“This old tree reminds me of,
A love we used to share.
You had to go,
I know that now...”
Ah, Candace… Honestly, probably my favourite song off the Haunted Cowboy Sounds album, that’s why I wanted to include it as an early release in the pre-order on Bandcamp. There’s a lot of layers to the story behind this one, so let’s jump right into it!
As I wrote in my last blog post, about how dreams have inspired a few songs, I believe that Candace marks the first time I have been inspired by art. And not just any art piece - it was a painting by the incredibly talented, British-based artist, Dawn Rodger. (More on that Rodger connection later!)
I had been looking out my window at one of the larger trees on our property this past Summer, and the line “This old tree reminds me of…” popped into my head. That was it - just the one line. Didn’t know yet what it reminded me of, but I made a note of it, so that it would not be forgotten and could get worked into a song at some point.
It was probably about a day or two later that I saw this post (pictured below with permission) on Dawn’s Instagram page, showcasing “One More Moondance”, one of her latest fantastic creations:
I have been a fan of Dawn’s work for quite some time (See more of here work here). We found each other on Instagram through a shared connection - her brother Andrew. (Yes, Andrew Rodger - told ya there were a lot of layers to this story!)
So, a day or so after having the “old tree” line come into my head, I see this painting in her Instagram post and the wheels really start to turn…
In the caption of her post, Dawn wrote:
“I have often painted the two trees that stood together like an old married couple in the next door field. There was a harmony in the way their forms were shaped by the presence of each other. Sadly, one tree was blown down in a recent storm. So the other presides over the landscape alone.”
Dawn and I exchanged several messages after I commented on her post, and she shared a few more details of the story behind the “two trees”. I kind of feel like that’s too personal to her family to share here, but I must say that it touched my heart very deeply.
After our exchange, the first verse was written:
This old tree reminds me of
A love that we used to share
You had to go
I know that now
You’ll find out where
You’ll find out where
At this point in my album project, She Came with the Rain had been written and recorded, as well as one of the instrumentals, Colorado Song. But, I still didn’t know where this was all headed… That was about to change.
There is a song in my old songbook, from 1999, called Thoughts of Walking. It was never recorded and rarely (if ever) played live. It was written after a VERY difficult breakup and was about remaining in a city after the woman I loved (at the time) had moved away. Walking the same familiar paths, doing the same familiar things, but doing it all alone.
It felt like many of these places were haunting me. Or, the memories from these places were haunting me. On one particular walk on a familiar trail, I heard a mom calling to her daughter… “Candace. Candace. It’s time to come in.”
One of the main chorus lines in Thoughts of Walking became, “Candace, your Mom is calling. Candace your Mom is calling.”
Even though I liked that song, it is unlikely I will ever record it. But, the emotions of that song (and a few of the lines) flowed out into the rest of the song inspired by Dawn’s painting.
As soon as I changed the line to “Candace I hear you calling” and added some haunted cowboy sounds - the song and the entire album took off onto the path it needed to be on. I was telling friends when I started the project that even though Haunted Cowboy Sounds had nothing to do with a cowboy (lol!), the narrator of the album needed something to haunt him - this was it...
Memories of Candace led to the highs and lows of his life. Which also proved very therapeutic for me personally as I worked on the album. I unpacked some emotional baggage I had been carrying around for far too long. For me (and hopefully you too once you hear the whole album), there is a progression from the start of the album to the end. A journey from being haunted by the past, to being ok with the past.
So, that’s the story behind track 2 on the Haunted Cowboy Sounds album, Candace. Here is a little preview video I made for Candace:
Now, if you’re still with me here, let’s tell the bonus story about Andrew Rodger, Andrew Rodger and Dawn Rodger…
This may be more interesting to my Rodger family members that read this, but I do want to share because it is quite a unique, modern-day tale.
It was several years ago, when I had a new follower on Twitter. His username was 35mmDoP, which intrigued me, so I went to his main page to see if I should follow back. To my surprise, his name was Andrew Rodger! I sent along a quick message to the British Andrew Rodger from the Canadian Andrew Rodger, and over the years a friendship was forged across the Atlantic Ocean.
Andrew is an extremely talented Cinematographer that has worked in Film, TV Drama and many other television and commercial projects. His latest work, Three Day Millionaire, hits the big screen on November 25th. Andrew is also a talented musician as well, performing with his band When the Wolf Comes Home and several other musical projects.
We have also pieced together a bit of our shared history - our families came from the same part of Scotland many, many years ago. There must be a shared relative in there somewhere, way back on our family tree. But for me, it’s very cool that Andrew Rodger, Andrew Rodger, and Dawn Rodger, could all connect through this online world we’re living in and create a friendship, as well as inspire each other to create.
Hmmm… Now that I think about it, maybe I should be asking Andrew to make a music video for Candace… ;)
You can pre-order Haunted Cowboy Sounds now, and the full album arrives on Bandcamp on November 13th.
It hits Spotify and the streaming services on November 14th. Stay tuned here for more news about the album and some special online events.
There will also be a few surprises along the way!
See ya next time…