People often talk of the difficult third album, but my third album was made up of new songs, and re-recordings of songs I had written in the late 1990s, so it wasn’t that difficult at all. It was my fourth album that proved to be the challenging one. If you look at the themes of my first three albums you’ll notice that a lot of the songs are about mythology. With The Cauldron Born I turned my attention inward to the way I felt about my spiritual path, and outward to the wider Pagan community. I had begun to travel and play my songs overseas, so was experiencing various Paganisms, and meeting a lot of people around the world. I’d got my music on iTunes, and had started a blog, a YouTube channel, and joined Twitter and Facebook. I had taken the decision to put all of my effort into my music, to see if it was possible to actually make what I love, my living.
After the album was released I read a review that called it a ‘beautiful rant’. I’m still not sure about that, but at times I can see where that comment came from – I was feeling a lot of frustration with the behaviour of humans, towards the environment and to other species, and you can feel that from the songs. The journey from mythology to what I saw out there resulted in very personal lyrics that I hoped were accessible to others.
The opener, Land, Sky and Sea, had a quieter, more reflective intro. The album didn’t start with a bang, it gently built, and that laid the foundation for the rest of the CD. From there into Green and Grey, one of my most loved, yet most misunderstood songs, into Willow’s Song, The Cauldron Born, On Midwinter’s Day, Only Human, as I look back on that album now I can see why it quickly became my most popular release. I knew it was going to be called The Cauldron Born way before I’d written the title track. Those words held so much magic and reflected how I feel about the journey of the initiate – from everyday life into the deeper Mysteries – bestowing a Fire in the Head, a flame I’d seen behind the eyes of many Pagans around the world.
It took a long while for the lyrics of the title track to arrive but finally the Awen flowed, and the song was finished. As I listened to the mixed recording it had such a big sound I never thought I’d be able to do it justice live, with just me and a guitar. So for years I didn’t play it at my concerts. Then, at one Artemis Gathering, I had finished my gig, but the audience just wouldn’t let me go unless I played the song. Like I say I’d never performed it live before, so the audience shut the door of the venue and said whatever happened in there, stayed in there. My own audience had given me permission to just have a go. So I did. And man was I wrong! The Cauldron Born has been a staple in my set ever since and I have that audience to thank for that moment.
A few months ago a Pagan Music podcast created a list of their top 30 Pagan albums of all time. Of course it was subjective, as any music list would be, but I was contacted by the organiser to ask for my postal address as they had something to send me. They said that some of my albums had made the list and I was delighted of course. But then an envelope fell though my postbox with a beautifully produced certificate, and as I read it I saw that The Cauldron Born was at number 1! Amazing.
I am very proud of this album. It marked my final shift from amateur to professional, with this album it felt like I had truly found my voice, and for that it will always hold a very dear space in my heart.