The Seagull Song

The evolution of a song. This started off two years ago as an exercise in lyric writing for an online course (MOOC) on songwriting by Berklee College of Music. The result of that exercise was a song called The Letter which was described at one open night as a sort of country & western reggae song. Then about 6 months ago I wanted to write something in the DADF#AD tuning that was a bit more exciting so I decided to use the words from The Letter. It still didn’t really work!

Then one evening I was with my songwriting mentor and friend Vincent Burke and he had a go at the lyrics while I was playing the guitar. Instead of ‘I’m sending you a letter’ he wrote ‘I’m sending you a seagull’ and then he also came up with a new chorus and a great verse – the one about sending you a song and the lines ‘maybe I’m a memory falling from the blue, memories can cut like glass, cut you through and through’. I liked what he had done and I really liked ‘the seagull’ but I had a problem with it making some kind of sense.

Then my birthday came along and an artist friend and swimming buddy called Pip Tunstill gave me a little present. It was a small white box and when you opened it up there was a seagull and the sound of the seashore. Synchronicity … serendipity … I then reworked the lyric so that it made sense (to me at least) and played the new version at a few open mics and at Dermot Jones’ 50th birthday party. It was beginning to make sense.

I kept fiddling and added a short guitar instrumental after the second verse and an outro at the end to tie up all the loose ends and then it seemed to be done. The Seagull Song. So many contributed to its creation which is rather lovely. 🙂