I had grown a little weary of weepy, romantic songs that treated conflict, war and tragedy with an ‘if-only-we-could-just-get-along’ kind of sentiment—brushing over genuine struggle as if the writer or singer could wave a magic wand and establish world peace with the mere stroke of the pen or the sound of his voice. Such songs have always struck me as watered-down, untrue and most of all, demeaning to those who have actually experienced the horrors of war and terror.
In Brothers in the End, two opposing warriors are resigned to perform their duties to their countries and faiths, but realize that beyond this, they are brothers.
You got your church and I got mine
But above the spires and the domes
There is one light that shines
Perhaps this admission, I thought, as I wrote it, might be the only way clashing cultures stand a chance of finding common ground. In my youth we studied John Donne. This line really stuck with me:
“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. . .”
A few weeks ago, busy recording my new record, I got a call from SRG records regarding a possible duet with Brian McKnight. I had been waiting for the right moment—and the right singer—to record Brothers in the End. And so I jumped at the chance and put everything else aside. I was very happy that Brian understood the song in the same way I did and was willing to give his all to the recording…