the story behind: “it gets a little lonely”

Downtown Cobourg there’s a big, historic building called Victoria Hall that serves as a theatre, art gallery, museum, and county court. When I visited Cobourg I took a lot of pictures of it, circling it, crossing the street a few times to get close-ups and panoramic shots. My idiocy attracted the attention of an older gentleman who was heading into his favourite cafe (The Buttermilk Cafe). He asked me why I was photographing an old building, but before I could really explain he launched into a soliloquy about preservation, history, and the “differences between old buildings and old people.” He gave me the chorus for this song – he said, “Old buildings they either get torn down or built back up. But old people, well, we just get a little lonely as we watch our friends pass away.” So I tried to capture those ideas in this song: the things you keep and the things you lose, and what it means at the end of the day.

We had a really nice conversation in The Buttermilk Cafe. My intention for a “song inspired by Cobourg” was to work in the history and the sense of the place, but sometimes you get pulled away from your original intention by something that is more interesting to you. In this case, something perhaps a bit more quotidian and commonplace — a simple conversation between two people getting to know each other. But I do like the concept of trying to distill some worldly wisdom into some song lyrics.

When it came to the music I sort of started this song twice, and wrote the verses for two completely different songs but then couldn’t figure out a good chorus for either one. So, as you do, I shoehorned the verses together and made one of them a chorus. Why not, right? Once again I made an off-kilter decision about the timing of the verse: it is a bar of 4 and a bar of 2. It straightens out in the chorus, but I realize that it is the opposite structure to “Come Round Again” which is straight 4/4 in the verse and then has cut bars (that is, bars of half-length) in the chorus. Maybe something about that just inherently appeals to me? I was probably too heavily influenced by Sting’s album “Ten Summoner’s Tales” and the song about the seven brothers which is in 7/4 time; which also features lyrics about the days of the week (seven!).

We also knew we wanted to end the album with something that felt epic but personal, so what better way to do that then have a many multi-layered singalong outro? I don’t know if we will ever try to recreate that outro live…maybe someday. It was one of those things that, in rehearsal, I would have to say, “Trust me, this is where it will go kind of crazy.” Sometimes it’s not until you get into the studio and lay it all down, layer by layer, that you can really hear what it is that you thought you’d hear.

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