THE SAND IN MY SHOES
On the part of listeners, this EP was by far the most well-received recording I’ve done. Four of the pieces were written specifically for the project and one was an older humorous song of mine (Hey Sweet Shirley from Gomesongs Side B) that has been through several permutations. What I remember most about this recording is that it was a lot of fun to do. Maybe that came across to listeners. Myself and co-producer/engineer Ross Murray were both upbeat about the tracks and tried several approaches to bring this altogether. I dedicated it to my late father and uncle who both played me recordings of Caribbean music from infancy. I loved this music as a child, loathed it as a teenager, and came to love it again as I got older. In tribute to them, I wanted to record a project that they would have enjoyed. I believe this EP would have made them smile. Stylistically, I combined many elements I had heard on those old recordings with my own “voice.” The project was greatly aided by the terrific percussion playing of René Fortier.
1.) Look Alive!
I enjoy trying various musical experiments and this piece one was one of them. I wanted to find out how much I could exploit the concept of repetition without it becoming boring. Even though the main motif repeats a lot, there is always something else happening to keep things moving forward. I like the energy of this piece, thanks largely to some cool congas, timbales and other percussion.
2.) Hey Sweet Shirley
As mentioned previously, this is an older song of mine. I was always fond of the melody and it was written during a time in my life that has very good memories. I changed a few things for this instrumental version. It has a more laidback feel and builds nicely. One person described it as a beach gathering with a few people arriving and as time goes on, many more arrive and the party takes off full tilt.
For this piece, I purchased a new nylon string classical guitar. I had to get my fingernails back in shape as I wanted to play this tune fingerstyle. This approach seemed fitting for the romantic setting I wanted to evoke. I also can’t deny the influence of my years studying classical guitar. It was written during the hot summer months here in Ottawa and I recall daydreaming about childhood vacations to places like Barbados and Nassau. This is where I first heard mention of tradewinds and felt the warm winds on my face coming in from the ocean. It has proven to be one of my most popular pieces among radio listeners.
4.) On the Pier
The only jazzy piece on the EP, it is also the most sophisticated harmonically. It reminded me of walking on a busy pier in the tropics and hearing conversations, watching people fishing, and seeing the boats bringing in their catches.
5.) Hide and Seek
I wanted a very playful melody to conclude this EP, similar to ones I heard as a child. I finally found what was needed. It was titled this as it reminded me of children playing hide and seek--in a tropical setting. Musically, I used rhythmic elements of a musical fusion called Spouge, originating from Barbados.