Acclaimed guitarist Cary Morin recently released his new album "Dockside Saints" and to celebrate we asked him to tell us about the song "Tonight". Here is the story:
A decade ago, I wrote a song about a fictional character who is a fisherman in the south on The Mississippi River. The story tells of his struggles with the work, society, and family. The character felt real to me, and I continued to write about his children and his life on the Mississippi River.
I sometimes write songs that are inspired by movie characters. This situation could be the other way around, and I could probably make a movie from just the songs I've written about this one character. I haven't given him a name as of yet, but I can describe him and his home on the river. He is about 60 years old, doesn't shave, or cut his wild graying hair. He lives in a broken down old house on the river, with big Live Oak Trees with moss hanging down. He has given up on caring too much about yard work or chores and tasks that don't put money in his pocket.
For years he fished alone on a boat that he paid cash for. When his son was old enough, he worked on the boat until he decided to take a shot at college. The old man fought in WWII but doesn't talk about it much. He tried a few different things to support his small family until he got the boat, and there was no looking back. After decades of working on the river and the death of his wife, he finally sold the boat and retired. He spends his golden years by himself in the house that he built and raised his son in. In the evenings he still likes to walk down through the trees to the empty boathouse and watch the river with a guitar and a bottle.
On my 2020 album release, Dockside Saints, I include another song about his life on the boat and the art of navigating the river at night, Tonight. With nothing to guide him but the lights on the shore and a light on the bow, he always finds his way back to the boathouse. The river is different at night, when the sights and sounds give way to the nocturnal creatures that live along the great river. Navigation in the dark is far different from navigation in daylight...
Other songs I have written with this character in mind and have included on albums are Broke Down Place, and Thunder. Thunder is written about the old man's son remembering his years growing up on the boat, and the immense respect he had for his father. The song expresses the pain of living in a strange place when he went off to college, and the memories of his childhood that get him through the difficulties of a new way of living.
I sometimes think of how his life could be compared to youth growing up on Indian Reservations in the US and how difficult it can be to leave the security of family for that of a strange, far-off place where nobody looks like you, and the culture is vastly different. That's another song.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself right here!