Click below to watch “Brontë Brook” come to life and then share the love with everyone you know.
Since everything I’ve ever written, play, movie, novel, song, seems, essentially, to be about relationships, good ones, dead ones, ones that struggle through hard times and ones that ride the heights of happiness and hope, and ones that plummet to the earth like burned-out rockets, I find myself pausing now and then to reflect on where all these brilliant observations come from. They come from living them. My creative partnerships have always been sacrosanct for me, at least as long as they’ve lasted. True of every marriage, when the trust heads south or the mutual enthusiasm, they’re not all designed to survive forever − I’m still in mourning for Lennon and McCartney and Simon and Garfunkle and take comfort in seeing Jagger and Richards still fighting it out −but this Thompson|Porcell alliance, it feels as if it’s just getting started.
Relationships work best when you work on them, I know that, creative ones, business, and romantic ones alike. I like it when my partners push me and I like pushing back. From the very first song I invited Ray to have a go at, “Brontë Brook” (watch video), to our most recent, several dozen later, I’ve lost count, my goal, as it is in everything I write, has been never to repeat and never to settle. When you’ve written as many songs as Ray and I have, it’s really possible to believe that there’s something for everybody; not everybody’s going to take every one personally into her or his heart, but I like continually challenging myself as a lyricist and I like it when my composers see me and raise me.
That’s happened on our two Thompson|Porcell CDs for sure. I was proud of the range of styles and emotion The Journey Goes On displays and I’m excited that Where I’m Supposed To Be picked up where the first one left off. When I was a kid and would buy an album because I loved a single, I’d invariably get to wondering if some of the other tracks were there simply to take up space or meet a quota. Not an acceptable formula and not one I’d ever want to be accused of. There are so many stories to tell and aspects of the human condition to mine, it would be a shame to waste a single word or note.
Considering that The Journey Goes On covered everything from love squandered (“As Beautiful As You”) to love lost (“Unbreakable Heart”) to deceit (“Joey’s Motel”) to optimism (“One Little Break”) to Alzheimer’s (“And You Smile”) and most everything in between, it seemed fitting to continue the exploration on Where I’m Supposed To Be.
Because most of these songs are country by nature, there’s, again, no shortage of longing and remorse. “Country Girl” is a kiss of thanks to a flame that never died; “How We Used to Be” finds a guy wishing he could go back. “Our Time” is just that, a battle cry of solidarity. “Painless” is a wish not to feel destroyed by love from a guy who has been. “I’m a Sucker for You, Baby” is a guy literally singing the blues over the sweet agony of lust. “Kisses for the Missus” is about betrayal and “Heaven” is a hymn for anybody searching, searching, searching for something like faith. “Broken” finds a lot of things in need of fixing when it’s too late and “A Stranger’s Eyes” is an invitation not to spend a lonely night alone. “No Ordinary Joe” is a wave goodbye to the unforgettable Joe Droukas, whom I had a long friendship with and Ray, a way-longer one. “Where I’m Supposed to Be” is a celebration of desire and a wistful acknowledgment of something so obvious and elusive a lot of us are too dense to get it: that there’s no place like your lover’s bed when you’ve been away too long.
We’re well into our third album now, filling up with songs Ray’s begun to play in front of audiences, some longtime fans, some just waking up to what a rare talent my old friend truly is. Being the same age, we both got hit this year with the inconceivable concept of our fiftieth high school reunions, his big-city Staten Island, mine small-town Maryland. But the feeling’s the same, as it is for everyone who’s made it this far and I decided to write about it in a song called, “Didn’t We Do It All.” When you hear it, you’ll agree, I think. It’s not only a chance to reflect on our long lives; it’s a defiant clarion call for warriors who still have plenty of fight left. Another new song, “The Bottom Line,” is from a lyric I wrote in college. Sometimes it takes time to get us where we’re supposed to be. Another I wrote when Ray’s old cat died. It’s called, “The Cat Who Owned Me;” what else? And on and on.
Stay tuned. Sing along. We’re just getting started.