Why Otto’s Biography? Good question. I’ve been wrangling a lot of new material over the last 6 months or so: some that I thought worth rescuing from the vaults; but mostly stuff I’ve written over the past year. At the same time, I’ve been having lots of fun collaborating with various musical friends on covers as well as some original material.
How does all that coalesce into an album? I’ve still not made my final selections for what now has a working title of Friends and other Heroes. In the meantime, these four songs seem to fit together. They’re autobiographical, except where they aren’t. By which I mean, they’re not so achingly autobiographical that you’ll not identify with the protagonist.
The Songs and (a bit of) their story
1. The Silence In Between
The only thing I want to say about this song is that it isn’t quite the conventional love song it sounds like – at least not for me: it can be for you! When I wrote it I had in mind someone who’s very close to me, a family member. Because we’ve known each other so long, there’s sometimes no need for words. I’ve already blogged about the guitar work on it recently.
2. Fingers and Thumbs
This is maybe the most oblique set of lyrics in the EP: think that old Scottish theme of duality; Jekyll and Hyde, Deacon Brodie, but perhaps with both halves not being black and white. I’ll say no more than that.
I had a lot of fun doing the original guitar track on the Sniper edition Telecaster, and then when I found the drums on Mixcraft – called, incidentally, Native American – things started to take shape. Previous to that, on acoustic guitar, it had been like some sort of folky drinking song: the feel I had in mind eventually was more in the Richard Thompson arena (now there’s a good name for a sports stadium!) Mr Brutal himself, Mark Allan, added the excellent bass line.
4. Otto’s Song
Finally, a song to the little guy in the picture: a message to my younger self, I suppose. The photo fell into my hands late last year: it shows me on the beach at Rothesay, where our family were on holiday. We’d either met this other family who we were friendly with there on purpose or by accident: I don’t know which. Either way, it’s the mid-Sixties, I’m guessing I’m about 3 or 4, and my brother’s larking about with me.
At the time I got the picture, I was going through a hard time for various reasons, and I thought, what message would I send to my younger self? More than that, what would I promise him for his own far future? And in so doing, I made a promise to myself for my own near future I’m still working on.
These songs are on the gentler, more acoustic end of my output. I hope you like them: they’re free to download. If you do listen to or download, them, though, perhaps you could drop some cash into the next refugee charity collecting tin for me? Fife Migrants Forum, for example, does a lot of good work close to me.
Thanks for reading – and, I hope, listening. It means a lot to me.
P.S. Tracks updated to current album versions
Good songs! If I had to pick among them, I think I’d say that Fingers And Thumbs is my favorite. Its overall sound really connects with me.
Interesting choice! Thanks so much for listening in. It’s probably the folkiest in terms of the chord changes.