A True Heart Wears A Thorny Crown – interview w/Winston

We’re continuing our series of song by song interviews with Glen Laughlin of The Cherry Bluestorms for their album Bad Penny Opera.

W: A True Heart Wears A Thorny Crown is a remarkable title. Was it “borrowed” from something else?

GL: No, I don’t think so.

W: It’s also one of the most overtly emotional songs in The Cherry Bluestorms’ canon. How much of that is connected with the religious imagery in the title?

GL: The fact that I am decidedly not religious does not mean that I am not part of this culture or that I cannot relate to the iconography that is so much a part of it. If there is one thing that Jesus Christ is known for, it is his martyrdom. I was in a very emotional mood when I wrote the song. I had at least three people in mind, one of whom was Rob Collins of The Charlatans, who had recently died in a motor vehicle accident.

W: The interplay between the guitar and the organ is reminiscent of The Charlatans.

GL: I can’t deny it. I am a huge fan and the band I had just before The Bluestorms was very influenced by them. That band included Arlan, the organ player who played on this track as well as By Your Leave and Start Again. That was the first band I ever had where I was the only guitarist. It really gave me confidence and a lot of room to do what I do. That really contributed to what The Bluestorms became. As it happens, when we started The Bluestorms I was still concerned about that, especially since we didn’t have a keyboard player. Deborah’s former co-writer and guitarist was a friend of Arlan’s and mine by coincidence, so we got him in the band for a bit. It didn’t really work, but by the time he left I didn’t feel the need to replace him. Of course, some of the BPO songs are keyboard heavy if not dominated, so we ended up adding a keyboard player when we performed the full Opera.

W: This song is also the first Bluestorms song where you are clearly lead singing.

GL: There was never a decision that I would or would not ever sing my songs in the band. Deborah did a great job on our first album and there was no need for me to sing lead on those songs. Although I still did quite a bit of singing, it took a bit of pressure off of me and let me concentrate on playing guitar. When it came to the songs on BPO, it just happened that some songs were better for me to sing lead on. Sometimes it’s difficult to change the key. Sometimes the song is just better suited to my voice. Occasionally there is a personal reason that I would want to sing lead on a particular track. Our next album will feature Deborah on more songs, but I’m afraid you’ll still be stuck with me on a few tunes.

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