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KEEP THE STORY ALIVE – This was second last song written for the album, I actually wrote the verse riff while showing my daughter Wednesday some things on the guitar. She’d kinda tuned out after a few minutes as she does so I kept playing around with the riff and within about two hours I had the entire music for the song written and recorded. My Wife London came home late from work and straight away started singing a melody over the pre chorus which is actually on the final version, hence her writing credit. The whole song was wrapped up that night. It was the general consensus by all involved that it should be the first single. The video was directed by my good friend Brian Cox who I’d worked with back in LA on the Superheist video for ‘Fearing Nothing’ and then again here in Australia on “Wolves In Your Headspace.” Brian is becoming a force to reckon with over in Hollywood and it’s a great honour and great experience to get to work with him so often. He flew over to Australia purely to shoot my videos. Makes me feel special.

ZOMBIE WITH VITAL SIGNS – This one was written in 2015 and the mood of the track is inspired by some great 80’s Australian rock bands. Mondo Rock, The Machinations and The Church. The main guitar lick in the verses was written and played by Rich De Silva who plays live guitar for Rifleman. He also did the artwork for the CD. He’s a very talented guitar player and has influenced me over the years with his chord voicing. His influence is all over this album. I will mention that he was too humble to include his name in the credits for this song.

BLOOD, ASH, HOPELESSNESS – Like most of my songs, this one started out with a simple chord progression that I recorded straight away to Pro Tools with no clue where the song was going from there. This is actually very common in my writing process. The song took itself in the direction you hear on the album. I really love the feel of this one, it builds nicely into an almost anthem type chorus. No bridge or middle 8 in this song for some reason, it just flowed nicely from verses to choruses and out. This is one of my favourites to play live.

SATELLITE – The last song written for the album and one that was smashed out in one night. Pretty much wrote itself and I love the way it came out. It’s a very simple 2 chord verse and 3 chord chorus but the chorus vocal melody is super dreamy and catchy. Gives me a very Aussie Crawl vibe which I love. They are one of my all-time favourite Australian bands, kind of appropriate considering we’re both from Mount Eliza. Some of Aussie Crawls songs are about the very area I grew up in. ‘Boys Light Up’ is great example. Satellite is another one of the songs I shot a video for with Brian Cox. This will be released later in the year.

OCTOBER SUN – To me this song helped shape the mood of the album. At the time this was written in 2015 I already had 20 something songs. This track helped me direct the album where I wanted it to go. It has a very cool feel and delivers the emotion of the lyrics exactly how I’d hoped. This song was also the first on the album to feature prominent keyboard parts. I have hammond organ, string parts and a great piano hook line in the chorus that is still a pleasure to listen to.

THE LAST LOVE SONG – Rifleman goes pop. This one is more upbeat and one of the latter songs of the pack. The song itself came together very quick, finished and recorded in full in one night. Once I get on a roll with a song I’m a man possessed until it’s finished. I don’t struggle with putting the basics of the song in place. After that I might mess around for a few days changing a few things but generally the song is done and dusted pretty damn quick. I don’t procrastinate much. I love the guitar tones in this song, my USA Fender Stratocaster features heavily in this one. Unlike bands I’ve recorded with in the past where there have been real heavy guitar sounds, Rifleman allows me to experiment with different guitars, tones and tunings. I have a fairly large collection of guitars and most of them get a run on this album.

SILVER & GOLD – The title track. I’d struggled to come up with an album title, given the subject matter of this song, I decided to honour the significance and deeply personal sentiment by using it as the name of the album. The song is about some very deep feelings that I very rarely speak about or even let come to the surface. When I was very young my older sister Connie died from Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 7. I’ve always felt her presence and guidance and always felt lucky that I’ve been able to live a full life. I live in her honour and never take my existence for granted. I’ve never touched drugs and never risked my life foolishly as a result of knowing how precious and fragile life is. She didn’t get the chances I’ve had, so I do it all with her in my mind and my heart at all times. Silver & Gold is the first time I’ve braved the subject and It’s a wonderful feeling to make music and sing that song for her. She is watching over me and I really hope she digs this song.

DON’T CHANGE – Once again a resounding nod to my obsession with 80’s Australian rock. INXS, along with Midnight Oil were my favourite band in my formative years. I was in my early teens when these bands were at their peak. Their legacy is burnt deep into my DNA. Bands like The Church, Spy Vs Spy, The Models, Aussie Crawl, Matt Finish, Mondo Rock, The Choirboys, The Angels, Richard Clapton, The Birthday Party, Mi Sex and The Divinyls all helped shape the way I write and perform music. I always wanted to do a rockin’ version of Don’t Change and I’m stoked with the way it turned out.

FLESH AND BLOOD – Another of the latter batch of songs for the album. Started out as a full song of just one solitary guitar and single vocal. I lived with that for a while and then decided to work the song more, making it build and get bigger and bigger towards the end. It made for a great sing along type chorus that really works well live. Lyrically the songs is about being accountable for your own moves and shakes in life. Don’t look to others for the answer, look inside yourself.

LAIR ON THE RADIO – This song came together in a very weird way. I had written and recorded the music back in 2014 and totally forgot all about it. I hadn’t named the Pro Tools session properly and it just vanished into the darkest corners of my Mac Pro. I came across it about 2 years later, late one night when the family had all gone to bed. I started singing a melody and before long had the whole vocal part written. I was so pumped to lay down the tracks that I sang the whole thing in a really quiet almost weird falsetto voice so as not to wake anyone in the house. I had full intentions of re-singing it the next day. When my wife heard it the following morning she said that was it. Song done. She thought the vibe was perfect, so that what’s on the album. The sneaky quiet demo take.

THE SEVEN SUMMITS – Featuring guest vocals from my live in female vocal specialist and wife London Gabraelle. I had the chorus melody locked down but was stuck on the verses, I’d tried all sorts of approaches but nothing sat right for me, Enter Mrs. Norton. Nails it in one. So there it is, a duet if you will.

SURRENDER – Probably the creeper on the album. It has a ghostly vibe to the verses and then kicks in with that “happy/sad” vibe that I seem to come out with a lot. It’s sad songs over major chords, no idea why I do it but it’s a common theme with my writing. The song is about measuring your own mortality and resilience to the challenges of life. Even in one’s darkest moments we must always remember that things get better. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how hard it gets, keep going. Keep going and things will turn around.

ANY GIVEN DAY – Another track featuring the resident female vocal specialist. This could be the “ballad’ of the album in some ways. My favourite part is the bridge. Really big vocal hook that chills out down to cool little mid-section that cruises back into the chorus. London’s vocals added the contrast I was looking for in the chorus. It’s subtle but made all the difference for the song.

THOSE SOUTHERN LIGHTS – This song was written early in the piece. I like the different direction the song takes towards the end. A whole new hook separated from the rest of the song but somehow fits nicely with whole song as a package. A little ode to Midnight Oil in this one too (if you know your Oils you’ll pick it).

SHEPHERDS – This song is about as political as I get. I’m a staunch vegan in real life but I’m not a preachy one. This song is about how I’d like the world to be. If I were President, I would ban the senseless slaughter of animals for human gluttony and vanity. I would lead the world out of the darkness of human and animal suffering. There’s a huge element of karma going on in the world today. The less we harm the defenseless, the more we protect our precious planet, the better off we all will be.

BURN – The only instrumental on the record. I think at one stage I had every intention of writing vocals for it. But it just never seemed to need them. It’s damn good as is.

COME JOIN THE MURDER – The secret bonus track on the CD version of the album. It’s a cover of The White Buffalo’s song from the last scene of the Sons Of Anarchy series. Great song and one I really wanted to cover, more so for myself. Very happy with the result and I think I’ve honoured the original version but also given it my own bit of kick. This song also features what could be the only ever actual guitar solo I’ve ever recorded. Mainly because I’d just been given a Fender EVH 5150 (Eddie Van Halen) replica guitar from my good friends at Fender Australia and just had to let rip for Eddie’s sake.