The Making of the Saltwater Album: IRREPLACEABLE
Shane and I have passed the halfway mark now, in making this new record Saltwater, and I have something on my heart really strong. There is something important missing from this album, I know exactly what it is, and it is incredibly important to me. Each day in the studio brings with it excitement and satisfaction, and amazing creations emerging before our ears… yet it is bittersweet, and tinged with an intense longing. My restlessnessness is growing by the hour, as each day of creating brings us closer to the end.
What is missing is that I do not yet have a song I can record in honour of my dearly loved brother who we lost way too soon, and it still feels like yesterday. All the songs I have written for him in the last year have been too emotional for me to feel comfortable to record, especially because I want this to stay an uplifting album. I also want to dedicate this album to my brother, and to honour the positive person he was. So for that reason too, I want the album to keep its happy vibe.
Every single one of these songs remind me of him. I can see the two of us sitting in his kitchen or in his shed and I remember how happy I felt when he actually approved of this whole collection, despite how fussy he could be with my songs at times!
I miss him intensely. The urge to write a song for him on this album is building in my heart, until it literally feels like it could burst.
I sit on the studio couch and share my mounting distress with Shane. He says ‘You should go and write it Jodi.’ Simple as that. But its so hard to know what to say – the feelings seem too big, and how do you sum up the libraries upon libraries of what somebody means to you in a three minute song? Where do you start?
That was three days ago now. The encouragement from Shane, and the sheer desperation that I had to bring this song into existence must have germinated the seed, because two days ago, I sat down with the guitar and it came to me. My relief is intense. I had to leave Shane in charge of everything all day, as I honed the lyrics and melody. Irreplaceable is a simple song, limited by the restrictions of the real world, but it captured a little piece of how much my precious brother means to me and how he has impacted my life. I am happy that I managed, in my own quiet way, to reference Shawn Colvin in the feel of the bridge, because my brother and I used to jam on Shawn Colvin songs together, especially Sunny Came Home.
I wanted to sit with the song for a few days first, so we waited until today to start recording the brand new song: Irreplaceable. That one word sums up how I feel. And the most beautiful, uncanny thing happened just now. This morning, Shane started adding the initial production to our raw outline while I was out getting food supplies. I walked back into the studio, and stopped in my tracks when I heard what Shane had recorded. It is the melancholy sound of an electric guitar casually noodling around a couple of notes, and it sounds exactly like my brother relaxing and exploring sounds on his guitar strings just for the fun of it in his jam room. There have been many moments of serendipity as Shane and I have made this album together, but this particular goosebump moment is quite incredible. Shane had no idea that my brother even played electric guitar. And he had played it just like that.