The man behind Chaos Curb and Bosh, Dave Griffiths, writes this guest blog for LTTM taking us through each song on his new solo album, 'The Way Through The Land'.
This EP is a collection of songs with a connecting theme. They are either about the land through which I travel as a working musician, or written on the road. Here's a short explanation for each of the seven songs…
01. The Land
This tune originated as one of the last songs I worked on in BOSH with my brother, Mike (drummer). We had been on this fantastic journey from when we were really young with BOSH, and the time was coming to stop. The guitar riff in the middle is a riff Mike wrote, which I altered to fit the song. The lyric references the vision Ezekiel saw of a valley of bones, and the four winds of the spirit raising them up to be an army. It's a cry from the heart for England, and feeling uncertain about our spiritual future.
02. Heading West
From 2004-2010 BOSH gigged a lot in the West Country. We got to know a lot of other bands that way, like brother john and the Risen Records gang. This song is about travelling out of Bournemouth on the A35 or A37 on the way to Somerset, Devon or Cornwall to play a gig with our friends. I miss those precious times. Sadly, the scene just isn't like that any more. I still play a lot in those areas in the bars and pubs, the violin is by Mark Wood who was in brother john.
I remember thinking of the lyric when driving around Wiltshire. It's a song directly linked to a town called Westbury, where my parents grew up, my grandparents live and where I have spent so many happy days. I fell in love with a girl there myself - which didn't work out - and so eventually it became a place of heartache too. It's about how God has been with me through everything, the highs and the lows. (I'm happy it didn't work out, as I found someone right for me a year later).
04. Bridport Dagger
I was playing in Bridport one night when a young lady made it clear she had designs on me. It was a stifling, difficult situation which felt like I was being spiritually strangled. I had no idea how to handle it. I was reading about Bridport and discovered they used to hang people in London with rope made in the town. If you were hanged at Tyburn, it was said you were 'Stabbed with the Bridport Dagger'. So, neatly, a strangling situation in Bridport led to this furious burst of thrashing guitars and mad drums. Clocking in a 1.54, it's pretty to the point - but I strongly believe in being concise in music!
05. Standing in the Presence
This song was actually written in the same bar in Bridport. I was there early and went to the upstairs bar to warm up. I am a huge Van Morrison fan, and the vibe on this track is down to an influence from albums like 'Into the Music'. The 'Oh Yes' way of opening the lines just came out so pleasingly as I sang it - it felt like I was really connecting with the Lord in that place. It was really singing affirmation of what I believe, at a time when I didn't really 'feel it' if I'm honest. Music is powerful like that isn't it? It can speak to the soul and tell it what's what!
06. Draw Another Line
A little while ago I discovered the music of Foy Vance. Although Van Morrison, U2 and Eric Bibb are favourites of mine who bring together earthiness and honest spirituality, I'd not ever had the itch scratched as satisfyingly as when I got into Foy's music. The spiritual awareness and insight in his lyrics, mixed with his deeply soulful voice and songwriting just blew me away. Draw Another Line is the only song I've written so far that I feel begins to tap into those qualities. It's a song of weariness meeting refreshing - the handing over of heaviness in return for grace. It hurts to perform it, it's so deeply personal. For me, it's probably the best song I've ever written because of that. I wrote it coming back home from a month of really heavy gigging, and feeling so grubby from being 'in the world' and trying not to be 'of it'.
07. Feels Like Summer
A question I'm often faced with is; 'How do I explain what I believe to people outside of church culture'? Being in pubs and bars as often as I am, I've got to know a lot of amazing people. I so want to share what I believe with them, but often struggle with un-tangling Christian lingo to explain it. So, take the return of Christ for example. Well, I think this song carries some images and emotions that help me unpack what I believe. I don't just accept what Jesus taught about his return 'because the Bible says it'; I feel it deeply. It feels good, it feels hopeful, it feels beautiful - the expectation I have for the coming age is one that feels like a summers evening, the light of Jesus bathing everything in gold, and making all things come alive into a stunning beauty. The transcendent beauty of a drive home on a sunny summers evening through the New Forest gave rise to this feeling - pointing forward to that day when he returns in glory.
So, there's my EP. Hopefully now you've understood the background to these seven songs, you can enjoy them all the more!
See also: LTTM interview with Dave Griffiths