My good mate Brad and I were sitting on the patio outside at my in-laws’ farm near Albert Falls, jamming and fiddling around on our acoustic guitars. It was one of those real lazy afternoons, where kids and adults were all over the place doing their own thing in the afternoon winter sunshine.
It was this little jam session that inspired the main riff in the song… but it wasn’t until much, much later that the song actually came into being… over a year in fact.
I’ve never been one to rush the process of songwriting. Recording is a different animal with other aggravating factors, but coming up with an idea for a song is the really important part. A song is all about the idea for me. Over time, style will never take the place of substance.
Some of the lyrics in this song I’d actually written in a different song about 8 years ago. “The deepest longing of my heart is set on eternity, I’m a citizen apart from what the world believes.”
A lot of people get uncomfortable when you start talking about eternity and life after death. But for me it’s a question that I am convinced plagues everyone at some point or another: What happens when we die?
I think the reason people are so put off by talking about it is because the answer is not so black-and-white in today’s post-modern world. The truth is what you make of it, it’s relative, etc. The by-product of this, of course, is no absolutes and spiritual laziness.
So in one sense, the laid-back blues style of Feels Like Home is an ironic commentary of this idea. But for me, it’s about having peace with the idea of eternity, having thought long and hard about it and how it relates to now, in the mundane day-to-day issues of life.
I like the way a DJ put it at a conference a few years ago – “when the truth is presented to you in language you understand, it’s irresistible”. Not undeniable, not stand-alone… irresistible. There’s a sense of gravitating to it.
I liken the idea to people who can laugh at themselves. I love those kind of people, and find them immensely refreshing. I’m drawn to them, because they’re usually just so comfortable to be around. The opposite kind of people to those mentioned in the song: “Everyone’s on my back with their stuff”.
“Can you smile back at a face that doesn’t extend grace?” is probably the crux line of the song, because it hinges on this idea of grace, and showing kindness where it isn’t deserved. In a post-modern, new-age society where everything hinges on the idea of karma (cause and effect, that we have to do something to receive something), grace is what catches us all by surprise when we come to grips with the truth of our inadequacy.