At different times, travelling, creativity, active pursuits, or aligning myself strongly to my work, have formed my priorities. About 2016, I was trying to find a sense of place for myself musically and had begun frequenting informal music gatherings - mainly migrating long-dormant woodwind skills towards learning traditional Irish flute. I also had a more settled routine and was dividing my time between Belfast and the Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal.
I remember sitting for an hour one cold January afternoon after work in a coffee shop in Derry, writing thoughts in streams-of-consciousness, and later realised it was almost poetic in places. Within a couple of days, a song had emerged, and I found that after that, more songs just came. One thing leads to another. I thought about recording a couple of songs, and then met Maurice Dickson through a friend for who’s album I was recording some whistle and saxophone. I began recording my own music while still writing mainly for guitar, but after listening to early recordings and a helpful conversation and advice about what was emerging, I somehow transitioned to write mostly for keyboard.
The intent to write songs has always been there. When I returned to the UK in 2008 after a few years abroad, my piano had long been out of tune, and my guitar had become the subject of an insurance claim. I picked up a new guitar, and soon after when I moved to Scotland, a keyboard. I almost had to learn how to live with them again, as for the previous number of years travel and study had been a priority. I bought a spiral bound A4 notebook in a small independent stationary shop on Hyndland in Glasgow’s West End. A couple of songs on The Turning – Skimming like Stones and Ask Yourself – were moulded around that time. That notebook has always sat on the stand of my keyboard. Ten years later, when it got soaked during one of the last days of recording The Turning, I comforted myself in the thought it has served its purpose. The notebook was full, it’s content had found embodiment on the recording.
Song-writing, I think, is a way of coming back to myself. Every song is the reconciliation of layers of thought, feeling and questions. Some songs are observations, some just arrived, some I knew were there, but I had to find. The Turning is unhurried - it was recorded over a year and a half, a couple of the songs included were written when I was well into recording. Definitely an evolving project, the result is I think more mature and rounded than the initial concept.
Anna Grindle comes from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is an educator, coffee-drinker, cyclist and traveller. Anna began in music as a woodwind player, spending summers busking in Belfast as part of a saxophone quartet. Anna has written songs intermittently over the years, mainly for guitar and more recently keyboard. Anna’s first album Journey (2004) was in service to a cause, being self-released in support of fundraising before several years of voluntary work in Uganda. A prolific journal writer, life observed and reflected is intrinsic to Anna, and is core to all her song-writing. Recent years have brought what Anna has described as a ‘flurry of song-writing’, and The Turning, is the result. Begun as a purely creative endeavour, friends in the music world persuaded Anna that it deserved to be heard widely. It is consequently her first ‘properly available’ (physically and digitally) body of work.
Essentially a solitary project, the song-writing on The Turning is an open, searching and honest interrogation of lived experiences and observations. Songs bear witness to questions, loss, process, memory and hope. The focus is on the lyrics, set against a mellow harmonic backdrop, and the words breathe on a simple and uncomplicated canvas.