BRUCE’S EXCELLENT NEW ALBUM, NO FINAL DESTINATION WAS RELEASED AT THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER, HIS FIRST ON RIDGE RECORDS. THE DANISH RELEASE IS BEING HANDLED BY RECART MUSIC AND FOR GERMANY THE ALBUM IS RELEASED ON THE BIG LAKE LABEL. A MUSICAL DEPARTURE FROM HIS PREVIOUS RELEASE, THIS ALBUM SITS MORE EASILY ALONGSIDE HIS RUNRIG WORK AND SHOULD HOPEFULLY BE VERY WARMLY RECEIVED BY HIS EVER-GROWING SUPPORT. IN THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE, BRUCE TALKS US THROUGH SOME OF THE BACKGROUND DETAILS THAT SHAPED THE NEW ALBUM.
The eleventh hour is upon me and final touches are being applied to a new baby I’m about to introduce to the world. It’s always difficult to let something go that you know will be forever – is the snare loud enough; should I double that chorus; do I believe that vocal delivery? At this stage you answer the question in your mind, stand behind your decision, press the button and out pops No Final Destination.
I guess the title reflects where my head has been for the last number of years. Constant travel, balancing Runrig and Solo Careers, balancing professional and family life, looking inward for the right songs, the right direction, the next open door, and at the end of the day, still not really sure where it will all land.
Music is an amazing animal, one of the coolest ways I’ve heard it described was as a polar opposite to the universe. Astronomy is seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects. Music on the other hand, is seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and helping us figure out where they belong. So if the theory holds true, who knows, you may very well take the next step towards knowing who you are, and where we’re headed by listening to an album called, No Final Destination. Irony… I love it!
Funny thing is it doesn’t seem all that long ago I was writing the songs for NFD. One of the most exciting things about that process was that this time, instead of writing the entire record myself, which I was more accustomed to doing, I wrote four songs with my son Dylan. I’d be doing something around the house and hear a catchy little guitar riff he’d be playing and say, ‘‘mmmm, don’t go too far with that Dyl, I just might have a home for it.’’ It was great to draw from his young spirit and fresh approach to writing. His guitar chops far exceed mine and I expect we’ll write a lot more together down the road.
Once I had the songs compiled for the record I had two big decisions to make.
1) Co-producer: I’ve never used the same co-producer twice but the journey through Beautiful Life was a pretty easy run so going with Kristian (aka Runrig’s live soundman/producer) Gislason again was a no-brainer.
2) Studio: Gordie Sampson is a Grammy-winning Cape Bretoner, who is well plugged in to some of Nashville’s finest players and understood the style of record I wanted to do. He is an old friend I trusted to hook me up down there. Two down. Recording in Nashville was a blast, the players were amazing but they get locked and pressured into a fairly standard style of playing. It’s what the big producers want; it’s what the big labels want. Well, let’s change all that shall we ….. There is nothing more exciting than setting a creative musical mind free to do what it hears… that’s exactly what we did and the results were more than rewarding. The players knew I wasn’t looking for a country record and were more than happy to oblige with interesting grooves, unique guitar sounds and cool bass lines.
We recorded at Sound Emporium in the same room where Alison Krauss and Robert Plant recorded their hit record Raising Sand. Everything ran fairly tight with a good energy in the room. Five days later we had all the bed tracks and a healthy array of guitar overdubs.
I didn’t have a whole lot of voice left by the time I hit the plane for home. Arranging the songs and singing guides for the tracks for a solid week nearly did me in, so vocals would have to be done at another time. Now the way I look at it, if I’m going to have to pay to record the vocals somewhere, why not escape the long, cold Canadian winter and do them somewhere warm and musical, like in Jimmie Buffet land. Key Largo here we come!
Kristian and I landed in mid February, minus 20 degrees in Nova Scotia, t-shirt and shorts in Florida. Kind of made me feel like singing, and sing I did. For two solid weeks I did vocals all day and night, taking the odd break for a cold one by the pool, a bike ride, or to watch a sunset… in no particular order. We cooked our own food and I soon found out my culinary skills were well matched by my Danish friend. My studio vocal booth was a bedroom closet with bed sheets hanging to baffle the sound.
We had cables running everywhere and Kristian used the kitchen table for his work station so we ate most meals off our laps… BUT… it was warm, the sun was shining, the spirits were high and I felt like singing… mission accomplished!
We lived with the tracks for some time, tweaking here and there, adding harmonies and extra colours where they were needed, consistently getting one step closer to that place where you’re ready to let it go and here we are.
On Sept 7th 2009 No Final Destination will be my first recording released on Ridge Records. It will be my 5th record to date and will finally have a life of it’s own in this massive ocean of music we live in. It is unlike anything I’ve done before, yet similar to all my previous music. It was a joy to make and I hope it reflects that when you hear it. In the liner notes of the CD package I write what I think sums up my feelings towards you, the fans, and my band mates in Runrig. I leave you with this:
The journey travelled in the making of a record is not unlike that of life itself. There are unexpected turns, moments of chaos and calmness, brilliance and disappointment. It is essential to listen, and to be listened to, to give of your spirit, and to draw from the spirit of others. I have been blessed through my musical career and my life's journey to be surrounded by strong people to lean on. Thank you all for listening, for giving of yourselves, and for helping me do what I love to do... make music.