The age-old advice to “write about what you know” has guided many of my songs, especially those on An Irish Life. The song to which it most applies is my new single Souvenirs. I hope you like the wonderful video which Peter Salisbury created for the song.
A few years ago, my eldest daughter went off to live and work in Australia. Nowadays, it’s almost a rite of passage for our young people, and she was always clear that her long-term plan was to settle down back in Ireland, but I still found myself experiencing the same emotions as the parents of emigrants throughout the generations. Looking around a house that contained so many memories and mementoes – childhood toys, school awards, photographs and so on – all of my emotions found expression in a wistful little song about souvenirs that “bring you near but cannot bring you here”.
It’s a sentiment that’s familiar to so many Irish parents, and many of those who have heard it have told me they can really relate to the song. Indeed, one person whose eldest has just entered her teens says the song has a deep impact on him because of the realisation that this experience probably awaits in his future.
It’s every songwriter’s goal to come up with that elusive blend of words and music that can evoke real feeling in the listener. I think this song is the closest I’ve come!
And, happily, my daughter did return home eventually!