The first time I performed outside the U.S. was in Scotland at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. Just before going onstage with my band the first time, I wondered how my original songs would go over. Would nuances in the lyrics translate well outside “American” culture? Thankfully, they did. Week after week we had good audiences and solid reviews. I’m still grateful for the friendship and musicianship that grew there with: Rick Solem, piano Tim Burlingame, guitar Kathrin Shorr, guitar/vocals.
A couple of songs we did still stand out in my memory. “Real World” had some unusual patterns in the lyric. It was a new song I’d co-written for Last Chance, a Bryan Cranston film. After seeing my shows, folks along the Royal Mile would come up and sing back lines from this song to me as a way of saying hello. I liked “Real World” from the beginning, but in Scotland I began to believe it was a song I’d always sing.
“One by One (Day by Day)” is the other song I brought from California and discovered in Scotland. Before performing it, I mentioned this song took shape after reading my favorite American poet, e.e. cummings. Then, I let the lyric rest in Rick’s piano and the Tim – Kate harmonies. With “One by One” I discovered this show meant something to our audiences. It wasn’t from the applause. Or the CDs they bought. It happened the next day. Some people who’d seen the show came back and left notes for me at the box office. In each envelope, along with their lovely note, they included their poems. Poems they wrote and poems they liked. Poems they wanted me to read because… I believe “one by one” they knew I’d understand. Cheers!