If you’re reading this then that means you have bought my album Forgiveness Is Underrated so thank you. Your support really means a lot. This album has been a long time coming. For years and years, ever since I started writing, I’d always wanted to record an album and never done so because I believed that I needed a studio, complex tracks, multiple instruments the works. Despite the fact that (with a few exceptions) I’d only ever played and performed my songs acoustically, I always believed that they couldn’t take their place on an actual album unless they were part of a studio produced piece of work. So I never got around to it. And then I heard a couple of albums that totally changed my perception as to what makes a great album by a chap called Lew Bear and without discovering his work this album simply wouldn’t exist. The album is in two parts with the first half of the album recorded at home and the second half in Kingsbury Water Park with the track that inspired it all, It’s Too Late, sitting in the middle of the album recorded during a live performance at Chariots in Atherstone.
You know, it’s funny how certain events conspire and align to inspire and motivate an individual. Had it not being for an awful incident I went through in 2015 I would never have confronted a lot of personal demons & issues that motivated me to take It’s Too Late and build an album around it. The title itself came from the most unlikely of sources. I was watching This Is England and one of the characters, Woody, came out with it during a scene. Those three words, Forgiveness Is Underrated, summed up perfectly the journey I’d been on over the past few years and the summer of 2015 in particular.
I’ve already thanked Lew Bear for providing the inspiration to record a pure, raw and acoustic album but I’d also like to say a special thank you to Ian Bourne who recorded and mastered track seven, It’s Too Late. Finally, a big thank you to every single person that has booked me at their venue and given me the opportunity to perform over the past three years. So, Andi Chamberlain, Debbie Joynes, Tammy King, Ian Bourne, Lauren Pryke, Carlo & Tom from Birmingham Promoters, Sophia Vassalos, Hannah Faulkner, Tim Walkerdine & Vikki Fox, thank you. You’ll never know how much of an impact you’ve had on this album actually happening.
Twelve Degrees In Nashville is a song about loss and not wanting to let the good times fade. Once I had the title the rest of the lyrics came very naturally and it’s one of the easiest pieces of writing I’ve done. The title and American theme was inspired by the image that is seen in many American movies of a guy sat in a bar or saloon drowning his sorrows over a cold “bottle of suds”.
You’re A Mystery is a bit of a twisted love story about a lonely, introverted guy watching the object of his affections from a far but never quite having the courage to talk to her. Because of the tone of the song, I wanted to create a slightly unsettling mood and to do that I restrung an old guitar which created a really prominent scratching on the track.
Alibi was a song written a few years back that I performed as a Status Quo-esque rock ‘n’ roll song with Secret Eye and it was always the one song that I couldn’t make work purely as an acoustic song Until I discovered Johnny Cash. That classic Country & Western style inspired me to rework Alibi in a totally fresh way that I simply wouldn’t have thought about twelve months ago.
Another song about unrequited love, On The Hook was inspired by an episode of How I Met Your Mother (hey, when inspiration strikes, it strikes) about how some people find themselves fruitlessly pursuing the object of their desire. Again, the country style was inspired by Johnny Cash.
Changes has always been a bit of an anomaly. I think it’s one of the best pieces of lyrical work I’ve done and I’ve always enjoyed playing it at home. But, for some reason, it’s never quite took its place as a regular in my set. So, Changes was an obvious song to add to the album. I tried recording it with bass and some light percussion over several tracks but it never felt quite right. So, the version that made it onto the album was a live take recorded on one track and it’s a lot more natural as a result.
Secrets is oldest song on the album and, for the first 12 months on the acoustic scene, an ever present in my set. I “retired” it at the end of 2014 but started playing it again during some rehearsal sessions and I’d forgotten how much I liked it so, here it us.
It’s Too Late is the song that inspired the entire project and I could write pages and pages about how this song came about but, to keep it brief, it’s a song about my father’s passing, the guilt and regret that I have dealt with since and the sadness around a lot of missed opportunities. Much like Changes, the original idea was to record it over multiple tracks with a few other instruments but it never felt quite right and lost a lot of the emotion that went into the writing of the song. After recording a couple of live takes at home I still wasn’t entirely happy with it so I went through a couple of the live recordings from various gigs and stumbled across a performance that Ian Bourne recorded at Chariots and it captured perfectly the emotion of the song.
Where Did Yesterday Go. We all do it don’t we? Look at the past through rose tinted spectacles? That’s what this song’s about and how well we remember those yesterdays. It’s the first track of the second half of the album and the guitar was recorded in Kingsbury Water Park with the vocals recorded at home.
Of all the songs on the album Tongue Tied was the one that was never intended to be there. I’ve played it at a few gigs here and there but never really stood out as a favourite. However, during the first “sunrise recording session” in Kingsbury Water Park I recorded it as a guide track, just something to get a feel for how the outdoor sound worked, and it worked so well I decided to keep it.
Sequel’s a song about being trapped in the vicious circle of a toxic relationship and that, despite knowing returning back won’t end well, it become impossible to resist. It’s the third of five songs recorded in Kingsbury Water Park and was done during the second of the “sunrise sessions”.
I think we all have that one summer that sticks in our memories. That one summer where the sun was always shining and it was filled with nothing but good times. Well, for me that was the summer of 1999 and that’s exactly what Ninety Nine is all about. It brings back some great memories every time I perform it. This was yet another song that was originally intended to be recorded over several tracks with bass, percussion and backing vocals but I much preferred the raw, natural, live sound.
Last but not least, Lipstick On My Sleeve and here is another song that I could write about for pages and pages. It’s gone through so many rewrites and reworks that it could probably form an album in its own right! I jest of course. This version, chilled with finger picked chords, came about totally by accident. I had just restrung my guitar and was just playing around with some chord progressions. This led to me playing through Lipstick On My Sleeve with broken chords and I was really pleased with it. So, of I went to Kingsbury Water Park to record it and shoot the video.
Once again, thank you for purchasing Forgiveness Is Underrated. It really does mean the world to me.