Hear Comes the Day: CD notes

Heather Innes: vocals, bodhrán
Phil Hare: guitar on tracks 3, 7 & 11
Stuart Duncan: keyboards, bass, vocal harmony
Gillian Duncan: vocal harmony
Jacynth Hamill: vocal harmony
Pauline Vallance: harp, flute, vocal harmony
Derek Richardson: bouzouki, mandolin, pipes, guitar
Brian Hughes: guitar
Kate Kramer: violin, electric fiddle

Produced by Stuart Duncan, Kate Kramer & Heather Innes

Cover Photography (Sunrise on the Cuillin of Skye): Marcus McAdam. www.marcusmcadam.com

Bitzy’s humans (and photo): Fin & Rosemary Currie

Inspired by Ben Sand’s song “Here Comes The Day” on his album “Troubadour”, I decided it was time after 18 years of recording Caim albums for me to record a solo CD – the first one since 1994!

Thank you to Brian Hughes (and Megan & Liz), Ciaran Dorris and Kate Kramer for your friendship, time in the studio and for listening to the early stages of the recording process and giving much appreciated advice on the song arrangements.

Special thanks to Phil Hare for his amazing (as always) guitar arrangements on “Rainbow Days and Firework Nights”, Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore” and “Rannoch”. Thank you too to Derek Richardson and to my loyal friends in Caim, Jacynth Hamill and Pauline Vallance, for adding their music to complete the album. And of course thank you to Stuart and Gillian Duncan at Red Barn Studios for their patience, skill and support for this project.

It’s taken nearly two years to complete “Here Comes the Day” but I’m happy with the final result – I hope you think it was worth the wait!

HERE COMES THE DAY (words & music Ben Sands © 2015)

Here comes the day, a day like no other
A moment in time, a trick of the light
A line from a play that goes on forever
We each have a part and we hope it’s alright on the night

Here comes the sun – so good to see you!
Chasing the clouds, warming the ground
And now that you’ve come, there’s hope on the menu
We’ll do what we can to spread your light around
Some days it’s hard to keep smiling
Some days it’s hard to stand tall
But yesterday’s troubles are fading
New light shines down on us all.

And look at the flower, blooming in splendour
Being the best flower it can be
Showing the world the most it can offer
The rose, the dandelion, you and me
Oh what a mighty adventure
Comes every day with the dawn
Nobody knows what the day brings
We just know too soon it will be gone.

Repeat 1

We each have a part and we hope it’s alright on the night.

I was given Ben’s CD “Troubadour” as a Christmas present in 2015 and was inspired to record this album – my first solo CD since 1994 – on listening to his songs – especially the positive lyrics in “Here Comes The Day” which I’ve made the title track. Singing the lyrics of “Here comes the Day” in my head is a great way to wake up in the morning!

WHERE ARE YOU TONIGHT (Andy M Stewart)

Chorus:
Where are you tonight I wonder
And where will you be tonight when I cry?
Will sleep for you come easy,
Though I alone can’t slumber
Will you welcome in the morning
At another man’s side?

How easy for you the years slipped under
And left me a shadow the sun can’t dispel
I built for you a tower of love and admiration
But I set you so high I could not reach myself.

I look through my window at a world filled with strangers
The face in my mirror is the one face I know
You have taken all that’s in me, so my heart is in no danger
My heart is in no danger, but I’d still like to know

If there is a silence then it can be broken
If there beats a pure heart to her I will go
And time will work its healing and the spirit will grow stronger
Ah, but in the meantime I’d still like to know.
Where are you tonight? …

I recorded this song on my first ever album “All is Fair in Love and War” in 1989. When Andy M Stewart died at the end of 2015, journalist and friend John O Regan suggested I record it again – so here it is. I loved singing this again with Stuart’s sensitive piano backing & a touch of pipes from Derek Richardson.

PADDY’S GREEN SHAMROCK SHORE (Trad.)

From Derry quay we sailed away on the twenty-third of May
We were taken on board by a pleasant crew, bound for Amerikay
Fresh water then we did take on, five thousand gallons or more
In case we’d run short going to New York far away from the shamrock shore.

Then fare thee well, sweet Liza dear and likewise unto Derry town
And twice farewell to my comrades brave that dwell on that sainted ground
If fame or fortune shall favour me, and I to have money in store
I’ll go back and I’ll wed the wee lassie I left on Paddy’s green shamrock shore.

At twelve o’clock we came in sight of famous Mullin Head
And Innistrochlin to the right stood out on the ocean’s bed.
A grander sight ne’er met my eyes than e’er I saw before
Than the sun going down ‘twixt sea and sky far away from the shamrock shore.

We sailed three weeks, we were all seasick, not a man on board was free
We were all confined unto our bunks and no-one to pity poor me.
No father kind nor mother dear to lift up my head, which was sore
Which made me think more on the lassie I left on Paddy’s green shamrock shore.

We safely reached the other side after fifteen and twenty days,
We were taken as passengers by a man and led round in six different ways,
Then each of us drank a parting glass, in case we’d meet no more
And we drank a health to old Ireland and Paddy’s green shamrock shore.

By a miracle of timing I reconnected with a friend after thirty years at a recent folk festival. Pádraig always sang this song in sessions and that is how I recognised him again! So – I decided to record a slightly more traditional version for you Pádraig.

CHAIN OF SONG (Martin Simon Donnelly)

I’m not too old to dance or too young to die
On these broken wings I’ve even learned to fly
As November moans round the empty floor
Of this windmill ruin outside my door.

Chorus:
Where the blackbird sings in the early morn
Between the Holy night and the Golden dawn
In a chain of song that runs deep and wide
Through the mists of time to the other side.

When I was young I knew everything
With a certainty only youth can bring
After sixty years absolutes are gone
And the certainties take a different form

I’ve never known fame or wealth
And at times I’ve been a stranger to myself
Somethings have changed and some remain
But so many things will never be the same

So take to the floor while you have the chance
While the music plays you can dance your dance
Sometimes the fool is the wisest one
Sometimes it takes the old to be truly young.

I first heard Martin sing this song among others in his concert at Fiddlers Green Festival, Rostrevor in 2016 and rushed out to the nearest cash machine to withdraw enough money to buy all his CDs ( well 3 of them!). After living with the wise words in this song on my car stereo ever since I just had to try singing it myself.

SACRED GROUND (Kieran Goss/Kimmie Rhodes. Pub. IMRO/MCPS/Dancing Feet Music)

Night drifted in from a world of fire
Covered the dark in a veil of stars
And everything went silent with the sound.
Heaven’s turning standing still
Right now, you might not know it, but you will
We’re standing on sacred ground.

Chorus:
Sacred ground, sacred ground
Now we’ve got our feet on sacred ground
Where life’s treasures all are found
Lay me down beneath this sacred ground.

Comes the wind it blows the seed
Comes the sun it grows the trees
And everything we need keeps coming round.
Could take minutes, could take years
Or it might even be right here, right now
We’re standing on sacred ground.

Chorus

Where life’s treasures all are found
Lay me down beneath this sacred ground

I went along to a Kieran Goss evening in Dunfermline last year. Kieran was in the folk music world in Northern Ireland way back when I lived there and I hadn’t heard him sing for many years but I knew it would be a great night and I was right. Subsequently I bought a couple of Kieran’s CDs and discovered this gem of a song. The title lyrics reminded me of a Christian music conference in Australia many years ago when we were told “We’re standing on sacred ground!” Thank you to Kate Kramer for suggesting the backing arrangement of drum and fiddle and adding her inspired fiddle melody.

ROAD TO RANNOCH (Poem by Margaret Gillies Brown. Used by permission from “Of Rowan And Pearl” Margaret Gillies Brown & Kenneth C Steven. Argyll Publishing. 2000)

Take the road
From Coshieville to Rannoch,
Schiehallion under cloud – in autumn,
Take wilderness and water,
Narrow winding from nowhere to nowhere.

Take colour, colour, colour,
Deepened by wet,
Rich breathing tapestry:
Artist take blending
Match it if you can –
Bracken-brown to yellow fern tip
Springing on leaves, shading to gold, orange, red
And its pure essence in rowans hanging earthward,
Miss a beat of colour – jump
To lacquer-black in elderberries.

Take pattern imposed on pattern,
Leaf shape on branch,
Branch-angle on trees
Trees against a rising patchwork
To where high-hill-ridges
Are irregular moving shapes
Against flying ragged grey.

Take contrast intricate as the universe;
Bright-limned against dark
Yet always making a whole
No falseness anywhere;
See those distant sheep,
Pale as river pearls!
Look up at the dark, dying heather
Marked by streaking silver
Like an ageing woman’s hair.

Lower, black peat pools
Hide in tawny reeds
And grey sheets of water
Watch cushions of moss
Sphagnum-green as elf-light.
Under the trees the forest carpet
Takes the colour of pheasant’s wings.

The cloud is broken,
From the gold pocket
A shaft of sunlight drops –
Glory, glory, glory . . .

I’m thrown above Schiehallion.

Thank you Margaret! So good to include one of your wonderful poems on another recording of mine.

RANNOCH (Words & Music: Heather Innes © Fellsongs)

The road to the isles ends at Rannoch
Waves splash on pebbled shore
Rannoch moor reaches far Glencoe
Leave me here for evermore

Chorus:
But my time has not come
though rainbows glow
And Schiehallion creates my dreams
My time has not come though rainbows glow
Craig Mhor beckons me to go
Craig Mhor beckons me to go

Heart of Alba, heart of universe
Legend and magic weave their spell
MacGregor’s cave watches o’er the mist
As Dunallister waters swell.

Chorus

Black wood stands dark and proud
Hiding eagle tales and song
Unscathed for two thousand years
Here I yearn to belong.

Chorus

I wrote “Rannoch” a number of years ago when Rannoch was (and still is) a favourite place of mine.

BROTHER LAWRENCE (Prior/Kemp)

There’s a rush in the kitchen, there’s monks in the hall
It’s past time for dinner, they’re silent monks all
The cook is a good man with ladle and plate
He will not be rushed in the steam and the heat
Though a simple man, he just seemed to know
As it is above, so it is below

He hums to himself all the hymns he has known
While he pulls up the leeks, they’re so carefully grown
He doesn’t like chapel bent down on his knees
Just wasting his time with these words and decrees.

He does all his work in the presence of the Lord
He is praying while salting the monks’ holy food
He fights the good fight with utensils as a sword
He is peeling potatoes to the glory of God

I’ve always loved this song sung by Maddy Prior – Brother Lawrence is my kind of Christian! Maddy’s notes on her CD “Flesh and Blood” give the background information; Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman of humble parentage in Lorraine, eastern France in about 1611. He became a monk and served as a monastery cook for thirty years. This was not a job he liked but he rose above his discontent. His method of communion was to listen. Thanks to Pauline & Jacynth in Caim for giving this the unique “Caim” treatment!

WADE IN THE WATER (Pernille & Quigg. PRS/MCPS)

See the girl with her blue jeans rolled up
Stepping into the ocean for the first time in her life
Was it as blue as you had dreamed it would be?
In a land full of fences can you ever be free?

Chorus:
Wade in the water
Wade in the water children
Wade in the water
God’s gonna trouble the water

See the guards as you cross the line
A border that has split your land in sorrow and blood
Pretending to protect they segregate and divide
But today on this beach you’re swimming side by side.

See the sun setting on the west
The mermaids call and Cinderella leaves the ball,
Was there eve a trip to the seaside
So bravely delivered in as shameful a time?

After hearing Pernille bravely sing this song in Quarter Acoustic Music Club I asked her if I could record it too. It was inspired by an article about the journalist Llana Hammerman, an Israeli woman, who smuggled Palestinian women out of the occupied territories for them to experience a day at the seaside – a day to remember for women who may never have seen the ocean before. The chorus is an old spiritual of the same name. My version of Pernille’s song is slightly different – again my favourite a capella style but with emotive fiddle backing from Kate Kramer.

MAYBE (Thom Pace – Songwriters: HARRIS, JAMES SAMUEL III/LEWIS, TERRY/GILL, JOHNNY Maybe lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group)

Deep inside the forest
Is a door into another land
Here is our life and home
We are staying, here forever
In the beauty of this place all alone
We keep on hoping

Chorus:
Maybe
There’s a world where we don’t have to run
And maybe
There’s a time we’ll call our own
Living free in harmony and majesty
Take me home
Take me home

Walking through the land
Where every living thing is beautiful
Why, does it have to end
We are calling, oh so sadly
On the whispers of the wind
As we send a dying message

Chorus

Way up in the mountains
Is a world within another world,
Peace, solitude and calm.
Here’s existence,
Far removed from woes and tragedies of life, it’s for us.
We all are praying…

Chorus

I loved watching “Grizzly Adams” on tele back in the day – wouldn’t have missed an episode! I was so sad to hear of the passing of Dan Haggerty in 2016 and wanted to record this in his memory.

RAINBOW DAYS AND FIREWORK NIGHTS (Words and music Ben Sands © 2010)

Chorus:

Gonna live my life in technicolourGonna write my name in the shining lights
Far away from the shady shadows
Rainbow days and firework nights
Rainbow days and firework nights

This big wide world
Is sometimes dull and dreary
It’s often tired and weary
And it pulls me down.
But now I see
I’m headed where I want to be
To taste a slice of heaven before the sun goes down.

Chorus

For far too long
I danced to someone else’s song
And hardly noticed all along
How time slips by
I’ll stretch my wings
Feel what flying freely brings
And live each day with passion til the sun goes down.

Chorus

I’ve a big blank page
An open road, an empty stage
I want to paint the pictures
That come to my mind
Full steam ahead
God knows we’re a long time dead
I’ll keep the wheels a turning till the sun goes down.

Chorus

Another of Ben’s songs – this time from his CD “Take My Love with You”. The lyrics of “Rainbow Days and Firework Nights” could have been describing my life! I had to sing this song!

THE RIVER (Song for Mary) (Len Wade)

I sit by the river as it flows to the sea
It sparkles and sings with a joy that is free
From the mountains it grows in the mists high above
Then passes on down with thoughts of my love.

A swan glides on by and the reeds gently wave
It’s beauty a vision, is it angel or knave?
It’s the eyes of the river, a white cloud floating by
Like the eyes of my love are the blue of the sky.

The river is warmed by the sun’s early glow
The fowl on the water, the fish down below
Are part of the river, united as one
Like the gold of her hair, and the gold of the sun.

River as you flow, tell me what do you see?
My true love and I, will we ever be free?
To join with the fowl, the fish, and the swan
To walk life together, forever as one.

All life is seen, and is then cast away
Mirrored and clear, what price must you pay
For dreams of tomorrow, that by hope have been fanned
And then lost in my waters, as I wash through the land.

I sat by the river as it flowed to the sea
And thought of the love that will now never be
From the mountains it grew, there warmed by the sun
And then sailed away in the heart of the swan
And then sailed away with the heart of the swan.

I recorded this song on my CD with Ciaran Dorris “Waiting for the Calm” to fulfil a promise I made to the late Len Wade in 1992 who wrote the beautiful lyrics and melody, ideal for an a capella singer. I’ve added it again, slightly re mixed, to this CD as I can’t imagine a solo set of mine without it!

BITZY’S GONE VIRAL (Heather Innes. Jan 2016)

Chorus:
I’m a viral cat playing in the snow
Not a feral puss I’ll have you know!
And I’m world famous!

They took my picture the other day
When most cats were ‘fraid to go out and play
Covered from my tail to my eyes
In that cold, white stuff from the sky.

I was posted on facebook that very night
“My poor Bitzy” they said,
And laughed out loud at my furry plight.
“So cute”, “So classic!” “Oh what a sight.”

Well your “poor Bitzy’s” gone viral
To cat lovers in US and Oz
But there’s one thing I want you all to know
This is NOT my first time in the snow

I’m no kitten tho I look “sweet”
I’m your Christmas card image- what a treat!
I’m nine years old and that’s a fact
With all my nine lives intact.

I’m a Viral cat playing in the snow
Not a feral puss I’ll have you know!
And I’m world famous!
Fifty likes on one page alone!

I shared a photo of my friends Fin and Rosemary’s cat “Bitzy” on facebook when Bitzy was covered from her tail to her eyes in the snow one winter and watched my friends in Australia and USA share the picture on their pages – Bitzy went viral in a way my songs never do and I thought there might be a song in there so I used all the comments on Bitzy’s post in the lyrics. I have my music partner and friend Ciaran Dorris to thank for the play on the words viral and feral!

WINTER BY THE SEA  (Lyrics: Heather Innes 2016. Music: Heather Innes & Pauline Vallance)

Chorus:
Watching the ocean
Tears flow
As I listen to gentle songs
On my car stereo

Lone man paces slowly along the shore line
Only he knows what he’s searching for
The sun arrives and the scene is transformed by light
Grey and silver water turned bright white

Chorus

Through my open window waves give backing to the songs
Two dogs chase seagulls into the light
Couples pass by their faces red with cold
Seabird cries aloud in its plight

Chorus

Time to go home now but I’ll return another day
Seeking the peace of this deserted shore
Summer crowds this beach but that’s not for me
I love winter by the sea.

Chorus

The deserted sea shore in winter is a favourite place for me so I decided to observe and write what I saw whilst sitting by the open sea one winter’s afternoon in Ayr, Scotland. After a bit of persuasion the prose became a song and Pauline Vallance added the finishing touches to the melody.

LIVING IN WALTZ TIME (Colin Pitts MCPS/PRS)

You woke up this morning, cursing the clock
You said how you wished things could change
You’d like to go back to how it was then
But these things you can’t re-arrange
You can only turn the next page – and try

Chorus:
Living in waltz time dancing close together
Living in waltz time the band plays the tune
Living in waltz time like birds of a feather
Living in waltz time by the light of the moon

There’s a man I know keeps drilling the wall
Eight hundred holes and still counting
If he keeps going the house will surely fall
And rain will pour in like a fountain
Maybe he could drill through a mountain – He could try

Chorus

There are those who have to reach the top of the ladder
While some must stay on the ground
Most of us are happy to get half way up
Which is not the same as half way down
Just wait for the tune to come around and try

Chorus

Sometimes I try not to read all the news
And some days I’m not so sure
Prices go up while money goes down
But at least we can still close the door
And put our best foot to the floor – and try

Chorus x 2

Living in waltz time by the light of the moon.

Colin saw on facebook that I was recording this CD and immediately messaged me to see if I needed a song or two from him. I recorded Colin’s songs on two previous albums and am delighted to carry on the tradition with this one which brings back memories of my father teaching me to waltz when I was young. As Colin says on his own recording of “Living in Waltz Time” – you can see more when you travel a bit slower.

BEFORE THE DREAMTIME (Lorna Davies)

Flickering firelight plays on the peaceful dreamy faces
Wisps of smoke drift lazily upwards
Low murmuring is heard from unseen forms deep in the outer shadows

The young woman speaks
She tells a tale of two wolves
The good and the evil
Struggling for supremacy
The others listen with rapt attention
Watching her animated face and her graceful movements

And then another speaks
She steps from the shadows into the firelight
And in clear measured tone
Entrances all with wise words and warnings
About choices we all must make

Then a hush descends