5 Songs That Inspired My New Album 'Rolling Down The Road'

Photo by Mark Howe.

Photo by Mark Howe.

On August 23 2019, my new album Rolling Down The Road is going to be released into the world…
This will be my third album for families and when making this record I really wanted to push myself and try new things. I thought it would be fun to share some of the music that inspired me in the making of this album and, in doing so, give you a taste of what’s to come!

Below are five videos of songs that have in someway inspired or influenced the making of Rolling Down The Road. As you’ll see, it’s a fairly eclectic mix… I hope you enjoy listening/reading!


#1 Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads

I’ve always loved the Talking Heads and admired the way they make music that’s eclectic and sophisticated without sacrificing brilliant, uplifting and catchy melodies. I was listening to a lot of their music when I was writing this new album, and I was really inspired to try and replicate their use of layers of rhythms and melodies. You can really hear it in the song above ‘Once In A Life Time’. I don’t think I’d ever be able to match David Byrne for sheer charisma though…

#2 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? - The Shirelles

I wrote at least four songs for Rolling Down The Road inspired by the music of those early 60s girls groups, two of which made it onto the album.

About two years ago I caught a BBC 6 Music documentary all about the 60s girl groups. Groups like The Supremes, The Shirelles, The Marvelettes and Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, who’s music bridged that gap between British Invasion rock ‘n’ roll and bubblegum pop. There’s such a charming innocence and beauty to these songs, sung by groups who were often teenagers themselves. I think I wrote at least four songs for Rolling Down The Road inspired by the music of those early 60s girls groups, two of which made it onto the album. The song above, written by Carole King and performed by The Shirelles is one of my all time favourites.

#3 Have You Seen My Baby? - Randy Newman

His song writing has such a swagger to it and I just can’t get enough of it.

To be honest every record I’ve made has been inspired by the music of Randy Newman (see ‘The Cat Came Too’ on Climb That Tree, and ‘Monkey See Monkey Dream’ on Letters Through Your Door). His music is very special to me, and my partner Ellie has had to get used to hearing his albums and film soundtracks played at regular intervals in the car and round the house. With this record I wanted to try and capture that rock and roll feel he does so well. His song writing has such a swagger to it and I just can’t get enough of it. The track above is a perfect example.

#4 My Perfect Cousin - The Undertones

I’ve always tried to avoid worrying about genre when I’m writings songs. If it feels good then it probably is good is what I’ve found in the past (see Teddy At The Disco). Anyway after watching a (not spectacular) film about Good Vibrations, the record label that discovered The Undertones, I has a bit of a binge through their back catalogue. There’s a freedom and joy in punk rock that I think is missing from music these days. It doesn’t have to be clever it just has to feel good and come from an honest place. At least one track on Rolling Down The Road was directly inspired by that punk rock sound and ethos.

#5 Spring Spring Spring - Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

I wanted to go all out with a track on this new record and create a song that’s all jazz hands and tap shoes

I’m a big fan of musical theatre, particularly the old MGM films and the classics. You can hear little glimpses of this in my song writing, but I wanted to go all out with a track on this new record and create a song that’s all jazz hands and tap shoes. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has some of the finest songs ever written and, whilst these days not remotely in any way politically correct (kidnapped women who eventually fall in love and marry their captors… just no!), is still a beautiful, hilarious and moving piece of cinema. It’s always been an ambition of mine to write a musical for families. Watch this space.


So there you are! Don’t forget you can order my new album Rolling Down The Road below, and see if you can spot all these influences when you’re listening. I really hope you enjoyed reading!

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