My Old Man - The Story Behind the Song

'My Old Man' draws from my personal relationship with my father who left my family when I was 5 years old. It started with me humming the chorus in my car. I often find myself writing when I'm alone in the car, frustratingly it is very difficult to harness what I write when I've hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, so I've taken to leaving my 'voice memo' app on my iPhone, open and to hand. You'll find that most of the voice memo's on my phone are accompanied by the dull drone of the engine in the background!

I wanted to write about my father as I'd recently written to him and in doing so had come to realise that even if he did eventually come back to me one day he would see the greener grass and, soon enough, would leave again. He has never been happy with his lot, as a result I make a point of not allowing that state of mind to become a family trait and make it my aim to always be happy with my lot.

Kelvin Okafor Art
Kelvin Okafor Art

I draw from my visual and tactile memories of him in this song. A heavy smoker, he smoked bakki and would often talk whilst smoking,

'My old man had a bakki pipe, 
he kept it lit in his lips held tight”

and the lines on his face told a story.

“My old man had the kind of face
, artists love and women hate”

was inspired by the pencil drawings of Kelvin Okafor (see picture)

He had bright blue warm and searching eyes, he would always be searching, I'm not entirely sure what for but he could never rest or lay roots,

“My old man had a weight in his chest, 
he'd not be calm Content and rest”

Feeling as though however loud I shout, he will never look back as he is in the constant need to move on I wanted to make the point that sometimes if you don't look back when you are called you may miss something important... a christmas, a wedding, the birth of a grandchild or in this case... a train!

“My old man walked down the track, 
I yelled for the sake of the heavens look back, 
he wouldn't turn he got knocked down flat, 
he'd gone to the other side”

When I first came up with the idea of him meeting a grizzly end (not a true story) I had intended to turn the final line into a bit of a joke

“My old man walked down the track, 
I yelled for the sake of the heavens look back
, he wouldn't turn...the train hit him, smack!”

but it seemed slightly insensitive, so I changed it. Same sentiment, but I went for the slightly softer delivery!

To find out more about this song and the rest of the album, Click Here.

Posted by Ange Hardy on February 10th 2014

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