Last century, I was fortunate enough to meet Kevin Edge on a music course in London.
His musical talents then were so evident. He had, unlike me, musical qualifications. Classically trained in piano, clarinet and music theory. Skilled with music technology and production. He played every instrument and played it well. He could sing, harmonize, arrange, play drums, bass, engineer, produce. It sounds a cliche, but he was a one-man-band, the complete musical package.
I asked him if he’d teach me guitar, ‘um…I think I’d like to be able to solo better’. I could play but not improvise. Looking back, I probably wasn’t that interested in the lessons to be honest. I didn’t apply myself and for the record, I still can’t improvise.
Somehow I just knew that I wanted to be in his orbit. Maybe, I could, somehow, by osmosis, absorb some of the musical magic that emanated from him.
God knows why he wanted to hang out with a part-time folk-pop performer with dreams of a musical career that were based on a few nice original songs and having recently been encouraged by a songwriting award from the Port Fairy Festival.
But hang out we did. A friendship and unlikely collaboration between a musical genius and a folk-dreamer was forged. He moved into my share house in North London, we pooled our music recording gear and started to write and record together. I got some gigs, he toured with me. It was a fantastic time, some great memories.
Between 1999 and 2002, Kev helped me produce two albums, playing and singing on most of the tracks and overseeing the whole process. He was there from the start, when I had no experience, nor any idea how hard it would be to produce something of quality. He was by my side in the studio, me in tears after the umpteenth take that was flat, watching my spirit buckle. Hearing my wails of ‘I can’t do it, I’m not good enough, I can’t sing, you sing it’. He was a midwife in the birth of my musical self.
Artists will know this painful, well-trodden path and would-be artists, be prepared. One thing I learned was that the therapeutic benefits of making music with an emotionally sensitive producer is seriously under-reported. That’ll be a research fad in decade, you know ‘research has shown that songwriting improves mental health blah blah…’ Of course for the last decade, I’ve taken a similar approach using the modality of conscious dance…and research into the benefits of dancing are starting to emerge.
Kev would always acknowledge my courage, my boldness to step forward, despite what I was feeling. So in return, I became his confidant, a voice of support, encouraging him to be bold, and to record an album of his own songs…..
When I left to return to Australia he continued to teach, produce more records for other artists, write for film , TV and advertising. All the while the niggle, the calling for his voice to be expressed grew louder in his consciousness.
Despite producing some ‘bangin’ tracks he’d regularly admit to me in late night skype calls how much easier it is to hide behind dance music. It’s written for a function, to help other people let go on a dance floor. There is something way more vulnerable in stepping up to the microphone to sing something personal from the heart. It’s not as easy to hide.
In 2016, after a long period of our first international collaboration as David Juriansz & Terrafunka, we released Reveal as our first ‘Wave’ release. An album of songs written for conscious dancers, teachers and DJs. The response to our music via sales and feedback was so positive, it really helped. Both of us received the validation that every artist needs to help them take the next step in their unfolding creative journey.
Mid-pandemic, Kev told me he was gonna do it. Commit to recording and releasing an album of his own songs. ‘Properly committing’ he said…(sounds betta wif a prop-er Lund-ern accent).
So properly commit he did.
Now, in 2021, under the artist name The Earth Years he has released his debut album Place on this Earth.
I’m not writing a review of the album, nor going into expansive details to sing it’s praises. I love the album of course, because I love the artist. I know many of the songs and their origins. I’ve heard rough original recordings of them and even played guitar on developing versions.
I love it because I’m connected to the album. I can hear the story in every song. The song that was written whilst traveling in Australia. That break up song. You get the picture. I know what it took for Kev to create this album. Half a lifetime, of his current earth years in fact…
It’s really my place here to honor, congratulate him and tell you this story…
I also encourage you go have a listen and if you like it, buy it. For yourself first, but also knowing that you are supporting an independent artist.
For every Dave or Kev story, there are thousands of people with their voice, their story to tell. Needing to navigate their way though the barriers. Maybe one of those people is you. Maybe then, you also know what stops your voice being heard. Many, different, individual versions of fear.
Support, collaboration, validation they all help. Dancing every week in a creative community, that helps too. Every artist needs props like these.
So to the artists, the dreamers, the dancers and the music fans… I hope you enjoy the Earth Years and I know the artist wishes you well in seeking your Place on this Earth
September 1, 2021
The Earth Years – “Place On This Earth” – debut album recently released
“Largely born from cathartic expressions of internal experiences, this is a very personal album, a window into the inner world of the artist, moving through the complex, evolving landscapes of mind, body and spirit….. Touching on love and fear, joy and sorrow, expansion and retreat, across a range of different tonal flavours and colours, the songs on this album are tied together by The Earth Years’ trademark theme of beauty, melancholy and a depth of honest introspection that speaks to those with a heart and mind open to resonating with these themes of human experience, as we journey to find our “Place On This Earth”…..”