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MP3 Robert James Kirk - Goodnight Ruby

Contemporary singer and songwriter with soul.

11 MP3 Songs
EASY LISTENING: Adult contemporary, COUNTRY: Progressive Country


Three decades of musical exploration, a marriage, and a midlife crisis later, Robert James Kirk has finally laid his ghosts to rest in his first full-length album, “Goodnight Ruby”.

The heart of Kirks’ lyrics, albeit an anguished one, is found in the emotive narrative of Whiskey Night (Goodnight Ruby), also the albums title:

“My father would scream and my mother would shudder
And I’d run for cover with my sisters and brother
We’d all stay out of sight on whiskey night”

Kirk makes no secret of the highly personal nature of his works, and particularly of this track; “this is a song that took me 3 minutes to write & 10 years to complete.”
Born in Wellington, New Zealand and the youngest of six, Kirk was introduced to music at a very early age thanks to encouraging parents. As his musical journey gathered momentum, Kirk emerged from his adolescence into a hectic double life that saw him hairdressing by day and gigging up to five nights a week – sometimes two shows a night!
Such early dedication almost certainly founded the quality and class of Kirks’ musicianship today: emotional dexterity gives rise to a master wordsmith who seamlessly integrates melody into stories worth telling. The result is an honest contemporary sound that presents itself as it’s themes dictate; a powerful ballad in one instance and catchy grooves in another, and at times inspired by the attitudes of Springsteen or John Hiatt.

While having moved to Australia in the mid 80’s – and calling Melbourne home for over 10 years - Kirk acknowledges the powerful and cathartic journey Goodnight Ruby has taken him on which saw him return to Wellington to record the album: “…..the logical place to re-invent myself and start a new adventure”.

Goodnight Ruby, is Robert James Kirks’ debut solo album, and follows long career committed to musical projects at home and abroad, as well as a self titled EP.

Liner notes from the man himself:

Track 1 – Words of Wisdom

Featuring lush warm production & rich male and female harmonies over a tight looped groove, this song is all about growing up & leaving home. It was originally written as a birthday gift for my father

Track 2 – That Kind of Girl

I’ve introduce this song live by saying ‘this could well be about the girl next to you’. It’s not necessarily about any one person-just generally about those wonderful angelic/ devilish qualities I really like in the female psyche. Check out the soaring string lines driving the second half of the song

Track 3 – Whiskey Night (Goodnight Ruby)

This is a song that took me 3 minutes to write & 10 years to complete. I love the way the recording sort of undulates, starting from nothing and building hugely, only to dip back to emptiness before rising again
It deals with the darker side of human behaviour so the sombre music soundtrack to this story creates a complete emotional picture. Moody french horns and a haunting vocal performance from the wonderful Stephanie Hearfield finish it of beautifully. We’re shooting a video for this track at the moment in black, white and washed out sepia, and I guess that sums up the subject matter.

Track 4 – Looking for Glory

I’ve recorded this song on several occasions and never felt we got it right. This time I think we nailed it. Starting with a softness that belies what is to come, by the final third of this song it’s absolutely pumping. The marriage of guitar & string is extremely powerful

Track 5 – Christina’s World

I wish I’d written this song. It’s so sweet & picturesque. Written by my producer Philip Riley and based loosely on the Andrew Wyeth painting of the same name, this song really pulls you into the landscape of wistful Sunday dreaming. I found this difficult to sing in the studio, but. when I listen now I feel it’s probably my strongest vocal performance on the album

Track 6 – No win situation

The story of a lost soul stuck in a relationship they have no control over. The track crosses several genre’s from a John Cash twang to U2 rock-really tested out the raw sound of my Gibson ‘Duane Eddy’ special guitar-the one you can see in the album shots

Track 7 - Spread your wings

For me the mark of a good song is if you can strip it back and it still feels right. We perform this song live with just piano, vocal & acoustic guitar and it works beautifully

Track 8 – That’s the way that it goes

This song has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. My favourite of accapela opening lines give way to hard-driving drums, and who can argue with the statement “Sooner or later the lawyers get all”? Lots of guitars & a tex mex horn section featuring session ace Geoff Culverwell give it the flavour we were looking for.

Track 9 - Small town girl

A mystery girl wandered into a band room when I was on tour several years ago. She had this story in her eyes & it had to be told. I like the sparseness in this arrangement. The distant thunder drum track I borrowed from a Jim Keltner performance. I had to fight my producer to keep the question mark ending

Track 10 – Masquerade

I heard this song & instantly fell in love with it, partly because of the performance of the singer & some beautiful layered harmonies. I tried to emulate this….It didn’t work, so we stripped it back and started again. We ended up with a tougher swaggering arrangement with a vocal the guy from the Pogues would have been proud of. Try as I might, though, I couldn’t strip the song of it’s beauty
Track 11 – Open Up

A good positive 6/8 gospel rock anthem of a track
If you were still allowed to smoke in venues, this is a song to wave a lighter to. The big ballad of the album and seemingly purpose-built as a perfect ending for the CD.
I just loved doing the layered backing vocals with Stephanie on this one. We were going to add a 40 piece choir, but decided it was already bigger than Texas.

People who are interested in Bruce Springsteen John Hiatt David Gray should consider this download.
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