Re-entry 2020

Stu Bae Blog 

New year’s resolution: Continue this blog. Did I mention I was cynical about this stuff? I don’t follow other people’s blogs. Most that I’ve come across are chirpy chirpy cheep cheap fakery or melodramatic woe-is-me artistic self flagellation. Who cares about your granny’s cat? 

Are you really that curious to find out why this project has taken nearly eight years and counting? Do you really want to know about blood covered knife-welding home invaders and post traumatic stress disorder? About four years in music college so I could learn how to write the orchestral parts I had in my head when I wrote these songs in my tiny cabin, the fibreglass hull separating me from the three kilometre deep Mediterranean Sea by mere millimetres? 

Maybe you do. It’s possibly not a bad story. Of course these stories make up a fragment of the occurrences we experience. The things that make us what we are. A transient notion, a moving object, abject and delirious. 

Eight years can change anybody. PTSD can change you. A college degree should. So I have changed from the Stuart Doyle who sailed near 4,000 nautical miles over a month in 2012, but I am still the same. Pretty much. When it comes down to it, the memories of the ocean brought to life by working on these tunes puts me back in the boat, back at sea, reminding me of the insanity and the resultant calmness of spirit. It does not remind me of my pre-home invasion self, yet to enter a world of mental health hell. When I perform I feel the expanse and the containment, the salt, wind and sun. I am not reminded of the lesser educated Stu, who could have been said to be guilty of a certain lack of critical thinking on some subjects, and somewhat prone to jumping to hastily formed conclusions. But neither do I think of the me who would sometimes not bother to complete a sentence spoken through apathy or ego, but that could be because I talked so fucking much on the boat. 

If you have read what came before, my journal as written at sea, the writing now changes. From this point the blog will follow the ongoing story of The Ballad Of Adam & Eve, and whatever else seems pertinent. If nothing else, it will expose my ignorances. There is a fair amount of catching up to do, but you all must know how I like my stories. Plenty of that to come. Perhaps it’s now time to explain where we’re at. 

We have many guises it seems. I’ve gigged solo acoustic and solo electric, acoustic duo, with or without a backing vocalist, acoustic with mandolin and banjo and fiddle, three piece electric band and, on occasion, the full armada of drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and three backing singers. The songs can change depending on the setup. With bass and drums the blues rock elements shine while the acoustic style promotes a hillbilly bounce. It can be difficult to decide which to prefer. Generally it’s whichever setup is currently playing. The band could be said to be like the Aeolian Islands, their volcanic nature rendering to unwise to state anything but that there are CURRENTLY eight of them. What the band(s) is (are) called is also up for grabs. Is the album The Ballad Of Adam & Eve by the band Ballad Of Adam & Eve? Do I want the band to be a ’the’ band? An old group of mine, Yukina, was always at the bottom of any list we made. At least ‘ballad’ is close to the top of the alphabet. I was expressing such concerns to the crowd at a gig in The Salmon Leap, Leixlip a few years ago and a head in the crowd shouted up “try A Ballad Of Adam & Eve!” 

The album is nearing readiness. The guitars I recorded over a couple of days in In August 2012 at the now demolished Bow Lane Studios have been embellished by more guitars, drums and bass, a lead vocal supported by layers of backing vocals, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, piano, and an orchestral score. As time passed and the right players came to the project, it seemed that room opened up for more melodies. Although we play as whichever band is available or necessary for the gig, it is the ambition of us Balladeers to play these songs at least once accompanied by a full orchestra and choir. 

As the songs came to me from the sea we want to give something back. All profits from music sales will be donated to the RNLI. My grandad, my Pop, was a fisherman out of Howth and a lifeboatman buried with flags of both country and purpose. If I can do anything with this project, it is to help those who continue his tradition. The savers of souls. 

If you have a mind to follow my mind for a little while, join up on our little journey here. Happy new post-wobble orbit now that the northern hemisphere is lengthening our days’ access to sunlight. 2020 has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?