RON_LongPlayerCover_smGET IN LINE

As a songwriter, I get asked to co-write with other people on a regular basis.

Sometimes it comes directly from the artist and sometimes it comes from my publisher in the UK. I don't really enjoy co-writing, truth be told, but I've had some good experiences and some horrible experiences. This song was inspired by the latter.

I was sent down to LA to write with a successful husband and wife songwriting team (who shall remain nameless). Now, with the exception of "Brandy Alexander" from Exit Strategy and "The Laughing Crowd" from Grand Opera Lane, I have this stubborn little rule when it comes to my own records - I shall not co-write.

For some reason, the people I was about to work with were under the impression that I was enlisting their help to write songs for my next project. After I explained that I had already written it (except for this one) and that I prefer not to co-write for my own records, they asked me to play a few so they could see if they were any good or not.

Whether the songs were any good or not, I don't know... it's not for me to say. But I didn't feel the need to run them by anyone, so I politely declined, saying that I was happy with them and wasn't looking for any critique, but thanks.

Well, as you can see, we sort of got off on the wrong foot and we ended up writing a rather half-assed song, which they both felt I should put on my next record. I asked "Why would I do a song that doesn't mean anything to me?" With that, the female of the two gave me a bit of a lecture on how the record industry has changed from the one I used to know. "Nobody cares about albums any more" and that I need to basically "get over" myself and get with the program.

I just sat there and listened.

It wasn't said in a mean way or anything, and to be honest, I felt that most of what she said was probably true, but on the way back to my hotel room I thought to myself "Well, I like albums."

Around this time I was already feeling depressed and disillusioned with my career. It seemed like I was constantly disappointing people and there was this period there where everybody was lining up to tell me what I was doing wrong. I figured no one was gonna make me feel any worse than I already felt, so I came up with the whole "get in line" idea and it made me feel better just by singing it.

I wrote it in the dressing room whilst opening for Nick Lowe in Newcastle. I used to come out during the encore and sing a Louvin Brothers song with him and so this was written between the time my set ended and his encore began. The other thing I'd like to point out that may seem rather obscure, is that musically, it was influenced by the old Petula Clarke song "My Love" that I loved as a kid. If I hadn't mentioned it here, I don't think anybody would've picked up on that.

And as for the bad song writing experience I had in LA, at least I got this song out of it. (Oh and that's my good friend Paul Hyde from The Payolas singing backing vocals.)

THE REASON WHY

Sometimes when things go wrong, as people, we may look up to the heavens and wonder why. We wonder, if there is a God, why he, she, or it would allow such things to happen.

I was looking back on my career and feeling like a big joke and wondering where it all went wrong. I kept day dreaming about disappearing to a small town somewhere and living out the rest of my life as a recluse. That's where my head was at.

The ironic thing though, is when you're a songwriter, you end up writing these feelings into a song and then you hope to play them for a crowd of people... not very reclusive at all.

The opening line refers to the amount of drinking that was going on during the Exit Strategy tour. We drank on the way to the gig, during the gig and after the gig. It felt like we were The Faces or something. I was really letting myself go too and my mind was constantly in the dark. I wanted to lose weight, get healthy and just get away from the music business in general which had become a sort of toxic enabler. I certainly didn't want to make any more records but then, that's what I do for a living.

This one was started on my piano at home but after the Christmas season of 2008, I reluctantly headed down to Santa Fe, New Mexico to meet up with Colleen. (I just didn't feel like going anywhere.) She had some friends down there who would let us stay in their guest house for a few weeks. I was so fed up with the whole music biz, I didn't even take my guitar with me. When I arrived though, I noticed that Colleen had a rented one for me in case I got bored.

Now because I'd been mostly writing on piano of late it was actually comforting to get back in touch with the old six string. Even though it wasn't my guitar, I took an instant shine to it and we were pretty much inseparable the whole time I was down there (except when out on a coffee walks or in the pool.)

When it came to record in LA, I knew that it would be an up-tempo number but I never dreamed it could rock as hard as it does... well, for me at least. It's one of my favorite tracks on the disc and it was wonderful to have Travis Good from the Sadies come in to play some twangy electric guitar on it. (That's him doing the Townsend-esque solo.) His other half, Joanne Tickle, and Colleen are really good friends and so we go up to their farm quite regularly. For me it's a bit like hanging out with Keith Richards or something, he's rock and roll through and through, and so having him on my record made me feel slightly cooler.

(On a side note, I've just produced a CD for Joanne that'll be coming out later this year. I'm no producer, and I may never produce anything again, but it's a wonderful record and I hope you'll all check it out when it appears.)

BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT

I'm always amazed that anybody survives their childhood or teen years. I put it down to dumb luck for the most part. I used to have a detective agency when I was a kid (we actually got hired by a lady once to find her missing watch... we didn't find it).

My partner in crime solving was my friend and classmate, Carlos Pardo and our outfit was called S.P.Y. (Sexsmith, Pardo... the Y" didn't really stand for anything). We set up a makeshift office in an old abandoned DOMTAR Factory (local paper mill) and we knew every square inch of the place including where to hide should the security guard come by on his rounds.

Once some vandals had started a fire in there and so naturally we went to check out the damage. I was high up on this walkway where we'd normally pass over to get to our "office" only now since the floor had been fire damaged, when I stepped on it I could feel myself falling through. I had just a split second to grab on to a nearby railing or it would've been curtains for me. (Actually a similar thing happened to me in Brighton a few years back when I was nearly run over by a speeding car while trying to cross that main boulevard by the sea - I had just a second to jump back on the curb as it zoomed by.)

These old expressions like "whistling past the graveyard" and "knock on wood" came to mind. When we were kids we used to say stuff as we walked home from school like "step on a crack, break your mother's back" and so all these things were on my mind when I wrote the opening lines. "Whistling over trestles and past the graveyard sign." I was thinking about this old train trestle we would cross sometimes where, if a train happened along you'd have to literally run or jump for your life. From there, I started thinking about how random life can seem while at other times, it can feel almost predestined. I tried to convey both sides with each verse.

Like the song "The Idiot Boy," I had a lot on my mind and wasn't sure what the point of it all was and so the lyrics aren't as clear as I would've liked, but hopefully people get the main gist. ("There's reason in these rhymes.") As far as choruses go, it just might be the best one I've ever written and consequently, we've had a fair bit of radio action with it on one of the BBC stations. Hats off to Bob Rock too, for helping me bring it life and for understanding what needed to be done. He felt the song reminded him musically of "Heroes" by David Bowie in that, the verse was a different kind of music in relation to the chorus and so we approached it with that in mind.

With LPLB, I was trying to stand up for myself and resurrect my career. I wanted to be the hero of my own action movie.

MIRACLES

This one was conceived on my piano back home too but I finished on guitar in New Mexico. I used to have a song called "The Strangest Things" that I would roll out back in the early 90's before I got signed. The opening lines were "The strangest things are happening and before my very eyes are miracles that hide behind reality's disguise." It was a sort of shuffle in A minor but my publisher never liked it so I just let it go.

Truthfully, it wasn't a very good song but I always liked the opening lines and thought I could salvage those at least.

The guest house where we stay in Santa Fe is this adobe chapel that I believe is a few centuries old. It has these original ox-blood floors and stained glass images of (if I'm not mistaken) St. Francis of Assisi and Our Lady of Guadalupe on the wall. In short, a beautiful place to be and to write.

The man who owns the place is a bit of a legend in the world of journalism. His name is Richard Stolley (or Dick Stolley if you're on more friendly terms) and as the editor for Time Life magazine, he made quite a name for himself back in the '50s and '60s. (He's also the man responsible for acquiring the rights for the now famous Zapruder footage that showed the assassination of JFK.) By the end of that decade though, he had started up PEOPLE magazine which further cemented his reputation. Colleen used to work for Dick and his wife Lisa as a nanny to their son Charlie, but since Charlie's all grown up we go down there from time to time - and not to be presumptuous — but as friends now.

I had been hearing about Dick from Colleen for quite some time and so when we finally met, we sort of hit it off you might say. He's a very generous man for one thing, and is wonderfully knowledgeable on a whole range of different subjects as you'd expect from someone in his line of work. We never seem to run out of things to talk about and good wine is always flowing. Colleen and I even got married in their house a few years back and it was the most perfect setting. I didn't know when I wrote this, that first time down in Santa Fe that I'd be getting married there, but like "Tomorrow In Her Eyes," it's one of my most romantic songs. I was quite proud of my vocals too.

My only regret is that we couldn't afford to have real strings. It was near the end of the recording sessions for LPLB and we had basically run out of money (and we didn't have much to begin with).

In December of 2009, I had flown out to meet Bob in Vancouver to do the remaining vocals and finishing touches. When I arrived at Warehouse Studios (Bryan Adams's place) he had brought in keyboardist John Webster to do some synth strings and horns on a few numbers. We just basically sang our ideas to him and he would make them sound better.

It was great to be with Bob again and to hear the tracks after a few weeks hiatus. I was starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

NO HELP AT ALL

Lyrically, this was cut from the same cloth as "Get in Line" I suppose - a sort of humorously disgruntled song describing my bleak state of mind.

After focusing on trying to write uplifting and hopeful songs on the previous record, it was actually rather cathartic for me to give in to this creeping pessimism I was detecting in my brain. But again, because there was humor in it, it was easier to swallow.("A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.")

It basically opens the lid on how depressed the whole Exit Strategy tour had made me. I felt from the beginning like I was touring a dead album and yet still more dates kept being added when all I wanted to do was go home. Out of the entire tour I think I was happy with maybe five out of about a hundred shows It really did a number on my head so to speak (not to mention my physical shape which went straight out the window).

When I finally got in the front door of my house, I couldn't bear to see or talk to anybody, I just felt like packing the whole thing in. I dreamed about changing things up and starting over, perhaps with entirely different people, but I didn't know who, how or when.

Mostly, I wasn't happy with the show I was able to put on (although much respect to bassist Jason Mercer and road manager Evan Thompson who stuck it out with me on every single show and are great traveling companions, aka drinking buddies). It just felt like there was no plan and that nobody had my back. I don't know how accurate this was but in my poor demented mind at least, that's how it felt.

The thing I love about songs in general though is that when you write one about how down you're feeling, it has a strange way of erasing your original sadness. It's like you have a place to put it if that makes any sense.

Anyway, I do like this song a lot. I wrote the words at Subscriptions coffee shop in Santa Fe (splendid coffee if you're ever in that neck of the woods).

Musically, I can hear that old Bill Withers influence guiding it along. It always makes me glad to find myself back in Withers territory. Lastly, that's my pal Kevin Hearn playing the keyboard flutes on this track. It sort of reminds of "Quinn the Eskimo" by Manfred Mann. Anybody remember that one?

LATE BLOOMER

If you've seen the movie "Love Shines" about the making of this record, you'll know that this was the last song written for the album. There's a scene where I'm playing it to Bob for the very first time and thankfully, he deemed it worthy of recording. I basically finished it on the plane to Los Angeles and that footage was taken from Day One of our pre-production session.

The night before, I had been out to see a taping of Elvis Costello's TV show Spectacle which was held just one time at the Masonic Temple in Toronto. (It's normally filmed at the Apollo in Harlem; that's where my episode was taped.) It was the first show of the second season and U2 were to be the guests... pretty exciting stuff.

Now, it was a huge undertaking, just getting this record started with Bob Rock. Finding the money to pay the musicians, the studio and the hotels was a huge challenge for my management and so I was worrying constantly that it would all fall through and I needed it to happen in the worst way... almost as if my life depended on it.

Anyway, after saying hello to Elvis and Bono backstage, I started to feel strange... like I needed some air. I walked out the front door of the Masonic Temple with Colleen and started shaking uncontrollably and shook all the way home. I had never had an anxiety attack before and it was quite alarming for me and for Colleen as well. She thought I was having a heart attack, and I didn't know what was happening to me. I had an early flight the next morning and I was afraid that I might have to cancel it, which would've been a huge set back to the production of this record. We only had a limited amount of time to get the pre-production and basic tracking done with all the LA musicians.

Anyway, I got up and got myself on that flight in the morning feeling extremely fragile. I needed to pull myself together though — there was too much on the line. I didn't want Bob to think there was anything wrong with me either. I had already written the first verse and chorus of "Late Bloomer" about a week earlier and so I was furiously typing down second verse ideas on my laptop the whole way there. The stuff that I didn't use in the verses I turned into pre-choruses ("Like a crab apple on a tree" and "From a turntable to a phone").

When I got to LA, in my frazzled state, I had completely lost my appetite and could only nibble away at salads and soup. I started losing weight at a rapid pace which I guess was one good side effect of having an anxiety attack. I started swimming everyday too and by the final sessions in Vancouver I found myself in the best shape I'd been in since perhaps my 20's, which did wonders for my self confidence (typically, none of that footage made it in the film).

I've since put most of that weight back on which I'll need to address when things slow down a bit. I'm on the road as I write this, and my health always suffers on tour. Hopefully someday I'll figure it all out... either that or I'll just have to stay home.

It's always nice to take a brand new song though into the studio. It has a way of energizing the existing songs and with this one in particular, it ended up bringing the whole album into focus (and spawned the album title as well). The original working title was "Long Playing Disc" (because I love albums soooo much) but I liked the way "Late Bloomer" and "Long Player" sounded together and so did Bob.

It reminded me of a classic Rod Stewart album title and I was trying to make a classic album after all.

HEAVENLY

I got an email from a fellow named Scott Morin one day while down in New Mexico. He was working with a young jazz singer from Montreal by the name of Nikki Yanofsky. He said they were looking for some appropriate songs that she could sing as she was only fifteen years old so I gave it my best shot.

I took a walk to Subscriptions (my favorite coffee shop away from home) and by the time I got back to the guest house, about an hour or so later, it was completely finished. I just needed to find the chords for it.

Later that night, I made a Garage Band recording of my new song and sent it to Scott feeling quite pleased with myself for getting it done so efficiently. Nikki never did record it in the end, but I did wind up going to Montreal to co-write some songs with her and Jesse Harris (he wrote that big hit for Norah Jones).

I said in an interview once that this song was the musical equivalent of wearing a flowery pink shirt which I think is still an apt description. (It was intended for a fifteen year old after all.) Melodically, I like it because it goes everywhere you kind of expect it to go. I think it's a shame, when a simple melody is made more difficult for art's sake. I always want it to feel natural or like it has always been there.

I had demoed most of these tunes with local Toronto musician Afie Jurvanen. Afie is a multi-instrumentalist who fronts a popular band called Bahamas that you may have heard of. I met him at Leslie Feist's birthday party in February of '09 (they were an item at the time). The party was held on Valentine's Day at a banquet hall just down the street from my house. They had a DJ playing doo-wop music from the fifties (my favorite era) and I was mostly impressed with of all things... his dancing. He seemed so uninhibited which is a trait I admire in people, and he and Leslie we're really cutting a rug that night. I was off on the sidelines as usual.

We ended up talking later and at some point he offered to produce some demos for me up at Leslie's house in the country. The idea appealed to me as I was curious to see her place anyway, and also I thought perhaps that Afie just might be the guy to produce the record. He seemed like a wild card to me, judging by his dancing.

As it turned out, we made some real good demos (including one of "Heavenly") but I started getting nervous about it. It was nothing that Afie was doing or not doing. He's an extremely talented guy but I just felt unsure and that something drastic needed to happen in my career. I didn't know what exactly but it didn't seem like this was it. I hadn't even met Bob Rock yet but little did I know that the fateful introduction would be waiting just around the corner.

MICHAEL AND HIS DAD

When I first moved to Toronto in late 1987, I thought I could apply for welfare for the first month or two to take the stress off. As it turned out I could only collect welfare if I was actively looking for work and attending this early morning job search program (free coffee and doughnuts).

My son Christopher was only two then and often times he'd have to tag along with me as I looked for work. This tune was loosely based on that brief period in my life but I thought it would work better as a fictional vignette.

I had the idea for this song kicking around for a few years prior to recording it but I didn't have a bridge for it. Even after I wrote the bridge, it took me awhile to decide whether I needed it or not. It's the part of the song where you realize that the "Dad" character is actually a widower and I wasn't convinced that anybody needed to know that.

Bob really liked the bridge idea purely from a musical standpoint and I guess lyrically, it does sort of give the story some extra shading and heart tugging.

Like "The Reason Why," I never imagined that it could rock the way it does but Bob had some great arrangement ideas from the get go, and I loved hearing it all come together with the piano figure off the top and Paul Bushnell's catchy impromptu bass line.

Many people have told me that this is their favorite song on LPLB actually. It's not my favorite but it came off way better than I could've hoped.

MIDDLE OF LOVE

This was another late arrival to the sequence.

I hadn't written a straight ahead rock and roll song in quite awhile and I thought the album could use a song like this. The structure wasn't quite right when I first brought it to Bob but he helped me sort it out and it was an absolute blast to record. (That's Travis Good again on lead guitar.)

The first time I performed it live was at the Carlton in Halifax about a year before the record was even released. The good feelings I had from the whole Bob Rock experience were quickly deflated the moment we started shopping it around to labels. I don't think I've ever felt more rejection from labels than for this record. For years they had all said I wasn't radio friendly enough and now they were saying my record was too commercial??

Anyway, I had booked myself some shows out east just to keep from going insane and getting depressed again. I wouldn't say that it's a great song by any means but it's a fun track and I've been having a grand old time singing it on tour. It's not very often I get to feel like Buddy Holly and David Lee Roth in the same song.

EVERY TIME I FOLLOW

Over the years, Colleen in her work as a nanny, has befriended and connected with many a child. I've never met anyone who is better with children or who children respond to more than her. It's almost as though she was wearing an invisible Teddy Bear outfit that only kids can see. Every now and then she'll bring one of them home and I'll be in my pajamas playing the piano.

On one such occasion, I don't remember which kid it was, but I started playing the song "Baa Baa Black Sheep" for her. It was the first song I ever sang in public I guess you could say, as I was asked to sing it in front of my entire kindergarten class (a tear-filled version as I recall). As I played the melody I realized that it was also the tune for "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (not to mention "The Alphabet Song" too) so I turned it into a kind of medley of sorts for my pint sized audience of one.

Well, this song was born from that "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" idea. (I even reference the "wonder where you are" line in it.) I just started thinking about the time when I was out driving around with Jocelyne before Christopher was born. It was around Christmas time and I saw my first ever shooting star. She saw it too and pulled the car over to the side of the road as Mahalia Jackson started to sing "Silent Night" on the radio of course.

I had planned to tell her that night that I didn't think I could go through with being a father or that I wasn't ready etc, but when I saw that star, I took it as a sign. It seemed to be telling me that everything was happening for a reason and to not be so selfish. There have been times in my life where I've felt a real strong connection with God and other times when I didn't feel anything was up there at all.

I've often wondered if my becoming a father gave me the ability to write songs in the first place and whether or not it was some divine gift for acting selfless for a change (kind of like the story of Pinocchio where he gets to be a real boy finally).

Unlike most of the other songs on LPLB, I wrote this at home on my piano. It was Bob's favorite one of the bunch and I think it shows in the spirit of the dramatic production. (It reminds of something Nilsson might've done and Queen for that matter.) I'm quite proud it too. Even my band tells me that it's their favorite one off the new disc to play. And If the band is happy, I'm happy.

EYE CANDY

I guess the lyrics for "Eye Candy" are pretty self explanatory. One of my local hang outs is the Dakota Tavern in Toronto's increasingly hip Dundas and Ossington neighborhood. They have live music (mostly Alt Country) every night and they pour a nice Guinness there as well. (When I sing "Sipping on a black Dakota pint" that's what I'm referring to.)

I got the idea for the song one night when these two young ladies walked in who were clearly not regulars. They both had a kind of Paris Hilton look about them and seemed to have stumbled in from a dance club by accident and now were aggressively on the prowl. (They sat beside me at the bar which is where I gleaned all this info.) At one point, one of the girls turned to me and said, "Aren't you that singer Rufus Wainwright?" To which I said, "Nope, you've got the wrong guy" and so she went back to her prowling. A little while later, she came back and said, "You're a jerk... that guy over there says that you ARE a singer." I said, "Yeah, but not the one you thought I was!"

At this point the band on stage (The Beauties) called me up to sit in on a couple of songs. We would normally do "Is Anybody Going to San Antone" by Charley Pride or "She's So Cold" by the Rolling Stones. So while I was up there rocking out, all of a sudden I could feel two arms around my waist. I turned around to look and it was... you know who! She wasn't interested in me at all until she thought I was a "somebody."

Anyway, right after I pried her off of me, I started imagining the potential for this song and so later when I got down to Santa Fe, the lyrics all came tumbling out in rapid succession. It was a blast to write and it became an instant hit around the house too as Colleen was always trying to get me to play it for people.

I never saw those girls again. I wonder if they know they inspired this song? I kinda hope they don't.

LOVE SHINES

Even though this is the second last song on the album, it was actually the first one I came up with. Initially all I had were the opening lines "In every nowhere town, there are somewhere dreams" and that was it. I came up with them, while touring Exit Strategy and for a few weeks there, it was practically all I could think about.

Colleen is always bemoaning the fact that she never gets to see me cry. I come from a rather reserved family, stiff upper lip and all that jazz. And in the same way that I have a difficult time smiling for the camera, it's next to impossible for me to cry in front of anyone. But I do cry... in private though. I'm not a robot.

In fact, I spent almost a whole afternoon crying after I botched kd lang's induction speech into the Canadian Walk Of Fame. It was on national television too! I couldn't read the teleprompter and so I got the year of her birth wrong by about two decades... in the wrong direction! Anyway, everybody laughed. Thankfully kd did too. But the next day I walked around in the rain feeling like a complete idiot, like I couldn't do anything right. Ever have one of those days?

It's usually the happy things though, that make me cry and with "Love Shines," I wanted to write a song for Colleen that would convey some of the things that move me to tears or make me misty-eyed. The title "Love Shines" refers to the shimmering of tears in someone's eyes.

When I wrote it, at first it was very slow, almost like "Secret Heart." It was me trying to write like Buddy Holly again but in Bob Rock's mind, he heard it as being a much more epic sounding track. I always thought it would be the opening song as well but after we recorded it finally, it sounded so big to me that I thought it best to save it and make it more of a Grand Finale so to speak.

During the vocal session for "Love Shines," I had mapped out the way I was going to sing the song (as I normally do) in terms of my phrasing and basic melody but all of a sudden, the way I had planned to sing it didn't work with the vibe of the track. Bob, who is a great vocal producer, said into my headphones after a few failed attempts, "You've got to sell me this song, give me some William Shatner!" Strange, but I knew exactly what he meant. I needed to take it somewhere else. I needed it to build up gradually.

It was good for me to get out of my comfort zone in general because I can be pretty stubborn or set in my ways, especially when it comes to music. Colleen calls me a "No" guy which describes me to a tee. It's hard to get me to do pretty much anything whereas she's a gypsy and a free spirit and sometimes I envy that in her... sometimes.

Anyway, it was beyond exciting for me to hear this one coming through the speakers. It sounded so alive and self assured. Just being in the studio with Bob had a profound effect or influence on me. I was getting my confidence back. I didn't feel like such a loser anymore. Some people we're not too keen on the sound of this record which is fine with me. I understand and totally respect that. It's definitely the most polished album I have made to date and that's not everyone's cup of tea. Bob at one point asked me if I was worried that people might think I was "selling out" working with him, to which I responded "You can't sell out of something you never bought into in the first place." (I wish the cameras we're rolling then!) I have always tried to make hit records. I never set out to be a "cult artist" and I never set out to fail. Everything I was hearing in the studio made me feel like I was on the right track for a change. So if you're reading this Bob... you're the man.

NOWADAYS

I wrote this one around the same time as "Late Bloomer" and thought right away that it would be a good closing number.

Colleen asked me one time, "Do you feel my love, when we're apart?" I said, "Yes I do" but as usual, it's always best for me to say it in a song.

I just wanted to write about all the different ways I feel, see and even hear her love when I'm miles away. It's a good feeling when I'm out on the road, just to know that somebody is thinking of me. Not that I would want anyone to worry or miss me or anything but it's comforting. I'm not an easy person to live with and Colleen is like that Crowded House song "Four Seasons In One Day" but it works somehow.

This song has a spiritual component to it as well, where I think I'm singing about God as much as I am Colleen. Like the song "Dandelion Wine," it has one of the most naked lyrics I've ever written and on this current tour, I've noticed that people seem to really respond emotionally to it whenever I play it.

When the album was first mixed, I was out in Vancouver playing another one of Hal Wilner's Neil Young tribute concerts, this time during the Olympics. Elvis Costello was also on the bill and so he invited me over to his place for lunch and to hear the new record. So anyway, after lunch we were upstairs listening to LPLB on his stereo. We had only gotten as far the song "Heavenly" when the car arrived to take us to the concert. Elvis asked the driver if we could finish listening to it on the way to the theatre which we did, but when we got to the stage door, "Love Shines" was only halfway through so once again he asked the driver if we could just drive around the block a few more times until the CD was over.

Well we pulled up to the stage door just as "Nowadays" began and the two of us sat in the dark back seat listening to it, and though it was dark he seemed rather moved by it. All he said was "Oh, Ron."

The next day he emailed and wrote that the last song really got to him and that with this new record it seemed like I was holding my head up for the first time. I can't tell you how much it meant to hear that. He was one of the first people to champion my debut album and ever since, he's always been somebody I could go to for advice or if I was unsure about a batch of songs. So if you're reading this... thanks, E.C!!

Well, it seemed fitting as always for me to close with a ballad and just like "April After All," you'll notice I'm trying to sing it like Bing Crosby again. It was a big dream I had going into this record and I've been really encouraged by the response and the awareness for it in the world, especially in the UK.

I don't know where it sits in terms of my whole catalogue of albums but I'm proud of myself for doing it. It wasn't easy, but anything worthwhile in this life simply refuses to come any other way.