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Jenny Biddle: Hero In Me - The Story Behind The Songs - Track 3 'Pockets'


By Jenny Biddle.



There’s blues in my soul!


To celebrate 10 years of my "Hero in Me" album, this month I’m diving into the intricacies Track 3 “Pockets”, a dirtier blues vibe than other songs on the album.



Photo Credit: Matt Hawke



Story Behind the Song:

Throughout my life, I have found some things hard to express to people in general conversation. Perhaps it stems from shame, worrying what people think, or fearing some sort of consequence from sharing my opinion. For as long as I’ve written songs, composing has been the place where I express those thoughts and can lay them to rest. In this particular song, I was stuck in a rut and in a relationship. The lyrics suggest I’m singing to the person I’m in a relationship with, what I’m disenchanted with, and what needs to change. But the more I think about it, perhaps I was really singing to myself, releasing frustration, and trying to give myself a pep talk for a revolution. It’s a song about taking a leap through the doorway of change in the hopes that life on the other side will be better.


Guitar Talk:

I loved playing around with an open D guitar tuning (DADF#AD). Somehow this tuning lends itself to both major and minor possibilities, despite being a major tuning. There’s a laziness and freedom that comes playing in this tuning, where you can simply bar a whole chunk of the fretboard and boom, you’ve got a chord. But as this was one of the first songs I used in this tuning, I loved finding bluesy notes and seeing where mistakes would lead me.


If you’d like to learn how to play the opening riff, I teach you how to play it using open D tuning on my Patreon page: www.patreon.com/jennybiddle. Perhaps you’ll stumble upon your own ideas for a new riff or song.


In the studio, I did something called an “idiot take” for the guitar solo, played on a vintage Tele. My previous attempts at the solo sounded stiff and stilted - which often can result when performing in sterile environments. Producer, Sean Carey, suggested I do what’s called an “idiot take”, let loose, stop thinking about it and see what happens - after all, you can delete it if it doesn’t work out. I had a friend in the room, we got silly, and I envisaged I was some big shot performer on a stadium stage with my foot on my amp, and I launched into a unhinged, open-minded guitar solo that took me to unexpected territories. The solo felt a lot more free, and this is the one we went with in the studio recording - you can hear the audio recording above.



The Harmonica & the Bullet Mic:

There aren’t many tracks I play harmonica on, but this is one that leant itself to some wicked blues harp vibes (G harmonica). I made the harp squawk away here and there, almost like another voice in the story, like the recipient responding with their plea. In order to give it that dirty blues edge, I used a microphone called a “bullet mic”, is specifically designed for recording harmonica. Somewhere in the recording process, we came up with the idea of me singing into the bullet mic for the bridge verse. This made the vocals muffled and distorted, and you can’t entirely make out what is being said. It felt apt having a confined, inaudible voice crying out about a claustrophobic situation.


If I Had My Time Over:

In the time since writing and recording this song, I’ve learned more about songwriting, performance, recording, production, my own abilities and limitations, and my own musical tastes have changed. If I recorded this song today, I’d approach it differently in terms of delivery and production route. I imagine this happens often to artists who look back on their work many years later with a different, seasoned perspective. 10 years ago, I thought it was smoking hot, rocking and damn funky. Now-a-days, as I move into a new phase of life, I’d have preferred it with a more stripped back lens. But as it stands, this upbeat, dirty groove holds a space for and attitude on the album.



Lyrics:

Look at you, look at me, baby ever so cosy

Tucked up inside this pocket, side by side

I can’t see here, you can’t breathe

We can’t move cos it’s a nice tight squeeze

We know we’ll be safe, we’ll be warm if ever we might please

We know we’ll be safe, we’ll be warm if ever we might please


We gotta fight to open up our lives, think of what we’ve been missing

I love what we share, but if we don’t get out of here we ain’t moving

We can hide in this pocket so tight, but this ain’t living


You look at me and you tell me you like what you see

I’m the one you want to stay with in this pocket for eternity

We can dance here, we can sing

We can party till the seams wear thin

But we ain’t got a lot to say if this is all we’ve been doing

No we ain’t got a lot to say if this is all we’ve been doing


We gotta fight to open up our lives think of what we’ve been missing

I love what we share, but if we don’t get out of here we ain’t moving

We can hide in this pocket so tight, but this ain’t living


So I’m popping my head on out

I’ll open my eyes and I’m looking around

From the bottom of this bag I’ve been pottering around

Waste no more time waiting to be found


We gotta fight to open up our lives think of what we’ve been missing

I love what we share, but if we don’t get out of here we ain’t moving

We can hide in this pocket so tight, but this ain’t living

No this ain’t living


Photo Credit: Jai Honeybrook



Credits:

Song by Jenny Biddle

Recorded & Mixed & Produced by Sean Carey at Trackdown Studios, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

Mastering by Don Bartley, Blaxland, NSW, Australia

Album Art by Katrina Leighton


Jenny Biddle: vocals, electric guitar, harmonica

Sean Carey: bass, electric guitars

Michael Quigley: drums

Beau Golden: organ synth





Read more from Jenny


Track 1 - Hero In Me

Track 2 - Across The Nullarbor



Jenny Biddle is an Australian, Folk, Blues & Roots musician, she is a well seasoned guitarist, witty storyteller, poignant songwriter and winner of the Blues & Roots Radio International Song Contest 2020. Jenny fashions an infectious mix of down to earth modern folk for the wandering soul. Her 8th album 'Hoping For A Hero' is out now..

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