Breath Between

Here’s the story. My Canadian friends Eric and Mary are driving around Cape Breton and a song comes on the radio. It is the title track of David Francey’s twelfth album The Breath Between. 

I can understand. When Eric and Mary lived in Belfast we talked a lot about poetic songs with great lyrics and a spiritual underbelly. I can imagine my friends turning a corner on the Eastern Canadian coast and hearing Francey sing…


Another year

That's had us see

The passing into


Souls and hearts

And voices stilled

Before that sun

Could climb the hill


We hold them close

And we carry on

In the breath between

The here and gone


… before shouting “Stockman would love this.” So much so that I got that rare email every 10 years or so, telling me so.

My immediate investigation into the record had me asking how this Scot who moved to Canada at 12 and didn’t start releasing records until his 40s had passed me by.

Even better than that title tracks I was salivating at how Francey delicately sets theology into song too. I love the everyman (and woman) faith of:


The sky was crying long and hard

And Jesus wept by the hospital stairs

And I stood and lit a cigarette

Burnt offering in place of prayer 


Francey is a revelation. There nothing fancy. He’s a rustic conversational storyteller in the traditional songwriter sense with a wee sprinkling of the Scottish in occasional fiddle, touch of accent and soul.

Elsewhere Narrow Boats has the sense of place of fellow Canadian Bruce Cockburn, I Called It Love is look back at moments of love in maybe the most radio friendly song and Time For The Wicked To Rest is a sermonette on the mount:


Too many lies too many years

Too much hatred too much fear

Too much avarice too much greed

To ever satisfy the need


It's time for the wicked to rest

It′s time for the wicked to rest

Sooner or later

Sooner the better

Would be best

Time for the wicked to rest 


Again I am loving the cleverness of the word play, words that seem to tumble naturally out of a discerning and gifted man sharing with us his insights on love and loss, that short life we live in The Breath Between.

I have said for 30 years that I am drawn to Canadian music because it still has the song at its heart. Here’s another huge dollop of evidence. My new songwriting hero David Francey sitting snugly alongside Cockburn, Fearing, Sexsmith and Edwards. 

Thank you Eric and Mary.


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