Mattski
No through road on the Surf Coast, Victoria, January 2008
Mildura, inland, a dusty spring, 2008

My first song came to me floating on a calm day at one of those beaches found at a dead-end. I found myself stuck between the blue sky and the blue sea, thinking of the blues. I wondered what might happen where those three blues met.

Was the place where those three blues met summertime – in the fish jumping and cotton high sense? Not quite. It was something more hypnotic, a trance from which one might not emerge set to the soundtrack of a jaunty three-chord blues riff. I felt a jolt and dragged myself back to land just in time to write seven lines of lyrics on a sand-covered notepad I had wrapped in my beach towel.

One of these days you’ll find me
In a place so far away
Where they’ll scatter my ashes and I will fly free
I’m going off with the osprey
Where blue is all there be
One of these days you’ll find me
Where the big blue sky meets the sea.

I had hit my mid 20s and was on another no through road. Out of desperation I had picked up an acoustic guitar and tried to teach myself to extract a tone from the gravel and dust of it all. Robert Johnson was said to have done a deal with the devil at the Crossroads. Given the crossroads I saw in the windshield, maybe music wasn’t the right place to turn. Although it worked for Mr Johnson in some ways, I reasoned.

The idea of writing and recording my own songs had a certain romance to it. I found some microphones on eBay, the cheapest mixer I could get, a second hand lap-top and, through hours of trial and error, laid down one guitar chord that sounded right.

Back home in Mildura later that year I took my page from the beach and let the essence of blue I’d carried with me run free. I channeled it, diverted it, fought with it and marveled at it as I tried to catch it; before it slipped clear like an eel in the Murray. A dust storm welled up and brandished its fist in eerie shades, rolling over the horizon and all that dared stand in its way, before another shade of blue returned and dried on the page.

© Mattski is a songwriter in recess who enjoyed hanging around the crossroads before realising he was better at enjoying music than actually playing it. Mattski on Twitter

 

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