This week’s exclusive is courtesy of an artist who combines his gift for songwriting alongside his skill as a physician
Neal Barnard is not just a skilled songwriter capable of the delicate and weaving melodies found in tonight’s exclusive song; when he is not writing music he is a renowned the physician, who has authored more than 70 scientific publications and 18 books.
Having studied studied piano, cello, and guitar while a child, Barnard left his North Dakota home to study medicine in Washington, DC. His success in the field of medicine has seen him found the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, influence U.S. nutrition policies and help to replace the use of animals in education and research.
CarbonWorks is Barnard’s outlet for his musical gifts and sees him collaborating with Naif Hérin from Italy, New Orleans blues legend Chris Thomas King and an array of talented jazz, rock, classical, and traditional Vietnamese musicians.
Of today’s exclusive Barnard says that it: “Aims to show animals as they are, drawing its title from the fact that, although species are very different on the outside, on the inside they are all capable of similar fundamental experiences: both great suffering, and also great happiness.
“This song was inspired by a frightened little dog who was rescued, and who does appear in the video. But it goes further and looks at animals used in laboratories, and animals destined for slaughterhouses, as well as animals suffering from the cruelties that are simply part of nature.
“In the end, this song and the video are empowering, because they show us a better way of thinking about the species with whom we share the planet.
“Musically, the song begins with an accident. I happened to lean on the piano keys, playing four notes simultaneously. And I liked the sound of it, so decided to begin and end with those notes, played on the violin. The melody in the chorus uses a simple descending major scale. If you are ever stuck for a melody, you cannot go wrong with a descending scale, as The Beatles illustrated in I Want To Hold Your Hand and countless other songs. The other noteworthy thing is that the drums come in very late. We held them in reserve to allow the emotional power to build.”
Those of you who like rock, jazz and blues will find much to enjoy in CarbonWorks music, especially those with a fondness for the melodic writing of Cat Power and esoteric stylings of CocoRosie. As always, though, we’ll let you decide on that…