From the late and sometimes great stream & read site Paper Thin Walls, this was published in the fall or winter of 2006, for a special mixtape edition, going for a seasonal vibe. McCue was a Australian film reviewer who saw Don’t Look Back, then became the lead guitarist in a Saigon bar band, featuring covers of AC/DC and Hendrix (check her studio version of “Machine Gun,” on 2003’s Roll). Yadda-yadda she moved to L.A. and set up shop as a singer-songwriter, toured with Richard Thompson, and made albums such as the ‘06 Koala Motel, which features guest shots from John Doe, Nancy Wilson, and Lucinda Williams, though the reviewed track sounds solo and unplugged (still electric in its own way).
(Why don’t more songwriters get inspired by “good ol’ D.H. Lawrence, “ whom Jack Nicholson’s doomed character toasts in Easy Rider? Maybe they do, some of the restive folk-metal pagans at least.)
Anne McCue “Coming To You” 8.0
from Koala Motel (Messenger)
“Dear: I write from these walls, as Her Majesty calls.” Anne McCue and her acoustic guitar seem to call from walls too, with a little bit of echo; clear but not too loud. Voice and rhythm and eyes are tight, not strained, aimed just past and above the ears, even (or especially) in headphones. It’s a song from (not just in) prison, pparently (“serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure,” as they say on Masterpiece Theatre).
Whether the singer’s literally a prisoner or not, there are brief references to imposed conditions, though they’re basically the kind of restraints everyone lives in: day and night and mealtime and so on. And the imposed conditions of separation, in space as well as time. “The sun shines on you, wherever you are.”
Whatever’s happened or will happen, and wherever, this song is now the full-grown embodiment of thought and choice, as well as passion. It’s a call and a response. Connection remade in absence, and as “you course through my veins” in the night. A countermove, counterworld, but within the world: there’s no sense of escapism here. There is a sense, a glimpse of words within words, of intimate shades of meaning, in the lucid reflections of the singer, the one she’s singing to, and in between.
Anne McCue on “Coming To You.”
You’ve said that “Coming To You” is connected to Lady Chatterley’s Lover. What was it about the sensibility of this novel that appealed to you?
I read the novel when I was a teenager and didn’t like it as much as his other books, such as Women In Love, which is also a great film. But I was too young to get it. As it turns out, I think it is the best of his novels that I have read, because it has stood the test of time, and deals with themes that are still relevant today, such as the roles of men and women in modern society, how to create a meaningful life, what is really important. His message is that love is the most important thing, not social status or reputation. Often people rely on the appearance of being happy to get them through, rather than actual happiness which can come at a huge cost. We have to work to be happy and make sacrifices, as in the book, Lady Chatterley has to leave the upper class and all her wealth to be with her man, the groundskeeper. It’s a scandal!!
Was there a particular section, chapter, passage that evoked or distilled the song for you?
Yes, it’s the letter at the end of the book that he writes to her. It is one of the most beautiful love letters ever written and has in it the theme of chastity being a true manifestation of the love he feels for her.
Did the book suddenly seem to give you a glimpse or more of the genesis of a song, or were you already consciously forming one, and the book brought it further into view?
I had everything but the lyrics and waited for three years to find out what they were meant to be, till I re-read this book. Sometimes you have to dig in and wait. If you compromise a song, you will feel a great emptiness for the rest of your life when you think about it or hear it. It’s not worth it.
What do you think of Lawrence’s other work? Any favorites? Have you read his poetry?
I may have read some poems here and there but I don’t remember.I think he was a wild unruly hippy ahead of his time.
It’s like Kris Kristofferson says,
“I’d rather be sorry for somethin’ I done, than for somethin’ I didn’t do.”