℗ 2016 Zachary Morris & Ben Van Tienen

℗ 2016 Zachary Morris & Ben Van Tienen

Liner Notes

1. Just Around the Riverbend

from Pocahontas (1995)

music by Alan Menken

lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

“you can’t step in the same river twice… the water’s always changing, always flowing.”

Pocahontas is a free spirit: a pioneer, a trail-blazer. She’s unconventional; she refuses to follow the crowd - not out of spite, but out of longing. She’s constantly dreaming everything that her life could be. She’s so connected to the Earth and to the riches of nature. And she follows her heart, believing that she can shine her light into a brave new world.

We love these qualities. We could all be a little more like Pocahontas. She’s so principled, so wholehearted, so intuitive, and she encourages us to accept change and be like the river - always flowing. And she’s fierce.

 

2. Loving You

from the movie version of Mame (1974)

music and lyrics by Jerry Herman

“loving you is now and yesterday, is real and make believe.”

We were in a tiny dressing room at the Liverpool Empire when Zach introduced Ben to this song. It’s quintessential Jerry Herman - he makes incredibly poetic images out of the simple, the heartfelt, and the everyday. 

It’s tempting to give a Herman song the full works - the key change, the high note, the big finish. But the more time we spent with this song, the more we revelled in its intimacy. Sometimes pure joy is the quietest thing there is.

 

3. The Book of Love

from the Magnetic Fields album 69 Love Songs (1999)

music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt

“I love it when you sing to me, and you can sing me anything.”

We came to this song from polar opposite interpretations - Ben knows the Peter Gabriel cover, and Zach loves the Gavin James cover. Our version has turned out very differently, with a rippling piano part potentially borne out of Ben’s inclination to turn any song into a Ronde de Jambe exercise! (Years of playing for ballet classes will do that to a guy.)

The music in the book of love is one of the highest powers there is. When we collaborate, we find ourselves in a place of pure, fearless light. This song lives in that place.

 

4. Away From You

from Rex (1976)

music by Richard Rodgers

lyrics by Sheldon Harnick

“What was old and cold is warm and new.”

After Oscar Hammerstein II died, Richard Rodgers worked with various lyricists, but never approached the same commercial success that he had with either Hammerstein or Hart. And yet, in this beautiful song from Rex, we can still hear his soaring, unique gift as a melodist. 

We were in yet another tiny dressing room, this time in Stoke-on-Trent, when Ben introduced this song to Zach. We love the way that the melody keeps taking you to the “wrong note,” the tritone -  always resolving, but somehow still yearning. It’s the perfect expression of Harnick’s simple lyric. And listen to how the music opens up when love walks into the room! Again - it’s pure joy, embodied.

 

5. Gypsy

from the Fleetwood Mac album Mirage (1982)

music and lyrics by Stevie Nicks

“I have no fear - I have only love.”

Zach’s love affair with the songs of Fleetwood Mac has been long-lasting, and this song has always resonated deeply with him. It took Ben a little while to come around. But then there was a yoga class at Laughing Lotus in NYC, led by the incredibly spirited Kenny Frizzle, using this song as a starting point - music to flow to, and lyrics to inspire - and suddenly Ben understood.

Every day we try to remember this: love is the only thing that is real. Fear is a construct of the mind, and the more you tell it that it doesn’t exist, the less it can exist. Fear lives in the mind, but love lives in the bones. Fear is temporary; love is eternal. We are so grateful to be able to express love through our hands and our hearts and our voices. That’s who we are, and who we want to be, and who we are ever becoming.

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Production Credits

Engineered, edited, mixed and mastered by Niall John Acott

Recorded May 2016 at NJA Audio, Maidstone

Album artwork by Keaton Jadwin at Theatre Juice

Photography by Gabriel Mokake

With thanks to Ian Wheatstone, Andy Christie, Pierce Rogers, Matt Peploe, and the Blackpool Winter Gardens.