I find the best songs are the ones which conjure up a story, imagery & and an unfolding sequence in the mind.
How does it make you feel when the music weaves through the words to tell the tale?
Listen to the song while reading the text.
Being a modern ‘folky’ type, it’s crucial to find inspiration through the world around me. Writing nu-folk, indie-folk and modern acoustic folk really does need a visual approach to be different.
Living in an amazing part of the world, I am very lucky to find so much around me in terms of stories, locations, legends, landscapes & history. Heart Shaped Wood is a perfect example.
Travelling from Kendal in the north west of England, on the southern tip of the Lake District you will pass the Tebay Gorge on the M6. Keep looking right and you will see a woodland in the shape of a heart on the fell side. It looks its best during summer when in full leaf where the heart shape is really defined. There are many stories associated with the wood and I brought them all together to write this song.
It is said the woodland was planted in the shape of a heart by the landowner for his beloved wife. Another story is that it was planted like that to remember a hero son who fell in the first world war. Or that there are two woodlands which are simply separated by a wall and the resulting shape is the heart we see from the roadside.
However, the story which became the main inspiration depicts two forbidden lovers who meet in dappled shade of the trees. Their families being in conflicting social statuses where the pair would never be able to be together. They meet to act out a pact of love and eternal devotion by joint suicide. Yeah, nice! I hear you think but, there has to be tragedy right? The lovers run each other through by sword to finally be together as one.
So my song Heart Shaped Wood centres on the wood itself. The forbidden lovers and the impending WW1 being the focus of their torment. As a young carefree man on the eve of the war, the lonely soldier grabs a falling feather whilst in a lovers’ embrace. Fast forward to the battlefield, and as he senses his inevitable demise, he unfurls his fist to reveal the feather and he is immediately transported back to the wood, and that moment with his true love – if only for one, last, moment.
The song is from my album In So Small A Compass, which features another 11 songs, all with some connection to the loves, lives, landscapes & varied beauty of the UK.
Mike Turnbull, Category: Artist, Albums: In So Small A Compass, Singles: Fields of Heavy Dew, Circlet of Gold, Top Tracks: Seek Thy Brother, Between Breaths, Sycamore Gap, Heart Shaped Wood, Seabirds’ Call, Biography: “Mike Turnbull is a singer-songwriter from the Lake District whose main instruments are tenor guitar, octave mandola, mandolin & banjo., Monthly Listeners: 14, Where People Listen: Barrow in Furness, London, Exeter, Brighton, Ulverston