Love Letter To A Record: Thomas Keating On ‘The Bitter End’ By Right Away, Great Captain!


Written by Thomas Keating on February 15, 2019

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Thomas Keating – Right Away, Great Captain!: ‘The Bitter End’

The first time I heard you I was living on the Central Coast, eighteen years old and confused as hell. I’d borrowed you from my girlfriend’s CD collection and stuck you in my car to listen to while I took the forty five minute drive out to Putty Beach. I hopped in my run down car that my father had so kindly given to me the summer before and turned you up as the first track started to softly play. I would often drive around in this car with the music turned up loud, it made it easier to ignore the crunching noises the old thing made every time I took a corner or stopped at a set of lights.

I can remember I’d been drinking too much, I was unemployed. I’d just finished school a couple of months prior and I was enjoying the newfound freedom. I’d read about your music and the concept you’d created using a sailor at sea as a metaphor for a touring musician and this intrigued me as I longed and romanticised about being on the road myself one day.

As I drove with the windows down and chain-smoked cigarettes, I clung to every word on your record. Images appeared vividly in my mind the same as they do when you’re engaged in a book and I made the decision there and then that someday I would write like you.

I can remember the track “Cause I’m So Scared Of Dying” played as I drove over the hill just about to come down to the beach and they had signs up warning drivers to beware of falling rocks. I used to always imagine a rock falling from the cliff one day and taking my car off the road and who of my loved ones would miss me the most.

I was an anxious kid; I assumed the worst in myself and others too. But somehow the stories you wrote calmed me down, I felt comfort in my confusion because you sounded confused too. And I thank you for that, I thank you for the temporary relief your music gave me from the insanity of growing up, of finishing school, of trying to somehow support self. You gave me courage to give my own music a chance, to stand scared in front of audience and express myself. And for that I am grateful.

Yours Sincerely,

Listen to Thomas Keating’s latest single ‘Today I’m Staying Home’ here.


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