Trains in the Night

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“Trains in the Night” is Francis McGrath’s second album, released in 2019.

Listen to the album


About the Trains

The twelve songs on “Trains in the Night” were composed and performed over recordings made by Peter Handford that appear on the album “Trains in the Night: Sounds of the Steam Age”.  I found the original recordings had a musical quality before I ever played a note. You can hear the original recordings on Spotify.

peterhandford

Mr. Handford’s recordings are used with the permission of UK’s National Railway Museum via the Science and Society Picture Library.

Peter Handford
Peter Handford
Here is a list of which of his tracks were used on each of my songs.

 

About the Radio Shows

As Paul Simon said, “Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance, everybody thinks it’s true.”  As a kid lying in bed, I loved listening to trains in the distance.  Similarly, I used a radio my grandfather (Mr. Robinson) gave me to listen to vintage radio shows when I was supposed to be asleep.  After scouring hundreds of hours of public domain radio shows, I found clips from 18 different shows and used them on the track “Voices in the Night”.

Here is a list and transcript of all the shows that were used.

 

Additionally, I found a wonderful pilot for a reality, radio show called “Train Time” that I used on “Destinations”.  Give it a listen.

 

Destinations

Passing notions wash over us at night
Without criticism, without cynicism
Daytime routines are nocturnal comforts,
Like re-watching Casablanca

There are no destined nations
Different destinations – one procession
Different rhythms – one harmony
The same tracks still pass Walden Pond

We can simplify or watch life fly-by:
Passed-over people, disconnected.
Grounded to our homes, grounded to the sea:
Our beds rock with the ocean waves.

*This poem appeared in the 2019 issue of di-vêrsé-city, the anthology for the Austin International Poetry Festival.

 

Sheet Music

 

Cover Art Fun

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Mario Leal (www.facebook.com/mariolealphoto/) shot the back cover outside of Bertram, Texas. It’s was easily 100 degrees when we shot this. The rails were probably 115 degrees. My head was on a towel but I could still feel the heat coming through. Mario shot several exposures while his son Miles painted me with a light. He then composited it and made it look like night. Amazing.