“ Well Dad , I finally made it “ I heard myself say aloud sitting in the warm desert sand staring at the sun setting on Monument Valley .
This where the story really began all those years ago , sitting with my Dad watching John Wayne ride in with the sunrise in the iconic opening scene of “ The Searchers “, the old man's favorite western .
It came initially as a surprise to discover that it wasn’t in Texas as the movie states but at the Arizona-Utah state-line . However , the flight from Austin to Vegas followed by an 8 hour drive was worth it , as it felt like the perfect bookend to a journey that had been sparked 10 months earlier through a chance meeting with producer and Texas Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Stephen Doster at my kitchen table back in Scotland .
A conversation took place that revealed a shared love of albums and artists and a classic style of recording that captured a “ lightening in a bottle “ effect which led directly to me arriving in the real Texas to make the new record “Paint Your Sky“, conceived and written in 6 months , then recorded and mixed in just 10 days .
Inspired by a book about the making of Bob Dylans iconic “Blood On The Tracks” album , I asked Stephen to put together a team of players for the sessions and he really delivered in spades .
Bringing together a rhythm section of Dony Wynn on drums (Robert Plant , Robert Palmer , Dr John) and George Rieff on bass (Dixie Chicks , Joe Walsh , Jacob Dylan) .
On piano and keys was Kevin Lovejoy ( John Mayer , Spoon ) with JM Stevens engineering and Stephen himself on guitars (Willie Nelson , Joe Cocker, Stevie Ray Vaughn , Little Feat) as well as producing .
As for the theme of the album , it mirrors both my own personal journey and that of the The Searchers which is , just keep going and manifest your own destiny .
Doorways are used in the classic opening and closing scenes and throughout the movie to show that everyone is always on the threshold of a choice , and you always return to a new chance to Paint Your Sky .