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Dave explains the concept behind his new album, Answer ballads, released on 14th October 2013.

The idea for this album came to me in the summer of 2011, inspired partly by watching Tom Stoppard's 'Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead'.  Having always wondered what Jolene, for instance,  or Roxanne would have to say, if given the chance, I hit upon the notion of a collection of 'answer songs'.

I have allowed myself complete artistic licence in imagining both the background to, and fate of,  these fictional characters.  When compiling a list of songs to compose 'answers' to, I devised a set of rules:

1. The song to be answered must be written in the second person, allowing my  protagonist to answer in the same mode.  Thus I tried to avoid Paul McCartney-style 'story' songs, ('Rocky Racoon'etc)  whereby I would simply be continuing an existing plot:  I wanted 'me and you'  situations, so I could give previously voiceless characters a 'right to reply'. Careful listeners will notice that I broke or bent this rule on several occasions.

2. The song to be answered must involve a named protagonist, whether that name appears in the title (eg  'Roxanne' or 'Mrs Jones') or only within the song itself  (eg Dino, in 'The Boys Are Back In Town' or Billy-Joe in 'Don't Take Your Guns To Town').

3. I made a decision NOT to research any of the songs in order to find out if they were 'really' about an actual person or situation. Thus my 'answers' are based purely on my memory of these songs and on my reaction to them.  There is absolutely no basis, for instance,  in the original  lyric,  for imagining that Jolene would become a nun, or that Daniel's parents had died in a car crash. These are  purely my own fabulations.

4.  Similarly, I avoided tunes in which I already knew who the protagonist 'really' was (eg Eleanor Roosevelt in 'Mrs Robinson' , or John Lennon's mother in 'Julia'). I wanted to react only to the lyric, not to extraneous knowledge about the song's subject. 

5. Rather than 'what happened next' scenarios, these 'answer songs' tend (mostly)  to be psychological portraits. This is simply  a matter of personal taste.

I hope you enjoy the record.