notes

Facing the inevitable isn’t comfortable- I’m stating the obvious, written down here as calm words.

But- accurately describing the maelstrom of emotions that comes with being powerless; helpless in the face of certain defeat; oscillating between savage rage & denial…and the certainty profound defeat in the face of overwhelming odds….isn’t easy.. Directionless anger combined with profound and unwelcome perspective- applied sharply- that’s even harder.

That’s before the fact of the grief that must be faced.

Afterwards, there are mountains to climb- and lift and move, if the psyche is to survive. Here is that process, condensed into words and angular frequencies. Neil Peart’s book about his own grief journey (“Ghost Rider”) details far better than I can the odd balance between entirely too much emotion…and the dry absence of it.

I’ve written heavier songs in years past…but songs of anger, written in youth seem now to be wide-angled. Righteous anger, emoted well, can be distilled down to a white-hot, actinic point, then understood, processed and emoted…and transformed into music”.

However. That was all in the future- back in 2017, when I’d reached out to Bob with a “you up for it mate?”, we’d met up at our old Sussex studio hangout (Harvey Summer’s excellent Broadoak Studios, with an amazing vintage Trident desk and a great comfortable atmosphere). I wasn’t sure the old musical interplay would still be there (for one thing, Bob was playing at least 2 gigs a week- I hadn’t played with anyone else since a folk-night in Moretonhampstead in 2012) and for another I wasn’t- then- sure that there were enough good ideas. However- everything has to start somewhere.

...setting up at Broadoak...
…setting up at Broadoak…
photo ©2017 niall parker

I’d taken with me the main riffs of what was to become “Lifting Mountains” and “The Empty Quarter”. I needn’t have worried- minutes into playing for the first time together since 2009 it was all there- and we managed an instrumental take of “Lifting Mountains” which Harv had captured exceptionally well- and which I was able to round out with vocals, bass and keys once I got back to Devon.

Of the newer songs, it was the first to emerge, and set a great direction of travel.

lyrics

So here we sit
Back to back
Hold tight to perseverance
Grip the cliff-face tight

I’m carrying the weight
Lifting mountains with bare hands

There’s a delicacy here
Holding tight to small things
Feeling the way in the high winds

I’m carrying the weight
Lifting mountains with bare hands
Lifting mountains with bare hands
Lifting mountains…

There are secret muscles
That no one knows about
Keep us safe
When the call comes
I’m carrying the weight

Lifting mountains with bare hands
Lifting mountains with bare hands
Lifting mountains…

Driven not by choice
Drive by survival
Crystalline and pure
Wind in the pine trees


Broadoak's vintage Trident desk
…Broadoak’s vintage Trident desk…
photo ©2017 niall parker

credits

from the album Red, released March 8, 2020
Music & Lyrics by Niall Parker

Vocals: Niall Parker
Guitars, bass & Prophet 8: Niall Parker
Drums: Bob Shoesmith


...the view from the throne...
…the view from the throne…
photo ©2017 niall parker

equipment

Guitars: Gus Firebird, Tokai Firebird I
Bass: Musicman Stingray
Synths: Sequential Prophet8 rev2
Drums: Ludwig Amber Vistalite Bonham reissue with Paiste cymbals