Glass Coffin (A single to benefit John Anderson)

by Bill Donohoe & Karl Broadie

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1.
04:12

about

As I write, it was 12 months ago to the day, night, or early morning as it may have been. After lots of good food and a couple of bottles of red wine, my good friend John Anderson and I were kicking back in a Sicilian villa, only 100 meters from the Mediterranean Sea in the small town of Spadafora. We had just experienced a wonderful day of laughs, wine, and food tasting in the foothills of Mount Etna, a revered wine region of southernmost Italy. Our families had all gone to sleep, and we were up late reflecting on life, the universe, and everything.

For most of the day I had forgotten that John was suffering from the physical effects of ALS (or MND as it’s known down here in Australia, and elsewhere). Except for the few moments of getting in and out of our hire car and occasionally into the portable wheelchair we nicknamed the “Go-Kart”, John was John, and the rest of us were relaxed (some were assisted by the fine wines on offer).

The conversation got serious for a little while, and I felt comfortable asking John about what lay ahead for him as his disease progressed. Whilst I am not planning to go into the finer details of that conversation, one sentence containing two words sent chills up my spine, and in that moment made me understand the reality of what John was facing.

John said, “I'm not looking forward to spending time in a Glass Coffin".

I shared that phrase “Glass Coffin” with my wife and a few close personal friends to help explain what this disease could do to you, and the effect it has on you as it takes hold. Even typing it now, it still sends chills.

In preparation for my trip to visit John in his hometown in northern Virginia earlier this year, I was thinking about what I could give a man with this disease for his birthday. A very generous soul and wonderful songwriter Matthew Ryan had dedicated one of his songs, called “Anthem for the Broken” a few months earlier (see sidebar) to John to help raise funds to assist John and his wife Amanda with John’s mounting medical bills, and for the modifications required to their home to make John’s living more comfortable.

As most of John’s friends and family had already made their donations via the purchase of “Anthem”, I thought if I could only write a song that was personal to John, that he could also use for the cause, he may be able get a second round of fundraising, and a well-needed kick to the finances.

Within 20 minutes, plus a couple of minor edits later, I had a set of lyrics for a song titled “Glass Coffin”. (My first song, ever). It just poured out.

Not being musical, nor able to sing in any key (I usually sing in them all at once), I needed a demo recording. I discussed this with songwriter Karl Broadie, who offered to have a go at writing some music and adding his voice. Karl reworked a couple of lines to make it flow with his music. Here is the final demo version we have gifted to John and Amanda for you to download and reflect upon.

I hope it moves you enough to make a further donation to assist John and Amanda with John’s ongoing care. If you don’t like it, just download another version of “Anthem”.

Happy birthday, mate!

Bill Donohoe

September 17, 2014

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credits

released October 27, 2014

Karl Broadie – Biography

For those wanting to know a little more about Karl...

Sydney-based Scotsman Karl Broadie was born into a family of philosophers, musicians, and artists.

With his distinctive, emotional voice, Karl Broadie has the ability to capture the attention and heart of a listener in just a few bars of music. Broadie’s entrancing melodies are enhanced by his earthy and poetic lyricism.

Recognised as one of Australia’s most unique and dynamic songwriters, Karl has also enjoyed international success. He took first place in the Americana category of the prestigious International Songwriting Competition in 2006 for his hit single, "Black Crow Callin’ ", and has seen two of his albums top the Americana charts in the UK. Karl has toured with the likes of Patty Griffin and Kim Richey.

UNCUT and MOJO are among the many international publications which have praised Broadie’s song craftsmanship and “sweetly cracked” vocal style and drawn comparisons to Bob Dylan, Jeff Tweedy (Wilco, and Australia’s own Paul Kelly.

His most recent release is the acclaimed album A Side B Side Seaside. You can find more about Karl and his music here:

karlbroadie.wordpress.com

Facebook

www.facebook.com/pages/Karl-Broadie/14041835804

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Lyrics (Bill Donohoe)

You hold your head so high
You won’t allow the world to pass you by
As life slows down, your spirits stay strong
To savour every moment, we help you along

If dreams came through oh wouldn’t that be great
Then maybe you’d end up with a different fate
A partner with no beginning and no end
A man we are all proud to call a friend
A man that reads and writes
A light that shines so bright
For so many hope is lost all too often
Please help me break out, and shatter.... this Glass Coffin

Miles apart and nothing between us
Friends forever, music never will leave us
In our minds constantly you will be
Your spirit will live alive in me
A man that reads and writes
A light that shines so bright
For so many hope is lost all too often
Please help me break out, and shatter.... this Glass Coffin

You support me strong, the love of my years,
Eternally together, we burst the tears
You walk and talk forever brave

This disease will not become our slave
One day my friend we’ll be on that trail
Hang on tight and we’ll ride your tail
Dreaming of that special place

Where there is no Glass Coffin
A man that reads and writes
A light that shines so bright
For so many hope is lost all too often
Please help me break out, and shatter.... this Glass Coffin

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about

John Anderson Benefit Fairfax, Virginia

This page is dedicated to raising money to help alleviate the financial and emotional stress of John and Amanda Anderson while they navigate John's battle with ALS. Every dollar raised here (minus Bandcamp's distribution fee) goes directly to John and Amanda to help with their medical costs and living expenses in light of this devastating disease.

Read more about ALS at the link below
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Contact John Anderson Benefit

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Track Name: Glass Coffin
You hold your head so high
You won’t allow the world to pass you by
As life slows down, your spirits stay strong
To savour every moment, we help you along

If dreams came through oh wouldn’t that be great
Then maybe you’d end up with a different fate
A partner with no beginning and no end
A man we are all proud to call a friend
A man that reads and writes
A light that shines so bright
For so many hope is lost all too often
Please help me break out, and shatter.... this Glass Coffin

Miles apart and nothing between us
Friends forever, music never will leave us
In our minds constantly you will be
Your spirit will live alive in me
A man that reads and writes
A light that shines so bright
For so many hope is lost all too often
Please help me break out, and shatter.... this Glass Coffin

You support me strong, the love of my years,
Eternally together, we burst the tears
You walk and talk forever brave

This disease will not become our slave
One day my friend we’ll be on that trail
Hang on tight and we’ll ride your tail
Dreaming of that special place

Where there is no Glass Coffin
A man that reads and writes
A light that shines so bright
For so many hope is lost all too often
Please help me break out, and shatter.... this Glass Coffin