September Answers To Your Questions, Part IV
10/4/2010 (updated 1/3/2011)

Congratulations on the release of "Dream Attic".

After repeated play, there are many songs I am growing to love and I really enjoy the traditional music with Joel Zifkin's violin added to the mix. To my amateur's ears, this work sounds, in large part, to be a continuation of your compositional approach to "Cabaret of Souls". Very often, I hear melodic lines and harmonic structures that seemingly resonate between the two bodies of work. No more does this seem the case than in "Crimescene" (apart from the lyrics). Is this, in fact true? And, are there operatic motifs (if there is such a thing) used in both works?

I am the same writer of the 2 pieces, so things overlap a bit, but I see no connection between the works. There are operatic influences in Cabaret Of Souls, certainly.

As someone who has a deep appreciation for your commitment to spiritual and artistic development, I find myself challenged to understand how such piercingly honest work like "Stumble On" and "When Love Whispers Your Name" appear along side "Here Comes Geordie" with its revulsion for "Schpung!". The choice to record "HCG"'s creative development is unclear to me. As a man gifted with keen emotional sensibilities and as a person who has worked diligently to leave childish ways to children, how do you understand the place of a "Here Comes Geordie" in your work?

"Here Comes Geordie" is also an honest work - it's an honest satire, and there's nothing childish about satire. You assume it's about a particular person - if it were a traditional song from the 18th century and you stumbled across it, would it be a better song?

Does "Stumble On" refer more to "The Beloved" than a romantic lover?

That's up to you.

I recognize guitar and drum work passages in "Sydney Wells" making reference to Hendrix's "Manic Depression". The lyrics, however, don't suggest that Wells is anything more than a narcissistic sociopath, whereas in "Sweet Warrior's Bad Monkey" the frustration of having to cope with someone who is bi-polar (or at the least, someone who suffers from mood swings) is evident. Why the "Manic Depressive" reference in "Sydney Wells"?

I would say that "Manic Depression" which is in 3/4 time, isn't really about clinical manic depression, but just Jimi having a bit of a bad day. "Sidney Wells" is a slip jig (9/8 time), and references Scots/Irish traditions and maybe Fairport, which is really just referencing bits of myself anyway.

In the "Sydney Wells" story line, Sydney throws off Cheryl's clothes to watch her shiver in the cold - woods. Next he is picking up her stocking from the floor - without a transition from outdoors to indoors - it feels abrupt (I know.... imagine how Cheryl felt).

Forests have floors too, hence the expression, "the forest floor".

Looking forward to the appearance at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Best Regards, Bruce Young, Santa Cruz

Me too.

Firstly, any chance that we will ever see Messrs. Gregson & Collister in the RT roadshow again?

I don't know what Clive's doing. I do the odd thing with Christine, who remains the UK's most underrated chanteuse.

Second, why is it that the Japanese album releases often include extra tracks that are not included on the US or European releases. Example the Japanese release of 'Kit Bag' has 16 tracks - the US/UK releases had 14.

For decades, the Japanese companies have asked for bonus tracks - I think to stop people buying imports. This didn't happen with DA, so maybe those days are over.

See you in Cambridge in the new year. Thanks. Steve, Suffolk, UK

See you there.