My Music – Blast from Demos Past: “The Stranger”

In the spirit of nostalgia for the days when I was actively creating music, I’m going to share an old recording of one of my songs.

It was, and remains, a demo.  Like many of the songs I write, I had the guitar part long before the lyrics.  It was awhile after the lyrics were written that the recording came about.  Each part of the writing/recording process took place during different times in my early- to mid- twenties.  To anyone who listens to it, “The Stranger” may be just another insignificant song.  To me, it’s like a photo album, drawing up memories.  I can’t believe it’s been so long.  Be a dear and humour me while I indulge myself?

To the best of my recollection, “The Stranger” was written sometime between 2002-2004 and recorded sometime between 2005-2006.  I was still living at home when I wrote the guitar part and, separately, the lyrics (and I reluctantly admit to being 24 when I moved out).  I’d been playing around with the guitar part off and on for awhile.  I wrote the lyrics in a studio my then-boyfriend and I were renting at the time, in Owen Sound’s Old Grey County Courthouse (which was then home to the Georgian Bay Folk Society office).  The Courthouse had been converted to an arts building where various musicians and artists did their thang.  One night, my ex basically forced me to sit down and write lyrics to the damn song already (my choice of wording, not his).  Later still, we joined a band with three friends.  Every week, we jammed covers and originals in a spare-bedroom-turned-jam-space in our friend’s home.  We called ourselves The Goodbye Starlings and, although we never performed publicly, we spent hours upon hours rehearsing.  It was in that room “The Stranger” was recorded on a Boss BR-8.  Would you believe it recorded to zip disks?  Zip disks!

Revisiting this song conjures up so many memories of the people and experiences that formed very meaningful impressions on my life.  I discovered Nick Drake in my late teens, and his music had an immediate and deep hold on me.  Of the songs I’ve written, his influence is most evident in “The Stranger”.  It was in the Old Courthouse studio I began songwriting and recording.  Then, The Goodbye Starlings.  After being invited to join the band, I became good friends with the boys.  I considered them like family.  When one of the guys began dating his then-girlfriend, she and I became friends – and she remains my best friend to this day.  For me, “The Stranger” is peppered with memories of discovering new-found creativity and new-found friendships.

Click the play button to give it a listen, if it so tickles your fancy.