“It’s another awfully big adventure that offers listeners a dizzying 12-track odyssey through time and space, using a calendar year as its framework.
It all starts rather prophetically on January 1, 2020, with a visit to the local fortune teller. Alas, you won’t like her “2020 Vision” of the year ahead: she foresees a deadly global virus mixed with political shenanigans at the highest level. Just be glad you didn’t have to pay for this depressing soothsaying session.
In Valentine’s Day, our February track, we meet a disillusioned, lovelorn Romeo, who has nothing but contempt for the hordes of hopeless romantics splashing out on flowers, jewellery, perfume and other standard tokens of affection. Conjuring up the spirit of Vincent Van Gogh (specifically his ear), our embittered soul delivers a heartfelt rant at the commercialisation of romance. And, hey, you can dance to it!
A mysterious, unfulfilled wartime romance occupies the month of March, in a tale told through the eyes of a care-home worker who takes an interest in an elderly patient who obsessively reads and re-reads a few pages from a tattered diary.
A stroll down Tin Pan Alley brings us to April, and the celebration of the centenary of a song first published in 1921. It’s a father-and-son story with a nod to the music of Al “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet” Jolson.
Oh, who’s that making a cameo in The Darling Buds Of May? Why, it’s good old William Shakespeare! Followed closely by British author H. E. Bates. What on earth are they doing here, you wonder. Well, Bates and the Bard team up to set the stage for the ruminations of a middle-aged gent in 1960s England. A Dunkirk survivor, he reflects on his lot in life: a nice home and garden, a loving wife, three adult children, several grandchildren. It’s all quite satisfactory at this point. If only his youngest son would get a haircut and a proper job!
Two runaway lovers burn their bridges as they hit the highway at sundown as June welcomes the summer solstice. With the road to freedom stretching out infinitely, they adopt the constellation of Gemini as their celestial mascot, whose brightest stars Castor and Pollux seem to guide their journey.
July 30, 1966: England win the World Cup and two young sweethearts finally work up the courage to declare their love for one another. For them, it is the most perfect day in history. Who would dare disagree?
Let’s go down to the crossroads and settle an old score. Poetic justice is at long last served to the jealous husband alleged to have been responsible for the death of a legendary guitarist in Greenwood, Mississippi, on August 18, 1938. Adultery and revenge … choose your poison!
The restless spirit takes to the road in September as the call of the highway stirs what Joni Mitchell called the “urge for going”. And no one really knows why. That’s just the way it is.
For October, a journey through the mists of time awaits. The ancient Celtic/Gaelic festival of Samhain marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter was a time of bonfires, mummers, music and feasting, which has much in common with All Hallows’ Eve, the Christian festivity that absorbed many of the earlier pagan rituals. The leaders summon the clan for a night of 11th century revelry. Come on down and do the Stonehenge Stomp!
Boyhood memories of the assassination of American president John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963 are the catalysts for this end-of-innocence song. The first few lines are factual, but it all gets a bit surreal after Mother turns on the television and her friend Stella arrives for tea.
The restless spirit returns home in December, with Yuletide on the horizon. Gifts will be exchanged, chestnuts will roast on an open fire and we’ll take a cup of kindness for Auld Lang Syne. But the restless spirit won’t be staying permanently. Another new year is waiting to unfold. Further adventures beckon. It’s time to say goodbye, again. The future’s uncertain … so what else is new?”
2020 Vision (Millen-Readman) (3:56)
Valentine’s Day (Millen-Duncan) (4:22)
Wartime Memory (Millen-Readman) (9:14)
April Showers Revisited (Millen-Readman) (4:24)
The Darling Buds of May (Millen-Readman) (4:40)
Gemini Twins (Millen-Duncan) (4:56)
Perfect Day (Millen-Readman) (4:53)
The Ghost of the Departed (Millen-Readman) (3:55)
September (Millen-Readman) (4:58)
All Hallows’ Eve (Millen-Readman) (3:40)
I Remember That Day (Millen-Duncan) (3:45)
December (Millen-Readman) (5:46)
Produced and arranged by Tim Readman and Andy Cooke.
Alan Millen: Lyrics, creative direction and conceptualization.
Tim Readman: Guitars, bass guitar and vocals.
Andy Cooke: Drums and percussion, keyboards. Programming, engineering, editing.
Recorded at a social distance by Tim and Andy at 5th Avenue Studios in Vancouver, BC and Tres Gatos Studios in Towson, MD September 2020 – January 2021. Mixed and mastered at Tres Gatos by Andy.
Cover: Detail photo of “Sea Bed” (found shoreline materials) by Peter Achurch and used by kind permission.
Cover design and layout by Neasa Maguire.
Alan Millen at his typewriter
CHRONOLORD ALBUM NEWS
Chronolord Album News
Tim and Andy Cooke aka Chronolord, have started recording their second album due for release later this year. The general theme for the songs is ‘Time’ and to date 3 songs and 2 instrumental tracks have been completed. If you didn’t get to hear Chronolord’s first album The Cuckoo Gene you can check it out here. It’s also on Apple Music here and Spotify here.
VALENTINE’S DAY VIDEO
The video for Valentine’s Day, a song from the new Eventually Brothers album “The Ancient Art of Weaving”, is now on YouTube here. Told through the eyes of an embittered romantic, the song laments the commercialisation of love, with a nod to Vincent Van Gogh along the way. The accompanying video features segments from a 1934 film that launched the career of one of Hollywood’s most famous names, whose eyes gave Kim Carnes a monster hit in the early 1980s. And on top of all that, you can dance to this one regardless of your current romantic condition.
NANAIMO BAR JINGLE
A New York Times post of a faulty Nanaimo Bar recipe caused a patriotic uproar from Canadian dessert lovers saying the proportions on the three-layer sweet treat were wrong. You can imagine the uproar this has caused here on the West Coast, especially in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, home of this iconic dessert item. So much so, I was contracted by local media to create a radio jingle for the Nanaimo bar. You can hear it here.