Friday, January 1, 2010

Brooke McInerney

January, 2010: My cousin Brooke, who’s now in Seoul (not “into soul”, as misheard by Darren) briefly stopped in Sydney en route from Koorawatha back to Korea. Months previously, we’d planned a large, family sing-sing for the eve of New Year’s Day, which was fine for me as I’d spent the previous night walking the city streets with Tim, but maybe not so ideal for my brothers, who positioned themselves gently on the sofa, at a safe distance from our loud, enthusiastic voices. We sang for hours. My highlights: the songs where Ada played the bass notes on piano, or sang the chorus - ‘Long Black Veil’ and Bob Wills’s ‘Stay All Night’; then ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, ‘Stormy Weather’ (co-written by inner-west resident Leo Sayer) and ‘Jamestown Ferry’, which Brooke and I have sung together often enough now that we are pretty solid on our parts; Jimmie Rodgers’s ‘Waiting For A Train’, which is a favourite of my uncle’s; ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’, which Brooke played – I was surprised by the fourth chord; and I loved it when everyone else (more quietly) joined in for the album that had been a favourite of both households, Best Of The West, Vol. 1, which includes ‘Battle Of New Orleans’, ‘Stand By Your Man’, ‘North To Alaska’, ‘El Paso’. But my favourites are always Brooke’s songs. She’d emailed me ‘YOU’RE THE ONLY HANDSOME MAN LEFT NOW THAT PAUL NEWMAN’S DIED’, and it’s always thrilling finally to match the harmony I’ve separately worked up to the real-life voice. Brooke’s songs always have at least a few sharp edges, and although ‘…PAUL NEWMAN…’ (best ever song title) is strictly a love song, “Sometimes I feel like you’re my only home”, it’s one written by a very restless rambler, who, on her travels, says in her brutal way, “If I could forget you, life would be so easy”. But, damn it, she can’t! Wes, Brooke’s boyfriend, said, “What do you say, Lucy?: ‘They’re all fictional’.”