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The Story of 'Too Close To Touch'




(from the INSIGHTS album released in 2022)

‘Too close to touch’ is something that Pete said to me when we were having coffee at a pub in Windlesham after visiting his old keyboardist, Al Kirtley. He said it en passant and as soon as he said it, I swiveled my head and stared at him. ‘TOO CLOSE TO TOUCH’, I exclaimed. ‘That’s a great title for a song’. And indeed it was, as I had no trouble whatsoever writing a lyric to go with such an arresting title.

I have always liked lists of any kind. And if they are bullet pointed, even better! They are better than prose in many ways, as they cut out the extraneous and superfluous stuff, leaving only the skeleton of the meaning. Or the nub of it, if you like. And so it was with the lyric.

‘It’s a fire that burns

It’s a meeting of minds

It’s emotional need

With an actual cost...’

And the list goes on of all the things that love is until we get to the heart of it:

‘When you’re too close to touch

It’s a love that’s good’.

There is a long held myth that True Love is one based on romantic love. If this was the case, couples would stay together forever, especially if they bear children together! The truth of the matter is that longevity in relationships comes from True Friendship between people. Because it is this that allows love to prevail, not the other. The romanticised version of love is a feeling that is ephemeral and transient. It is a heightened emotion which can quickly turn. But a love based on friendship is built for the long haul flight - to last, to go the distance, to endure.

This song is about that enduring kind of love. And the love I had for my father was that sort of love. No matter that he wasn’t around past the age of sixteen. My love for him endured and was based on friendship. And because this song was released after he passed away, I decided to dedicate the sound I chose for the solo to him. I picked a Sitar. He sang classical Indian ghazals, and he would have friends over who played harmonium, sitar, tabla. And he would sing with his glorious and beautiful voice and make people cry.

I was lucky to have him as my inspiration when I started to sing. And I think that my parents’ divorce precipitated it, because before the age of sixteen, I only played piano. I think singing was a way of staying close to my father.

Musically, Pete created a beautiful bass line to go with it, something he does easily and effortlessly.

And my keyboard intro was inspired by the impeccably written song, ‘Through The Fire’ penned by the peerless David Foster, Cynthia Weil and Tom Keane.

The last verse of this song is a particular favourite of mine:

‘It’s the vision that yearns for the life it intends

It’s the history on paper that never makes sense

It’s a trip to the Promised Land

Where Heaven on Earth is just in sight...’

The substitute chords that go with it are a joy, as they have a hymnal-like quality to them which goes with the spiritual sentiment of the lyric.

A joy to sing, a joy to play - and a beautiful reminder of my ancestral heritage via my parents which harks back to the land of all the ancient religions, Mother India.

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