Heaven’s Here For You And Me

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the passing of a very dear friend of mine, Ruari McCarthy. He is greatly missed by many and left a huge gap in the lives of a lot of people. Fortunately for us he also left a huge impression and many happy memories.

I had planned to do this post last night but i had to be through in Stirling for 9pm and was rushing about after work, which reminds me, i’ll do a post on Sunday about how last nights DJ set at D.U.S.K went. I’m just not exactly in the mood for talking bout things like that tonight.

Ruari passed away on the 29th of October last year, he was just 3 weeks short of his 25th birthday. He had suffered from epilepsy and asthma from an early age and took frequent aggressive attacks from both. He always had the courage and strength to overcome these attacks, unfortunately on the night he died it was a combination of both illnesses that proved overwhelming.

Ruari was one of the most genuinely nice people you could ever wish to meet. I could go into a whole description about him and how much of a brilliant, caring person he was but to be honest i’d find it too hard to locate the words to use to describe him. I first met him in December 2006, we were introduced through a mutual friend and before you know it, by January of the following year myself and Chris had convinced him to join a music project we had (Racecar Kayak). Ruari was so much more talented at music than i first thought. I remember the first jamming session we had i had thought to myself  “this guy is useless he can’t even keep in key with us”. How wrong was i?! Ruari had a unique and hidden talent that only his girlfriend Aiobfan knew about. His voice. Racecar Kayak was myself and Aiobfan on guitar, Chris on drums and Ruari on bass. We played post rock instrumental stuff, there was no singing, so little did we know what was lurking in that voice box of his. It wasn’t until summer 2007 when i went and seen him at an open mic night in Nice N Sleazys that i heard him singing for the first time. He had done two of his own songs and yes, i was impressed, really impressed, but it wasn’t until he did covers of  “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” by Jeff Buckley, “Here Comes Your Man” by The Pixies and “Glorious” by Andreas Johnson and made them his own that i thought “WOW”. I was in the midst of something special. He could go from high to baritone to whisper to scream to heartbroken to ecstatic and back again. But his voice was something that he rarely shared and like me he preferred playing instrumental music. There was a reason i liked just playing music though and not singing so much……….i can’t sing! Ruari’s decision however baffled me. Here was a guy with a truly unique voice who chose only to use it occasionally. I had tried to convince him to add vocals to a few of the Racecar Kayak demos but to no avail. We did however record a few tracks together. Sadly only two have seen the light of day. A cover we did with shared vocals and guitar of “So Real” by Jeff Buckley made a brief appearance on YouTube and an acoustic take of  “Stay, I Missed You” was recorded as a birthday present for his fiancee Aiobfan in 2008 with Ruari singing and me on guitar duties.

I could go on forever with stories about Ruari and say how much i miss him and how much i miss trying to decipher his Southern Ireland accent but i won’t. Instead i’ll just say that it’s been a hard year since he died but myself and his friends and family have kept out hearts warm by reminiscing about good times we shared with him and telling stories about his Irish humour. Because of his health conditions Ruari didn’t drink much, he didn’t need to he was as fun loving and honest and open as they come but when he did drink he morphed into a stand up comedian! You couldn’t shut him and his filthy tongue up. But we all loved it that way and i wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

I’m going to post a few videos of some songs as a tribute…

The first one explains itself…

UNKLE – Heaven

Where’s the Seraphim?
Where’s the money that we made?
Where’s the open gate?
Where’s the fortune that we saved?

Heaven’s here for you and me
With every falling curl
Heaven’s here for you and me
We gained ourselves the world

Hit the Motorway
I can take it all at speed
I got everything
I got everything you need

Heaven’s here for me and you
Scattered out with pearls
Heaven’s here for me and you
We gained ourselves the world

Where’s the warrior of light?
The gates of solid gold?
Paranoia, in a fight
With dreams that never fold
Heaven’s here for me and you
Scattered out with pearls
Heaven’s here for me and you
We gained ourselves the world
Heaven’s here for me and you
We gave ourselves away..

The second video is of a song that Ruari and Aiobfan shared a mutual love for, there wasn’t much they agreed on musically!

Lighthouse Family – High

The third is a video of a band that Ruari and i discovered together by accident at a random gig one rainy night in October 2007…..the song’s called “For Jonathan” and The Album Leaf had recorded the song specifically for a family that had just lost their son. I can’t think of a better way to descibe this song than heartfelt and so i’m going to call it “For Ruari” this one time and dedicate it to him.

The Album Leaf – For Ruari

And lastly, as my own tribute to Ruari i’ve recorded a version of one his favourite songs. The last gig he ever played was in June last year at Nice N Sleazys and he played this song, i have the live recording of it from that night but for personal reasons i’m choosing not to post it. There’s only a dozen people at most who have heard it and it’s likely to stay that way cos it breaks my heart to hear it. I feel likes it the last memory i have of him and would like to keep it my own.

But anyway, here’s my version of it. I’m sorry for the quality of recording and excess noise, it was done in two 10 minute takes. I happen to be really nervous when singing and hold the microphone to close to my mouth, it’s a comfort thing but unfortunately it creates a buzzing sound. I recorded it guitar and vocal first and then tracked another vocal over the top of it. I feel more comfortable having my voice twice in songs i record, it makes me feel like i’m singing along with somebody else. Probably sounds weird to some i know but it’s the only way i can feel comfortable.

MP3: Fragile X – Skinny Love

I know i’ve not exactly got the best voice but please don’t think of it as me trying to do a cover of a Bon Iver song, just listen to it for what it is, a tribute to a lost friend.

cronaím thú Ruari

S.I.T Wolf X

ps. i had planned to post a photo of Ruari but after consulting Aiobfan decided it’d be best not too.

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