A Story’s End is the 9th song on our album and is culled from a childhood memory – or more accurately story. In fact, it is that distinction that is the very inspiration for the song. I became fascinated with the delicate line between “truth” and “fiction,” between memory and fable, and how burdensome, destructive and persistent these stories can be. But troublemakers though they are, they are the very things that can illuminate and liberate and then dissipate, once revealed or picked apart. The song ends with such a plea:
story’s older now
it’s hard to till or plow
a soil that never took the seed
but just a fragile weed
your own drive
to be free…
so be free
I had already written the song when I saw Sarah Polley’s documentary Stories We Tell – a powerful film that touches on these same themes – the subjectivity of truth – and even involves people that were part of my world in Montreal when I was a child and my mother was working in the film business. I have always meant to send her the song – may still do!
Simon says: Story’s End is a campfire song! Well, perhaps not anymore….but its origins spring from a campfire on a beautiful balmy summer night on Georgian Bay, Ontario. Jen was strumming some vibey chords and a baseline popped into my head… The one that Astrid so beautifully plays on the record… beats wise, I was found a rhythm with the wood I’d gathered for the fire. Smoke rose through the trees, sweet inspiration paid us a visit!
There’s an old recording of all this somewhere…
Jon’s viola on the tune is really gorgeous as he answers the bass, and weaves in an out of the lyric. I’ve become a huge fan of the viola during the making of this record…its such a beautiful and warm, sonorous, rich sounding instrument.
We go all 60s Liverpudlian in the bridge and I pay special homage to Ringo with my best impression in the middle!
Where would music have gone without those four fellas?
The good Doctor John says:
A Story’s End has had an interesting evolution. The end of each verse was originally fairly simple – just two chords drawn out. Then Simon wrote an interesting ascending bassline, which changed the nature of the chords. We also wanted some interesting back-up vocals to fit in this section, echoing Jen’s last word. I originally arranged a slightly intricate set of vocal lines that ascended somewhat parallel to the bassline. I guess they were too intricate because by the time the band got back to these parts, they’d forgotten them. So they came up with a simpler, but still nice set of lines for the recording. I tried to recapture a bit of the complexity by adding in one more note that would provide a bit more dissonance.
The bridge was also originally pretty simple until we decided to really Beatle it up – not sure whose suggestion that originally was. So Astrid has a nice jaunty melodic bassline, Simon does a classic Ringo fill in the middle, and Jeremy let me put my Rickenbacker through a Leslie pedal to give a great swirly sound to my arpeggiations. All we were missing was some sitar.
The other change was Jon shifting from violin to viola. His original violin work on the song was lovely as usual. At some point he decided to switch to viola, which added a richness of tone that gives the song a bit more gravitas.