Island Love Songs
Island Love Songs is the work of Vancouver Island singer/songwriter Rick Bateman. The twelve romantic songs on the CD flow easily between Celtic arrangements, folk ballads and soft, Latin rhythms. All of these songs are from the heart, inspired over the years from the romance and adventure of life on the islands, and each has it's own story. 'A Scottish Waltz' was conceived during a visit of Scotland's Fochaber Fiddlers to Victoria. The mountain referred to in 'Island Love Song' is Mt. Baker in Bellingham Washington. Our autumn mists are evocative of days past. 'Captain Of The Guard', part of a series of 'Castle Songs' found on this and future CD's, expresses a relationships early feelings of desire and protection. Each of these songs captures the picture of a moment in a relationship - beginnings, celebrations, and memories. Rick grew up on the west coast in the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada and began playing guitar at the age of fifteen. He learned to play and sing by teaching himself, using Gordon Lightfoot songbooks. As a result of that foundation Lightfoot would remain his most enduring musical influence. At the age of 19 he wrote his first song and went on to write many more during the following years. In his early twenties he explored the idea of becoming a performing artist but decided the travelers life was not for him and settled down in Victoria. Over the years he explored the works of North America's popular folk music artists including James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Donovan and Leonard Cohen, the rhythms of Dan Hicks, J. J. Cale and K.D. Lang and the ballads of The Eagles and Jimmy Buffet. By 2002 Rick found he was writing more songs than ever and doing some of his best work. He began performing locally again and decided to publish his first collection - Island Love Songs. Though romance is the central theme of this CD, not all of Rick's songs are romantic love songs, many have the flavor of Lightfoot's Canada, and speak of the western spirit; of children, elders, and the characters encountered on the islands. Faith 'Faith' was written after a long period of Buddhist studies and meditations, and reflections on the experiences of my life. During this time, as a poet, I struggled with the seemingly polar opposites of Buddhism's 'non-attachment' and the passion and desire of romantic love. I have since resolved my philosophies, but this song was born prior to that. It was early morning in summer, six am or so and I was standing on Willow's beach. The sun was shining, the water like glass, the islands set like jewels in the morning mist - a beautiful moment. But without my beloved to share it with, it's emptiness crushed me. In that moment I realized the human truth behind all my philosophy. The Girl With The Dancing Eyes The idea for 'The Girl With The Dancing Eyes' was taken directly from the regency romance novels of Georgette Heyer, a master of the genre and a literary descendant of Jane Austen. The phrase 'dancing eyes' suggests a sense of humor and high levels of intelligence and perception; hallmarks, along with strength of character and kindness, of a Heyer leading lady. The phrase, 'her eyes began to dance' has become a standard in romance novels of all kinds and I confess an unflagging susceptibility to it's charm. Though the idea for the song came from Heyer's novels, 'The Girl With The Dancing Eyes' is based on a very real person who embodies those same qualities. Melancholy Minstrel 'Melancholy Minstrel' is one of the 'Castle Songs' on this CD, along with 'Captain Of The Guard'. These are a group of songs written around the characters and aspects of medieval castle life. In this song, the minstrel is also a mystic, a seer, able to see things beyond the ken of ordinary men. The minstrel visits the castle and is singing directly of the Queen's secret and tragic love of a knight killed in battle, while the king thinks it is the music itself that is the cause of the queen's weariness. The minstrel is dismissed by the king but soon the queen follows him out, drawn by his music. From the parapets she voices her truth. Island Love Song She took the ferry over from Bellingham Washington one weekend, to visit Victoria as a tourist. We met on the Inner Harbour causeway. We were young, we spent that weekend together, and many more afterwards. Mt. Baker came to symbolize my love for her, as the town of Bellingham lies in it's shadow. From here on the island I would often gaze across at the mountain and think of my distant love and how good it would be to hold her again. So In Love So In Love was written when I was madly in love, when I could think of nothing else. She was elusive, would never commit to anything, yet when we were together it was as if we would never part. This drove me crazy - a good kind of crazy! During our time together I wondered why I was so strongly attracted to her; it was one of those 'destiny', 'your the only one' things. She possessed the qualities I find most attractive in a woman; she was handsome and possessed a strong character, she was kind and had a sense of humor. She was old fashioned, and understood the value of charm and grace. Those are all good reasons for a man to fall in love with a woman. But the truth of being in love is not found in reason, it is found only in the heart, where love speaks it's own mysterious but unmistakable language. The Kind of Man I Am 'The Kind of Man I Am' reflects an attempt to describe not only what the experience of being a 'romantic' person is like but also how the we view the world. Google gives some great summaries of what the term romantic means. I have focused in this CD on romantic love, but the romantic person perceives and experiences the entire world in a particular way. It is not only about desire, but also about seeing the world as exquisitely precious, retaining a sense of childlike wonder, and maintaining a profound gratitude and appreciation for each days blessings. As a poet, it is necessary for me to surrender to the siren call of romance. As a man it envelopes me in a world of extreme highs and lows suffuse with spiritual meaning. As a lover, it gives rise to both a sense of the sacred and a connection to ancient passions. I wrote this for someone some years ago now. She was Irish, with raven hair, very beautiful. I remember snuggling with her on the beach on a summers evening. I like to think she may read this, and remember too. Afterglow It seems more and more of us are caught up in the hurry of modern life, besieged by a thousand demands. Our times of peace and quite and contentment have become so rare that whole years go by without us looking up from our efforts. Many of us are harried, dancing as fast as we can, yet finding little satisfaction in all the busy-ness so that some part of us begins to ask just what the point of it all is anyway. I wrote this song for a friend of mine going through just such a time. Her life was twelve hour days, seven days a week of work, renovations, administrivia, relationship issues, and obligations. As someone who loves fine art, particularly classic paintings by American and European artists, I have always wondered why no one has painted that most blissful of moments: the few seconds lovers lie tangled together after lovemaking. Crisp white sheets, skintones and limbs crying out for an artist - yet though I have reviewed thousands of fine art paintings, I have never seen one that captures this tender and beautiful but fleeting moment of peace and utter contentment. I tried to bring my sense of this moment, and a spectrum of other restful, carefree and pleasant images to this song, and arrange them as a kind of lullaby for my friend. Captain Of The Guard 'Captain Of The Guard' is one of the 'Castle Songs' on this music CD, along with 'Melancholy Minstrel'. These are a group of songs written around the characters and aspects of medieval castle life. The theme for this particular song is inspired by the series of novels, 'A Dream Of Eagles' by Jack Whyte, a Canadian author. This fictional series chronicles the history of England during the dark ages, from the time of the departure of the Roman Legions, and proposes a new and convincing thesis that in the Roman populace left behind lay the seeds that would give birth to the legend of King Arthur. The inspirational characters and settings found in these books provided me with a lyrical theme to express the strong feelings of protectiveness and desire that arise and endure in a man for his love. We want to please, to protect, and we struggle with our passion to declare our love. As always, the song was inspired by someone special in my own life, someone for whom in my heart I stood as Captain Of The Guard. A Scottish Waltz A Scottish Waltz came to me while listening the Scotland's Fochaber Fiddlers, a group of about twenty students from the town of Fochaber that was playing at the Victoria Folk Music Society weekly get together. They were playing a lovely instrumental waltz and I allowed my imagination to take me where it would. In my minds eye I found myself in the small wooden church of a little harbour town. I had been happily married here but she was gone now. As I stood listening to the music I remembered one of our last moments together, dancing to this particular waltz. It was a long time ago. Thinking Of Your Love 'Thinking Of Your Love' speaks again of the mystery and yet simplicity of love. Living on an island, beaches and rocky coasts play a large part in our lives. Watching my footprints wash away in the tide has always been for me an eloquent statement of the temporary and fleeting nature of life. As Omar Khayyam says in his Rubaiyat, 'Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring Your Winter garment of Repentance fling: The Bird of Time has but a little way To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing'. Too our few winter days here on Vancouver Island remind us as we head in from the cold that someone waiting for us, someone to share our little world with, is what in our secret inner lives, we most wish for. What Is It That You Do? Some years ago when I was playing occasionally in local coffee houses around Victoria I noticed a woman who caught my interest. I have always been attracted to strength of character. Kate Hepburn for example. Now my mystery woman was a character that intrigued me; my age she walked with a cane and had a patch on one eye, yet she was still an attractive woman and she had plenty of style. Those days Pagliaci's Restaurant was hip, I had performed there and she was a regular. I sat there and penned this song for her. I never did meet her. We Are Made For Love Those of you who have read my book 'The Choice' will know I base my philosophical and spiritual beliefs on what I consider to be a scientific point of view. Though I may soar with the angels at times and revel with the mystics, I believe all the magic and wonder we behold and experience is based on physical realities; the way the universe is made and the way we are made. We suffer the illusion that we are separate from nature, separate from the earth itself. It is only a trick caused by the effects of scale and perspective. We are in fact no more separate from the earth than is a wave separate from the ocean. We are the stuff stars are made of, as are the rocks, the trees, the rain. Yet somehow it has given birth to the infinite wonders our world and sky contains. This can only be if the very stuff the universe is made of is made not only of matter/energy, but if it contains the seed of every other thing, including love. Our chemistry, our biology, the human animal that we are, these all give rise to our even most sacred and profound thoughts and feelings. From the life force that gave rise to us, to every expression of relationships we know, there is truly one aspect that sources and transcends all the others; love.