Seán Mathews Irish Singer, Guitarist and Songwriter
There’s a point you get to in life where you realise you aren’t going to change too fast. Usually at that point you start to know your weaknesses. We know ourselves enough to avoid our weaknesses. Musically speaking, a weakness I avoid is dwelling heavily on a piece of writing or a recording. There is this middle ground where the song lives. Where the essence of the song exists. And then there’s all the fluffy bits. Fluffy bits can be important. But not as important as the essence. So here’s what I tend to do:
Write the song -> Record a little demo -> Leave the song alone for a week
Go back to the song and gauge the mood of it -> Tweak it a little bit
Leave the song alone for another few days -> Decide where the song fits in.
Plenty of times this has gone out the window. I have gotten carried away in the moment by what was influencing and driving the song. Then the song ends up being shared on social media when it shouldn't have ended up there. And that has been a weakness I have tried to avoid. It’s at points like this where it is crucial to get some mentoring. Admittedly, I have lacked any guidance in my songwriting life. So I have ended up learning the hard way when a song's message is mixed up or if a song did not reach its potential.
This brings me to ‘Holy Hole’, the song I shared with you all this week. I considered many things before sharing the song. But the overriding thing was that the essence of the song felt appropriately timed. Lots of music artists hold back at this point and say “I have to get to the studio and wait til I get such and such to play strings on this and then we’ll do that”…Usually by then the fluffy bits take over. Videos. Press Releases. Promotion. Production. Mastering.
Sometimes the importance of an issue and raising awareness takes a front seat over impressing your peers with Fluffy bits. With “Holy Hole” this was the way I was thinking. I didn’t want to moan and share some quotes on Social Media. I wanted to share my bloody song because it says what I want to through music.
The Church and the State have so much to answer for. The victims are getting older and older. And they need to know what exactly went on over their heads. This HAS to come out.
For posterity alone, let’s say I momentarily give in to my weakness of over analysing ‘Holy Hole’, what does the song say?
“While the Taoiseach and TD’s they kneeled down for Mass, Our babies slept under the grass”
A green area with a small grotto was the only remains of the County Home in Tuam. Under the green area is a mass grave that still hasn’t been fully excavated. What I called a Holy Hole. Learning about this grave appeared to be the beginning of Catherine Corliss’ realisation that there was wrongdoing in Tuam. And from records in the 40s and 50s there appears to be enough evidence to show that the State was aware of the conditions in the County Home.
“While the Emperors Bath sits in the Vatican state”
Nero’s bath in the Vatican is an artifact that is not of ecclesiastical significance. It is estimated to be worth over 2 billion euro. It is an example of the type of Wealth the Church had acquired from the Roman Empire yet they ran these Homes in Ireland more or less at the expense of the State. They supplied cheap labour on all fronts from the people in the Laundries to the Nuns in Charge. The Church never purges it’s wealth but expects worshippers to do this. Is this so they can buy their way to Heaven?
“Children are wanted by American friends, Ordered by mail and the money was sent”
100’s of children in the mother and Baby homes were adopted by Middle Class American families. How many? We don’t know. How much money was received by the Church after the plane fare? We don’t know. We know most of the families meant well. But does that mean the truth shouldnt be out there? No. They shouldn't be allowed to bury this.
Everything I said was with careful consideration and respect. And through sheer human nature I can’t but be pleased when the song hits a note with somebody. This leaves me open to criticism and I accept that. I’m brave enough to put up with a few arseholes. No problem.
Have a nice weekend,
NOTE: I want to apologize at this point because I say “Orphans” in the song where I should have said “Children”. Because it was well known that the Orphans were treated slightly better than the kids of fallen Mothers.