Song Story Blog: Since You've Come Along 

Three years ago in February, the pandemic hit North America, as we all know too well. Before the virus went global, it seemed distant to me, like a storm surge breaking on far away shores. When it hit home in Ontario, the exponential spread was obvious. This thing was a tidal wave capable of crossing oceans and flooding continents around the globe.

My niece Emma was born as the first cases of covid 19 were being reported where I live in Toronto. Masking at the hospital was optional at that time, and there was a sense of disbelief in the air about what was going to happen. 

A couple of weeks after my sister brought Emma home from the hospital, a happy smiling baby, the virus had turned the world as we knew it upside down. It was during this time that Canada went into lockdown. 

On the television, the nightly news broadcast apocalyptic images of a vacant Times Square; morgue trucks to handle those who had passed away; frontline workers risking everything for humanity's sake, while working around the clock. We were in the midst of a cataclysmic event, evident from the moment you left your house to buy groceries, one of the few businesses deemed to be an essential service. 

We did not know the severity of the virus, how long it would last, and if a vaccine could or would be developed. Talking heads reminded us that vaccines typically take years to develop. There were projections of a possible economic collapse and expressions such as 'the before time' or 'the new normal' became part of the lexicon. With so many unknowns, we were flying blind and forced to realize the fragility of our existence in the modern world. 

When small gatherings of immediate family were permitted under the guidelines, I remember watching a six-month-old Emma kicking up a storm with a sensory device keyboard at her feet, while a mobile of wondrous shapes and colours swirled over her head - a cacophony of chaotic jingles, thrilling all her senses. 

The joy, curiosity, innocence and light that she brought to our family during this stage of rapid development was fascinating. This "cure for cynicism," as my collaborator Brad Kilpatrick put it, was in direct contrast to the dread of this potentially endless threat to society. In song, I often use juxtaposition to explore the themes of a narrative. There's depth there, and for me it is cathartic to write about that which I can't understand. Conflicts in my head seem to find balance through lyric and melody. Through music and writing, I explore the world and discover sorrow in beauty, but also beauty in sorrow. 

During the first few years of life, the developing brain establishes over 1 million new neural connections per second, an unimaginable rate of cell division and synapses firing. When watching my niece, I wondered  what was happening behind her eyes, as her expressions changed from serenity to wonder, exhilaration to tears, often in momentary succession. 

There is such intrinsic hope in our nature during the first months and years of rapid development. I remember I said to my mother while we sat watching her, "It's like it's everything at once for the first time." 

Since You've Come Along, was inspired by these themes. The song is from the perspective of a mother, tired and socially confined during the long nights of early motherhood while in lockdown. Though the inspiration came from Emma, and the narrative from the perspective of my sister Courtney, there is a lot of poetic license taken in the lyrics, and the narrator developed into a fictional character. 

Since You've Come Along, reflects on the triumphs of human nature, and the wonders all around us if we are willing to pause a moment to take notice. This wonderful world, of which Louis Armstrong sang so beautifully, can inspire resilience with love. A light by which to navigate through the darkness of uncertainty when it appears there is no let up in sight.

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