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Illustration by Paul Montgomery

At one point in their career, every performing songwriter will write a song about how they miss home. In 2006 I was nominated for a Canadian Smooth Jazz award against another such song, "Home" by Michael Buble and his co-writers (my story is that I was a close 2nd place). "If Only" is my song about missing home, or more specifically about missing my loved one while I'm away in some foreign city.

The song has been around in half-finished form for years - it was one of the first songs I wrote, but wasn't able to properly finish re-writing it until I'd gained years of writing experience. The intro section was written recently, in a songwriting exercise to write a "traditional verse-chorus song", the song form popular in the 1920's and 30's, when writers like Cole Porter would write an introductory verse section, followed by the more singable and memorable chorus. Songs like "It Had to be You", "Someone to Watch Over Me", and even "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" have a verse section which has been all but forgotten, with the more familiar chorus section feeling like our more modern verse-chorus form. Enough rambling...

More trivia... when I was rehearsing the songs with drummer Adam Bowman and bassist Matthew Lima before heading into the New Jersey recording sessions, I introduced the song to the band as a piano arrangement, but Adam suggested an electric piano instead. At first I didn't like the sound of it, but grew to prefer the more intimate feel of the electric piano part. Meanwhile, Adam grew to prefer the original piano arrangement. I broke the tie - after all, it's my album...

Lyrics for "If Only"