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We Were Born To Glory (2012)



The Story back to top

We Were Born To Glory (2012)

WE WERE BORN TO GLORY is inspired by the idea that all life is born with the potential for glory. I therefore distilled my journey into individual songs that are emotional snapshots of life through my lens as a human being. Of which I am viewing not only my own life (past, present and future) but the world at large. It is a celebration of experience.

Musically I set out to make a timeless pop rock record like the albums I loved when I was growing up – all the while keeping my voice as an artist and staying true to modern times. I am still contemporary, and I have certainly not made a period piece. However, I wanted to take myself on an emotional journey through song, like I experienced when I was first discovering music. My lyrical sensibility had to remain intact and honesty of message as well. The reason I loved those old records so much is that everything had a melody. Not just the vocals, but the bass lines, the guitar lines, the drum fills – everything had a purpose. Nothing was superfluous. Each note had intent. I also wanted to remain current and embrace modern colours, so I have incorporated drum loops and ambient creations.


The Credits back to top

All music and lyrics written by Royal Wood
Published by Songs of MapleMusic Publishing

All string, horn and orchestral arrangements by Royal Wood

Produced by Dean Drouillard and Royal Wood
Recorded at Studio PM by Pascal Shefteshy. Strings and horns recorded at Revolution Recording by Joe Dunphy. All additional recordings done by Dean Drouillard at Hepbourne Loft Studio, except self-engineered sounds recorded at Verge Music Lab by Josh Van Tassel.

Mixed by Pierre Marchand at Studio PM, except “When The Sun Comes Up” mixed by Howie Beck at 13 Clouds Studio.

Mastered by Joao Carvalho at Joao Carvalho Mastering

Royal Wood – vocals, pianos, acoustic guitar, rhodes, wurlitzer, synths, glockenspiel, percussion, stomps, handclaps
Dean Drouillard – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, synth, bass, upright piano, pump organ, stomps, handclaps
Adam Warner – drums, percussion, stomps, handclaps
Steve Zsirai – bass guitar, stomps, handclaps
Josh Van Tassel – additional drums, percussion, loops, atmospheric wonderment
Sarah Slean – vocals on “Brand New Life” and “ The Glory”

Gang vocals on “Always Will” by Royal Wood, Sarah Slean, Steve Zsirai, Adam Warner, Ron Leary, Frankie Whyte, Jason Chesworth, Kaye Sargeant and Leslie Pike

Horns performed by Byrden Baird (trumpet), William Carn (trombone) and Perry White (baritone sax)

The Foxy String Section – 1st Violin: Drew Jurecka (Concert Master), Rebekah Wolkstein, Kathryn Sugden, Tanya Charles. 2nd Violin: Sandy Baron, Bethany Bergman, Aisslinn Nosky. Viola: Johann Lotter, Kathleen Kajioka, Karen Moffatt. Cello: Kevin Fox, Alex Grant


The Lyrics back to top

 
1. The Thick Of It

Oh love we can stand
As long as we stand in the thick of it
As one

Oh love we can cry
As long as we cry in the thick of it
As one

Oh love we can dance
As long as we dance in the thick of it
As one

We’ll see the morning light
We’ll feel the morning light
Well it’s the morning light
Rising through the thick of it

As long as it’s us in the thick of it
As one

link | songs

 
 
2. The Fire Did Go

Like the furnace of the sun
When our bodies fused as one
‘Til the last of the urge was done
Well I will never ever know
How the heat from our love turned dark
Like the smoldering of a spark
Can we ever go back to the start?
Well I will never ever know
Just where all the fire did go?
Well I will never ever know

In the passion of our youth
We were lost in a haze of two
All I needed I found in you
Well I will never ever know
How the heat of our touch went cold
And the ways of our hands seemed old
We have nothing at all to show
Well I will never ever know

Oh how the way that our lips did burn
Well I felt it turn

link | songs

 
 
3. Not Giving Up

This room barely alive
From all the ghosts we have
I witness in your eyes
We may have nothing left
What is the meaning of?
The lies we tell as truth
One thing I’m certain of
Is that I’ve little more to lose

Well faith means little if
We have no where to stand
This wound is deeper now
And I’m a broken man
You held your words. A knife
The weapon armed again
But I’m not walking from
Our dream it grows as I begin
Giving up. Not giving up. Giving up

I used to feel us so on fire
And now I feel heat for the truth
With every flame of my desire
I’m not giving up on you

How love can teeter on
The edges of a blade
On either side it waits
The light and darkness play
I am not banking on
A simple twist of fate
I’m on a holy war
And how the battle ends today

link | songs

 
 
4. Will We Ever Learn?

Will we ever learn?
From what we’re feeling
Will we ever learn?
As sorrows deepen

Will you ever see?
Just what you mean to me

Will we ever learn?
It all but breaks us
Will we ever learn?
When it forsakes us

Will you ever say?
How much you love me
Will you ever say?
No one above me

Oh my we’re wasting time
Oh my we’re wasting time
Oh yes we’re wasting time again
Will we ever learn?
Will we ever learn?

Will we ever be?
Behind the curtain
Will we ever be?
In a life that’s certain

link | songs

 
 
5. I Want Your Love

Well now I see you
Your pretty dress
I skip a beat I must confess
For I am stealing a glance
A look
It over takes me and I shook

I Want Your Love

You can’t be real
You’re fantasy
I fall to you on bended knees
I can’t believe it this lightenin’ bolt
Let’s get naked and begin the show

Well now I feel it
Your hands
Your lips
You take me places as I sip
I must be dreaming
I feel the wine
My skin is hot over the line

link | songs

 
 
6. When The Sun Comes Up

I don’t believe it
It’s back again
And it is creepin’
Inside my skin

Cause’ now I feel the boat is sinking. Turn the lights down.
I need to close my eyes again and think it through
I need to gain a new perspective. Turn the lights down.
I need to close my eyes again and wake anew

Oh it will better when the sun comes up
Oh it will be better for us two
Oh it will better when the sun comes up
Oh it will be better if we choose

Will we escape it?
Will we survive?
A new beginning
Another try

Cause’ now I feel the plane is crashin’. Turn the lights down.
I need to pull the covers up and think it through
I need to join a new collective. Turn the lights down.
I need to pull the covers up and wake anew

It’s always better when the sun comes up
It’s only hours to go
It’s always better when the sun comes up
It’s only hours to go
It’s only hours to go
Yeah!

Oh it will better when the sun comes up
Oh it will be better for us two
Oh it will better when the sun comes up
Oh it will be better if we choose

Know it will be better when the sun comes up
Know it will be better for us two
Know it will be better when the sun comes up
Know it will be better if we choose

link | songs

 
 
7. I’ll Be Gone

Reasoning. Oh the final move
I’m a fallen man knowing what to do
I hit the ground for illusion’s through
I’m no longer waiting on me and you

I’ll be gone…

Stand alone in your battered dream
As the water falls a remembered scene
Suffering is a calling card
When the drama soothes
And the joy is hard

Life’s a wager that cannot lie
For it leads ahead as we cast the die
Now we one are divided here
As our fists are clenched
And our tempers flare

You can stay where you are in your barren yard
Scribbling plans every day in your house of cards
Finding truth finally with the curtain drawn
Open wide in the light knowing I’ll be gone

Another sign in the sky ahead
Yes a burning star in a moment lead
Knowing now it will carry me
For the river flows
I don’t need to see

link | songs

 
 
8. Always Will

I woke to find my day brewing in the cup
With voices in my head refusing to give up
They’re here again, my love
Invading like the rest
Upon the doubt they feed and beat within my chest
The fear arrived in the morning
On the back of a dream
Oh my dear did you feel it to?
Hold me like you always will
And I will be renewed
Hold me like you always will
It’s all that we can do

Fearing what we’ll lose if we fall apart
Like a movie screen I watched them in the dark
The images alone projected in my eye
When we drift away and something in us dies
The fear arrived in the morning
On the back of a dream
Oh my dear in the night it grew

For if we manage to
Oh the way will be shown again
In the light of the morning 

link | songs

 
 
9. I Need You Now

Life’s too short to waste our time
If we’re hungry
Let’s get wine
Feel our heart stir from within
All this beating
All this sin

Sha-la-la…

You’re so pretty where you sit
Let’s pour ourselves over it
In this moment
In this life
In this bedroom
In this night

I know you’re a woman
I’m in need of what you hold
Oh yes you’re a woman
And I’m buying what you’ve sold
Yes I’m buying what you’ve sold
I need you now…

Let your dress fall to the floor
I’ll hang my hat on the door
Now we fall back into it
All this longing
In our lips

link | songs

 
 
10. Brand New Life

Come away
Take our leave from mistakes
Be reborn
To a world that is warm
It’s a brand new life of love  

In your eyes
Oh the stars they survived
No regrets
To be left
For the sun always sets
It’s a brand new life of love
And we’ll both get swallowed up
Yeah we’ll drink from the holy cup
My love…

All the hurt
Turn away from the worst
And forget
And forgive
That’s the gift that we give. That we give.

Oh when the moments are tough
It’ll be enough. It’ll be enough
Oh when the waters are rough
It’ll be enough. It’ll be enough

link | songs

 
 
11. Hard Thing To Find

Oh follow the way to the edge of the bay
And we’ll sail in your oceans blue
And the weight of the world it can all fall away
As we stare in the eyes of truth

Oh love’s not a hard thing to find my baby
Love’s not a hard thing to find

In the heart of the soul we can lose all control
As I dive in your waters deep
And surround all our skin with the light that’s within
We will say as we drift asleep

If it takes all night to believe me dear
Well there’s no place I’d rather be
Then inside you alive with the love and the prize
In the pulse and the sweat and heat

link | songs

 
 
12. Release Me

Oh say you will
Or say you won’t
Deliver peace. Release me
Oh say you will
Or say you won’t
Deliver peace. Release me

You’re drowning all the love we follow
Cursing every vow we made  
But I can see the place where we sprang from
I know we can be saved
You offer this
But handle that
Enough. Enough. Release me
These frantic lies
To satisfy
I read your mind. Release me. Release me

Oh say you will
Or say you won’t
Just open up. Release me
Oh say you will
Or say you won’t
Just open up. Release me. Release me

Oh you’re drowning all the love we follow
Cursing every vow we made  
But I can see the place where we sprang from
I know we can be saved
Oh I know we can be saved
Oh but I know that you’re afraid

link | songs

 
 
13. The Glory

We were born to glory
It filled us up with love
Living out the story
Since lightening from above
Yes we can have it all
We can be merciful
Go dancing at the ball

But we’ve been talking lately
About just what we feel
Caught in earthly drama
Instead of walking free
But we can hold it all
Outside ourself dissolved
Yes we can hold it all again

The light goes on and on
Forever it has shone…
Forever you

link | songs

 

The Reviews back to top

 

Pop Matters Imran Khan

Date: Feb 1 2013

Canada’s Royal Wood, who in these last ten years has made a name for himself in cabaret pop, switches gears on his sixth release for a more rock-oriented effort. Gone are the ragtime flourishes that were once his signature. Opting for a more direct approach, Wood focuses more on grooves than he does atmosphere, placing emphasis on the rhythm section and dabbling a bit more with drum loops and samples. Still present (and always the centerpiece) is his magnificent croon, delivered with restraint and yet rich enough to give each of these tunes a dusky shading. Wood’s previous albums were works that featured primarily twilit numbers, with songs of emotional longing and heartache. Wood shifts his worldview into the sunlight and trades in his languorous lamentations for an increase in bpms. The lean, cool beats of “Not Giving Up” sparkle with his usual instrumentation of piano and guitar, the chorus wallpapered with a small but sinewy string-section and the sound of a gong ringing through the mix. “I Want Your Love” features the low buzz of electric guitar and some soft touches of synth-pop to round out the edges; it’s a bolder move away from his noir-lush jazz-pop that put him on the radar of Toronto’s music scene a decade back. If you still pine for the late-night lugubrious pop of his previous days, you’ll find them in “Will We Ever Learn” and “I’ll Be Gone”, both numbers featuring a caramel-wrap of orchestral arrangements that lavishes upon the singer’s affecting vocals rather sweetly and thick. No matter what musical element he is in, Royal Wood imparts his songwriting with the same qualities evocative of his very name: lustre and class.

 

 

The Spill Magazine Bethany Geddes

Full of class, charm and a gentleman’s demeanour, Royal Wood’s We Were Born to Glory holds an old time vibe that showcases the beautiful quality of piano-based music and the simple pleasure of listening to a pure, untouched vocal performance. A more mature Pop sound, Royal Wood brings a sense of wisdom and a well-executed musical compilation that suggests he is not only capable of playing his instrument(s), but also excels at combining melodies, harmonies and vocal lines into something of substance.

This album is jam-packed with musical gems. While already possessing a natural talent for the piano, Royal Wood continues to push his musical ability by adding layers of harmonies, rhythmic drumming and strings, such as heard in “I’ll be Gone.” And while this album does hold a more mature sound, it’s not to say that it doesn’t also hold a sense of youthful fun. For example, listening to “I Need You Now” you can hear the upbeat drums and the catchy hook of “Sha-la-la-la” that brings the image of a sunny day and a walk in the park. The emotional and musical variation in this album is amazing. When you listen to “Release Me,” a simple song with mostly vocals and piano, you hear the bare-bones of what it means to be a musician – they feel for a living, and you feel that in this song.

Based out of Toronto, Royal Wood’s We Were Born to Glory is an album that any individual who appreciates real talent should possess and devour.

 

 

Ottawa Citizen Sandra Sperounes

Forget what you thought you knew about Royal Wood.

The dapper man loses much of his characteristic sombreness and adds flourishes of hope and swagger to his latest album, We Were Born To Glory.

The snappy 13-song collection of pop-rock numbers feels brasher and brighter than any of his previous five efforts, including 2010’s The Waiting, which earned him a Juno nomination for Songwriter of the Year. Instead of just crooning about the concept of love, he sings about getting naked — on sexually charged ’70s-flavoured tunes such as “I Want Your Love” and “I Need You Now.” This transition seems to be paying off — We Were Born To Glory entered the Canadian charts at No. 23 in July, his highest debut to date.

 

 

Canadian Blog Spot Bob Mersereau

Sophisticated, smart, and catchy as all-get-out, Royal Wood has put together his most elegant album with We Were Born To Glory.  Always adept at crafting a moving melody, Wood scores big with a bunch of high-end, hook-heavy and up-tempo gems at the start of the disc, before moving into some moving, and glossy ballads.  Lead track The Thick Of It sets the tone, showcasing his sweet harmonies and joyous pop moves, including a Byrds guitar riff and even a whistled solo.The hits keep coming, with the urgent The Fire Did Go driving along with a desperate drum beat, Wood wondering how to get back to the spark at the start of a love.  Chiming piano introduces Not Giving Up, Wood pledging to fight the good fight, “With every flame of my desire/I’m not giving up on you.”  It’s all radiant, with the glory of Rufus Wainwright and the emotional depth of Ron Sexsmith.  Our boy has the voice, too.  Listen to string ballad Will We Ever Learn, bound to melt the hardest heart.

 

 

The MusicNerd Chronicles

On his last record, 2010’s The Waiting, Royal Wood was in a considerably more contemplative mood when compared to his newest masterpiece We Were Born To Glory. These 13 tracks boast a considerably more upbeat pop edge. Wood wears the suit well (no pun intended), indulging his love of pop, embellishing his songs with lush strings, piano, guitar and more. We Were Born To Glory will quite possibly be one of the catchiest, well thought-out pop records to emerge from Canada this year. Get on this train now.

 

 

National Post Jesse Kinos-Goodin

Every inch a king…. The result is We Were Born to Glory is (Royal’s) most upbeat and cohesive album to date.

 

 

California Crush

The music industry is a business, with a focus on profitability, but the real test of a musician isn’t how many records they sell, or how well their songs do on radio. It’s whether they keep making good music. Wood’s discography, from his 2003 debut The Milkweed EP   to We Were Born to Glory, is a brilliant musical reflection on the human experience.

 

 

PostCity Ron Johnson

Wood is on the launching pad, and with this new album, his career is going to take off. Royal Wood has arrived.

 

 

Globe and Mail Brad Wheeler

I’ve always thought of Royal Wood’s dapper and pretty balladry as something for the dolls, less for the guys. His new album feels different. There’s a bit more charge to his trim song-craft – one might even say punch. The Thick of It strums like a missing Traveling Wilbury; Hard Thing to Find is a similar thing, but bigger with horns. Soothing melodies are in a grouping with those of Ryan Adams and Ron Sexsmith. Lyrically, the Toronto crooner is thoughtfully motivated, concerned with doubt and renewal. The latter thrust prevails: We are all bound for glory, if we could just get out of our own way.

 

 

Exclaim Rachel Sanders

The always-elegant Royal Wood loosens his collar on his fourth album, a selection of songs that are more playful and pop-oriented than his previous releases. You’ll even catch the man whistling once in a while. Though the Toronto, ON-based singer-songwriter’s lyrical content is as starry-eyed as ever, catchy choruses abound this time around. Building on the sound he tried out on 2010′s The Waiting, the arrangements on his newest collection ― guitars, drums, piano and strings ― give Wood’s love songs a grandiosity worthy of their emotional tenor. Though the sweeping strings can be overpowering during some of the quieter moments, they offer an emotional boost to bolder numbers like “Not Giving Up” and “Always Will.” More enjoyable still is the sassy, new wave-inspired synthesizer in songs like “I Want Your Love” and “When The Sun Comes Up.” It’s a creative departure that fits Wood’s songwriting style and reveals a spark of the sharp wit behind the sophisticated suit and tie.

 

 

Lithium Magazine Andrew Horan

We Were Born To Glory shows that Wood has a knack for writing great pop songs. With its lilting keyboard, ‘When The Sun Comes Up’ almost sounds like it could be a Cars song. The upbeat ‘The Fire Did Go’ has a sing-a-long chorus that will get stuck in your head for days. While the album does spend much of its time in pop-rock territory, Wood closes it out with the almost orchestral ‘The Glory’, a gorgeous, uplifting song. Wood has crafted a sterling collection of songs that finds him comfortably straddling the line between balladeer and popsmith, with ease.

 

 

TheRecord.com Robert Reid

Toronto-based, multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Royal Wood has everything it takes to become a big-time recording star. Co-produced by Wood and Dean Drouillard, his third release We Were Born to Glory is more upbeat than his previous ballad-drenched The Waiting. It advances (Royal’s) surefire road to stardom with great songs, vocals, arrangements and production.

 

 

SnobsMusic

If you’re looking for well-crafted, smart pop songs with ample hooks you could do a hell of a lot worse than Peterborough-native Royal Wood.  On July 10th Wood releases his highly-anticipated new full length We Were Born To Glory. The piano is Wood’s bread and butter.  It blends perfectly with handclaps to produce a delicious groove on “I Want Your Love”.  When combined with strings, like on “The Glory”, the result is extraordinarily elegant. A hint of twang seeps onto several tracks.  It gives cuts like “The Fire Did Go” a Justin Townes Earle quality.  The album opener, the whistle-laden “The Thick Of It”, heaves from side-to-side creating a catchy bounce.

 

 

Prairie Dog Magazine James Brotheridge

We Were Born to Glory sounds like a record that will draw in new fans. Wood’s pure pop sensibility, with every instrument and element in the right place at all times, continues to develop nicely, and his folk foundation oscillates between pop and new wave in a good way (think of a Ric Ocasek/Ron Sexsmith hybrid that somehow works).

Royal Wood has also been blessed with a ridiculously clear voice. It’s all welcome from this stone cold charmer.

 

 

Confront Magazine Steve K

I am, for the most part, bored with the whole Singer-Songwriter genre.  Likewise, I don’t often find myself impressed with what’s offered on Maple Music’s imprint.  And Royal Wood, this week’s person-of-interest kind of reminds me in tone and style of Paul McCartney, the Beatle I think the least deserving of success and adulation.

So you would think that, logically, I would hate the Hell out of Royal Wood’s ‘We Were Born to Glory’.  Surprisingly, the exact opposite is true.  I am thoroughly enjoying this album, because its music is rife with a sincerity I haven’t heard out of McCartney since he was in Wings.  It breathes refreshing energy into a musical style that’s underplayed in this day and age, and it does so without pandering or pretense.

The songs here have a folksy romanticism to them, an optimism that’s not overly cloying and a sense of lyrical timing and poetry that is too good to be fakedand neither ironic, sarcastic nor smug, as the case so often is with much of the Coffee-House Hipster music scene this album will inevitably fall into.