“Songs Across the Pond” is a new album that singer and songwriter Brady Rymer created in collaboration with UK-based musical artist David Gibb. The album is perfectly suitable for families and the melodies and lyrics are catchy, which is unsurprising considering that Brady is a three-time Grammy nominee.
The first single on the album is titled “Two Towns” and it was released with a music video. The lyrics playfully reference the differences between Southold, New York, where Brady grew up, and Belper, Derbyshire, where David grew up. All of the new songs on the album will be available from retailers around the world on July 31, 2020.
David and Brady became friends three years ago after David—who is a BBC Folk Award nominee—sent Brady a friendly email about his music. Since then, they have collaborated on music and traveled to concerts together where they have performed for delighted families. In light of Covid, the duo are creating virtual content and appearing in fun yet entirely online performances.
Brady and David recently discussed this collaboration and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in music and why did you decide to focus on family-friendly music in particular?
Brady Rymer (BR): When I was in 6th grade my older brother asked me to play guitar in the rock band he and his friends were staring. I said yes! We played all of our favorite songs by Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead. Since then I’ve always enjoyed it — playing music with friends, to an audience, writing & recording. It’s still fun. I started playing for kids and families when I had my own son – I started making up songs for him & then my daughter when she was born, and it was so much fun I had a new career as a kids/family performer. It chose me!
David Gibb (DG): I grew up in quite a musical household and when I was in school played in lots of different bands (most of which were terrible) and really loved it. When I was 18, I got into folk music and spent about three years playing the UK folk club and festival circuit. During that time, I was regularly being asked to do family workshops, and I realised it was something that I enjoyed, and that my music seemed to really appeal to families, both parents and children. I decided to write an album just for families, and six years later, here I am!
MM: Do you write the lyrics or melodies first?
BR: Songs come in all different ways. Sometimes it all comes together – those are real fun to write ‘cause you feel like you’ve just been hit by something. Sometimes a lyric idea will suggest a melody or I’ll be just playing around on the guitar and a new exciting thing will pop up & stick around, and I’ll fill in the words later on. I guess that’s why songwriting is so fun and why I’ve been doing it for so long — it’s different each and every time!
DG: In an ideal world, I tend to write them both at the same time. Often a lyric will come because the way the melody requires it to be sung. It fits perfectly like the lyrics and melody were made for each other. But sometimes if I can’t find the right lyrics, I can spend months scratching my head until something finally clicks. The ones that come straight away all at once are the best!
MM: Prior to working with Brady, did you collaborate with anyone else?
BR: Yes, with my grown-up band, From Good Homes we would collaborate on songwriting all the time. It can be real fun with 5 musicians – so many different ideas to play around with. With family music I’ve only collaborated in the sense of singing on someone’s track or them singing on one of mine. I think this is the first time I’ve collaborated to this extent, where we both wrote the entire album (12 songs) together and recorded and produced them collaboratively as well. Even the artwork, video production and marketing has been collaborative — pretty impressive considering where we both live — one guy in the UK and me in the United States.
DG: For several years I played in a duo as David Gibb & Elly Lucas, and I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with several songwriting projects which included some brilliant artists, but this is the first time I’ve made a whole record with another songwriter and performer that I really respect and admire.
MM: Was it tough to work with another creative person? Did you ever bump heads?
BR: No, it was actually very easy. I think we trusted each other and were fans of each other’s work — so there really was no fear or worry to begin with. We loved the contributions being made and welcomed them — in a funny way it took a lot of the pressure off of writing and getting together an album’s worth of material. I loved sending David a snippet of a song I felt was right and strong and couldn’t wait to see how he would add to it, and it surprised me every time — the great things that he would add. I tried to do the same with the initial ideas he was working up and sending me. It turned into a very fun, surprising & rewarding process to be able to trust your partner like that and believe that the finished product will be stronger and more interesting than maybe the original idea would be.
DG: To be honest, this process has felt a lot easier than making a record by myself. It felt like every time I ran out of steam or was unsure about something there was always someone else to pick up the reigns, bring some fresh energy and a new perspective to what whatever it was we would be working on. There’s so much of ourselves and our friendship in this record, that at times it kinda felt like the thing wrote itself. That’s not to say that we haven’t had to work hard to shape and produce it, but it felt like a very natural process.
MM: Which of the songs is your favorite and why?
BR: I love them all (just like my kids!) “Summertime Soul” is a fave. David had most of the song but I added some lyrical ideas for the chorus and my verse — David was inspired by that and wrote a great bridge. Then I was inspired by that and wrote a nice end bit and had fun writing a cool bass line. So that was a great example of starting at one place and ending up in a completely different spot — a place we both would have never guessed we’d get to.
DG: I feel a bit embarrassed, but probably “Travelling David,” NOT because it’s got my name in the title(!), but just because every time I hear it, I think of when we wrote on tour and it makes me smile. We were staying in a really weird AirBnB in the north of England, where all the rooms were huge and there were no curtains at all. The next morning over breakfast Brady and I got out our instruments and just started mucking about with this little tune. I love how much it changed and evolved into the song that’s on the record. Just like us driving up and the country, that song really went on a journey!
MM: How have you been keeping people entertained during the coronavirus lockdown?
DG: I’ve been working on some new music videos and writing some new songs, and I even managed to join Brady for one of his Facebook concerts which was great fun!
MM: What can people expect from your future concerts and music videos?
BR: David and I will be exploring the ideas of friendship, adventure, music making and traveling. The collaboration has been a blessing — not only a new album and a new batch of songs — but I’ve made lovely new friends, visited new parts of the world and enriched my life.
DG: Brady and I are working on some more videos for this record and we’re hoping that once the lockdown starts to ease up, we can finally play some of these songs live together. It’s tricky at the moment to see where things are heading, but we both live in hope!
MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
BR: David and I look forward to releasing this new music to the world. Creating videos and just doing all that we can to get the music in people’s lives. We both really do love this album, and it came from such a pure place of brand-new discoveries, friendship and two different but sympathetic sensibilities in music, art, life and family. We feel it’s unique in that way and can’t wait to share it with as many families as we can.
DG: I think we both want to try and get this album out far and wide, as we’re so proud of what we’ve made together and I feel like it’s the kinda record that everyone needs in their lives right now – full of uplifting tunes to make you smile and dance. Apart from that I’ve got my first ever book coming out soon called Too Many Bubbles. It’s all about a bubble bath that gets wildly out of hand and I’m really hoping people are going to enjoy it! It’s published by Simon & Schuster on the 20th August: https://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/Too-Many-Bubbles/David-Gibb/9781471182570
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