love. So, what else do you need in the world?

CLAYTON
So, does that mean that if you hadn’t found your wife, whisky would have been your wife? Your surrogate or something?

JAMIE
Oh, it was for a good many years. And we still have a thing going.

ALL LAUGH

CLAYTON
I guess that is part of the Scott is it? Is that how it works?

JAMIE
Oh yes definitely! I think so, yes. I think the drinking of whisky is a chance for someone to actually drink the land that your forefathers came from. So, every time I have a single malt, I can actually taste the water and the peat and the earth that where my ancestors came from. And I just think that is magical.

CLAIRE
And then, there are songs that have influenced you as well and artists that have influenced you. Tell us about this influence that is coming up now?

JAMIE
That would be the 80’s band Wall of Voodoo and the reason I chose that one was actually for the singer Stan Ridgway, who’s been a tremendous influence on my life with my music. Just his songwriting ability, the way he can tell a story and he’ll tell a story from finish to end and to me that is what music should be about. Songwriting is about telling stories. Some true, some not so true. He is a great man and a great musician and he’s just released a new album, and I just listen to it the other day and it sounds absolutely fantastic!

CLAYTON
Call of the West. Wall of Voodoo.

PLAY CALL OF THE WEST

CLAIRE
And we’re back with Radio Adelaide 101.5 FM. Songcatcher is the show and we’re streaming live at wwwradio.adelaide.edu.au.

CLAYTON
And a little while ago we were listening to a track Call of the West, which is from Wall of Voodoo. And the songwriter Stan Ridgway is one of the influences of our songwriting guest tonight…

CLAYTON AND CLAIRE
Jamie McPherson

CLAYTON
Who hasn’t run away yet.

JAMIE
No, I’m still here. Yes, I’m just waiting for the cheese that you said that you enticed me off of the street with.

CLAYTON
And the jelly beans.

JAMIE
And the jelly beans indeed.

CLAYTON
We’ll break out the nibbles later maybe.

CLAIRE
Oh, we better.

CLAYTON
They might be cyber nibbles though.

JAMIE
Cyber nibble. Ahhh, any nibble is a good nibble.

ALL LAUGH

CLAYTON
Now, a rather interesting thing that caught me in your bio Jamie. At the age of 17, you go out and buy yourself a guitar and harmonica.

JAMIE
And that’s pretty much all you need.

CLAYTON
Well, it’s a big challenge though. Were you making music before that time?

JAMIE
Ah, no, no. I wasn’t….

CLAYTON
So, this was before your drumming days and all that stuff too?

JAMIE
Oh yes, this is long before, so yes, I always loved music. Never studied music at all. I was never blessed with that opportunity. And, to be honest, I never thought I could, so I bought myself a guitar and harmonica and started playing.

CLAYTON
So, not one instrument and I thought I’ll nail one of them, but, two instruments as well and no doubt you thought at the time I’m going to start singing as well? So, three really!

JAMIE
Well, I wouldn’t call my voice a well-trained instrument. To me, the voice is an instrument but I consider my voice that old battered up instrument that you have in the corner of the house and you pull it out and have a play and it just suits its purpose and does what it should do.

CLAYTON
Taking three things at a time is a challenge.

JAMIE
For any man doing more than one thing at a time is a challenge!

CLAYTON
What was it that happened at 17 that said “I’ve got bucks in my pocket, I am going to buy a guitar and a harmonica and I am going to make some music”?

JAMIE
Well, I think you just nailed it on the head there. I had bucks in my pocket, so I was out there earning money the first time in my life, and for someone who absolutely loves and adores music, the first thing you are going to do is spend those bucks.

CLAYTON
Not on a CD or record player…or CD player…

JAMIE
Oh no.

CLAYTON
…your favourite bands box set?

JAMIE
No, not quite. Well, to me, there is so much great music out there and to be honest, I could send myself broke buying every CD I ever wanted. So, you know, why not be your own jukebox?

CLAIRE
What were you listening to that inspired you to go get that guitar and harmonica?

JAMIE
Back then that was mid to late 80’s, so I would’ve said Wall of Voodoo would have been one of them, and…it’s hard…there would have been Paul Kelly, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones. A lot of the good old classics.

CLAYTON
So, one of the questions maybe, that goes with it as a supplementary that might be did you buy yourself a hat at the same time?

JAMIE
Ah, the hat. I think the hat came a couple of months later…but yes… You must always have a bonnet on your head, so…

ALL LAUGHING

CLAYTON
You have to know three chords first before you can wear a hat properly.

JAMIE
And, once I got the three chords nailed down I got my special certificate to say I am now qualified to own a hat.

CLAIRE
Oh, you’ve done well. At 17, that was quite an accomplishment.

CLAYTON
Indeed. So now we heard a little while ago that you hadn’t really studied music, and even after the purchase you didn’t. How did you start picking up how you use these things you now had?

JAMIE
Well, just a bit of time. Just messing around. Just studying what music is. There is a mathematical component to it. I was never good at maths, but when you can make beautiful music. And so yes. Having a good study and going with the vibe and where it takes you and just loving the sounds that come out.

CLAIRE
That’s brilliant!

CLAYTON
How many chords was it before you started writing your own things?

JAMIE
Well, to be honest, I was a very late bloomer in writing and it…wasn’t… I’d occasionally just grab someone elses tune and write silly lyrics to make people laugh…

CLAYTON
So, starting off with parodies and things like that?

JAMIE
Yes, exactly. But, I never seriously wrote a song until Dail Chuinnidh there, which is about 3 years ago.

CLAYTON
So, impending fatherhood was a trigger?

JAMIE
It was a great motivator indeed. And, when you had so much joy in your heart, and so much in your life, why not?

CLAYTON
We better get to another track I think about now.

CLAIRE
Let’s hear more.

CLAYTON
We have more. The next one, A Midsummer in a Southern Land. Now I guess that wasn’t written in the deep dark of winter?

JAMIE
No, definitely not. No, that was actually, literally Midsummer’s day when I wrote it.

CLAYTON
Now, Midsummers day? When you say that to an Australian, what do you mean Midsummers day?

JAMIE
Well, Midsummer in Australia, give or take a day, because the sun and Earth move around very weirdly, it’s normally around the 21st December.

CLAYTON
So, we’re talking about Solstice time?

JAMIE
Yes, indeed. Well, that is Midsummer. So, I wrote that song just basically sitting out in the patio, a lot of cuppas, and talking with my wife, that we spend a lot of time doing. Just watching all of nature in Strathalbyn go by, and I felt just inspired.

CLAYTON
You know, having spent 20 odd years in Adelaide, I’d say midsummer’s somewhere about February.

JAMIE
Well, that’s hot Summer. That’s damn hot Summer in February!

CLAYTON (LAUGHING)
It’s about middle for me. Anyway, here we go. A Midsummer in a Southern Land.

PLAY A MIDSUMMER IN A SOUTHERN LAND

CLAYTON
That was A Midsummer in a Southern Land, Jamie McPherson, from a CD that isn’t quite released just yet, which I think is going to be called Meeting Place.

JAMIE
Meeting Place indeed. So, hopefully it won’t be too far away. Looking at October sometime, so just waiting for the artwork to come in from two very talented artists. One, my wife Tikarma. She’ll be painting the back cover, and another one is Jeremy Watson, who’s in my opinion, one of this country’s greatest photographers and also a very good friend. So, looking forward to that.

CLAYTON
OK, so there are some mechanicals happening in the near future. In terms of the songwriting for that particular song, now we’ve heard it started at Midsummer, which we have decided is the traditional Midsummer…

JAMIE LAUGHING
After great debate.

CLAYTON LAUGHING
…of the solstice. That’s right. The debate continued once the song was on, I can tell you out there. Alright, so we’ve got a time. Now we’ve got a place. It was at home?

JAMIE
It’s at home, in the patio with plenty of cups of tea.

CLAYTON
Plenty of cups of tea. Is that describing a state of mind?

JAMIE
Oh well, that is pretty much my life really.

CLAYTON
Is tea a great inspiration for you?

JAMIE
Tea is…basically moves this world. You sit outside…

CLAYTON
I thought that was laxatives, anyway…

ALL LAUGH

JAMIE
Well, that’s a different type of movement. But that’s the thing, you can sit out, have a cup of tea, everything just falls into place. Life goes perfect.

CLAYTON
OK, so you’re out there on the solstice. Enjoying cups of tea with some very pleasant company I’m taking it. What was it then that says Alright, I’m going to stop what I am doing. These lovely conversations and things like that and get my guitar out and be an antisocial slob and write a song?

JAMIE
Well, I ran out of things to say to the wife. No.

ALL LAUGH

JAMIE
No, it was just sitting there and watching all these birds fly in. These lorikeets and the magpies and our lovely blackbirds and seeing a couple of lizards that day. And to me nature is just awe-inspiring. That’s why I live out in Strathalbyn. Just to be close to it and it’s just so good for the soul I think.

CLAYTON
Well, you’ve certainly caught some of that directly in the lyric. It starts out “The lorikeets on the lawn. A new day is dawn. The Sun King raises his hand. Mr Blackbird hops about. His wife so devout. It’s Midsummer in this Southern Land”.

JAMIE
That’s right. To me that’s the start of a hot day.

CLAYTON
OK. Now, in terms of musical idea, it sounds like an idea for a lyric came before anything else?

JAMIE
With that one, yes, definitely the lyric did come first. I was just so moved to write about it.

CLAYTON
So, you had a few snatches of ideas from the birds and the sun and things like that. And you did actually write verses and pen to paper…

JAMIE
Oh, that’s right.

CLAYTON
…how soon after that was it that the guitar came out and you started to work something out to it?

JAMIE
Pretty much within the hour. I think it only took me an hour to write the lyrics, or under an hour with a few cups of tea in between. And straight away, I just picked up the guitar and the music was just there in the words. So, it just came and happened and within a couple of hours, there it was. A Midsummer in a Southern Land.

CLAYTON
How true would it be for you that the music is in the words?

JAMIE
Oh, definitely. To me the music is always in the words. When you’re writing as a songwriter there is always a musical content to the lyrical content. And to me, words will write the music. And also it sometimes works the other way. The music will write the words. Occasionally I’ll just start playing something on guitar and there will just be a phrase or line just singing out to me saying “I belong to this music!” So, I think there is a real symbiotic relationship between the two.

CLAIRE
Sounds like true songcatching actually, doesn’t it?

JAMIE
Oh definitely! It’s definitely songcatching and I think that is a great term for your show because it just describes it perfectly.

CLAYTON
So, we’ve got to a point of about one hour where the guitar came out. Approximately how long did it take do you think once the guitar came out to sought of have something that said “Oh, here is a working draft that is almost presentable”?

JAMIE
Well, as I said, pretty much within two hours I had the song, vocal and guitar. And so, there it was for me and then it was just the matter of getting into the studio and writing out the arrangements for it and just taking it from there. The arrangements for me come quite easy. Once you have the basic song there, pretty much everything else just fills your head.

CLAIRE
Are you using a specific computer program for your arranging?

JAMIE
Yes, well I use my recording software which is Cakewalk’s SONAR. Basically I just sit down and bring up a few staves and just write the music there. And, have a bit of a fiddle around with all the different synthesisers and just try different things.

CLAYTON
So, to do that you’re getting a recording to a click track or something like that you got the timing right?

JAMIE
Well,I tend to record all the other instruments. basically the other instruments, all the soft synths, what they’re called before hand. So, basically I’m just sitting there with musical notation and just writing out the notation. And of course, it all fits into place.

CLAYTON
And then you’re adding the live bits and voice later on?

JAMIE
Yes, that’s right. So, once I’ve done the drums, the bass, keyboards and violins and things like that, I’ll just sit down and record the guitar through. Record the vocal and maybe add a bit of harmonica or something else to it.

CLAYTON
In terms of editing, do you go back at some point and look through the draft of the lyrics, the draft of the melody, and think hard about how they work and how long? Or how short? Or if there is enough…

JAMIE
No, I tend not too. No, to me once the song is done the song is done. Basically, it’s a creation, for better or for worse. It could be better or it could be worse. But at some point you have to let go of it. And let go and take that leap, and hopefully it will be a good song.

CLAYTON
OK. I think we better move on to another song. What do you reckon Claire?

CLAIRE
Oh, I want to hear what else Jamie has chosen that has influenced him.

CLAYTON
Would you like to introduce this one?

JAMIE
Yes, this song is by The Band. It’s called King Harvest (has surely come) and I’ve just chosen this one as I love all the musicianship of all the guys. Garth Hudson’s keyboards! Lovely, I hope you enjoy.

PLAY KING HARVEST (HAS SURELY COME)

CLAYTON AND CLAIRE TALK ABOUT RADIO ADELAIDE’S SWING NIGHT, LIVE MUSIC FEST, SUBSCRIBING AND A CHANCE TO WIN A DANISH GOOSEDOWN QUILT

CLAYTON
Now, there you go. Now, we better get back to Songcatcher I think Claire. We’ve been having a silly sort of fun and we should get back to our serious, I’m going to put on my serious voice now.

CLAIRE
I’m not going to be serious because Jamie McPherson’s here and he’s not being serious.

JAMIE
No, anything but serious. I’d just like to say those Danes really know how to make a quilt. It’s what the Vikings were famous for wasn’t it? Just going all around the world, invading countries and showing them how to quilt?

CLAIRE LAUGHING
That’s right!

CLAYTON
There you go. Nothing…I can remember pictures of the Vikings dressed up in quilts!

JAMIE
Yes, that’s right!

CLAYTON
Scare any man!

JAMIE
Oh, indeed! A big blonde man with a battle-axe and a quilt is…will get you shaking in your boots!

ALL LAUGH

CLAYTON
Now Jamie, I’m really interested to let you tell the story. Once you had written this first song which you had written when your good wife was with child. Was it something like a floodgate once it started? What happened there?

JAMIE
It was. It was very hard to stop writing. All of a sudden it was a revelation that “Hey! I can write songs”. Because I always told her for years “Oh yes, One day I’ll write a song for you”, and all of a sudden it happened. So, just thinking about love and thinking about whisky. It was great!

CLAYTON
And drinking tea.

JAMIE
And drinking tea. Drinking tea indeed.

CLAYTON
Have you ever had the habit of drinking whisky and trying to write?

JAMIE
Not while I’m writing. I’ve done a few times recording. I’ll just have a few drams of Highland malt just to loosen up the throat. A few drams later is just like it’s a bit warm in here. And all of a sudden not quite so steady on the feet and I don’t know, it was like there was an earthquake happening in the studio.

CLAYTON
Well, I know for me a glass of red wine goes down very well. But you don’t want to read what I might have written. Or, what I have tried to have done…

ALL LAUGH

JAMIE
I’d love to see what you have written after a few glasses of cab sav there.

CLAYTON
No, it’s a bit embarrassing actually. Yes, Never mind. Um, performance skills. Where did you gain performance skills to go along with this guitar, harmonica and singing?

JAMIE
Well, I suppose it was just do and you learn sort of situation. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve worked in various industries within the arts. A lot of filmmaking and sound engineering and things like that. So, I think it’s made me a lot more comfortable just being able to be behind the scenes and watching people do it. And it’s like well, “Hey, I can do that!” So yes, then it’s just getting out there and doing it. And yes, sometimes the nerves will hit you and that’s understandable. That’s all part of it.

CLAYTON
But one of the things is get out there and do it and give it a go.

JAMIE
Oh that’s right exactly! If you don’t get out and do it, then you can’t say you’ve tried.

CLAYTON
Our time is rapidly retreating so we’re going to get into the next track right now. This is the last one. You’re My Only Vice.

JAMIE
Oh yes, it’s so true.

CLAYTON
And it’s not about me listeners.

JAMIE
It was. I wrote it about you Clayton.

PLAY YOU’RE MY ONLY VICE

CLAIRE
Now you’re listening to Jamie McPherson singing You’re My Only Vice. What else have you got to tell us Jamie?

JAMIE
Well, I’ve got a gig coming up next month there on Thursday 23rd of September. Part of SCALA. It’s Peter McIver night. So, with very talented and good friend, musician Peter McIver and he’ll be playing with Chris Koto. As well as his band Sleepless. And Emmy Love will be playing on the night too. So, should be a great night!

CLAIRE
Good SCALA night!

CLAYTON
Sounds like fun. Actually, I’m on the week after that.

JAMIE
Are you?

CLAYTON
We’re going to have a special Songcatcher version of SCALA.

JAMIE
Oh brilliant! I might have to come along to that one!

CLAYTON
Should be fun.

CLAIRE
Well, I’ll be coming along. Just to have a look around there.

CLAYTON
I need a heckler.

JAMIE
You need a heckler? You’ve got a couple here.

CLAIRE
Jamie, thanks so much for coming along.

JAMIE
Ah, it’s been an absolute pleasure.

CLAYTON
Thanks indeed mate. And, safe traveling all the way back to Strathalbyn this evening. Cumming up very shortly is Suzie Hutchings and her wonderful, wonderful show Crossing Tracks. Before that we’ve got a little section of Music in the Blood by Michelle Smith featuring one of the men from Unified Gekko, who is Murat Usel. I think I can pronounce African words well.

JAMIE
I think you are doing great! There must be African in your blood there.

CLAYTON
It doesn’t make sense. I haven’t got any African in the last few hundred thousand years that I am aware of?

JAMIE
It’s all DNA.

CLAYTON
Anyway, here it is. Music in the Blood. Ciao.

END OF SHOW

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