“When I think of you it's just like ripples on the water/ sometimes it's a pebble, sometimes it's a brick/ some days gentle rain is softly falling/ some days it's a deluge just to think of it/ worlds collide, the earth can slip/ how the plates will slide and the mountains shift/ since you've been gone.” - Pebbles And Bricks - Peter Burns - Unsealed Road.

When Seddon singer-songwriter Peter Burns of Unsealed Road lost his youngest son Brendan at 19 in 2020 he found sweet solace in writing songs about him for his band's third album.

Now he is honouring Brendan who died after taking an overdose of prescription medications by launching his album Love In The Key Of Dogs dedicated to Brendan as a Lifeline fund raising concert.

Unsealed Road will headline the afternoon show on Sunday March 24 from 3-6 pm at Mamma Chen's in Footscray to raise awareness of preventable suicides.

The other artists are Bowlos fronted by Burns older son bassist Bill and Noah Coleman.

“We think it's important to have a light shone on youth suicide prevention, it's the biggest killer of young Australians aged 15 to 24,” Burns emphasises.”

Burns wrote his album entrée song Pebbles And Bricks and Cigarette Glow about Brendan on a disc featuring his other son Bill on bass.

“Brendan was the younger of our sons aged 19 when we lost him in 2020,” Peter revealed. “He had suffered for a few years with a range of mental health conditions and associated trauma and he managed to take an overdose of prescription meds. He'd expressed suicidal ideation for a long time but we proved unable to reverse that despite the phalanx of professionals on our side. We knew we were in deep trouble, at grave risk of that outcome and the possibility of grieving both in advance and in retrospect.

Three years on we're trying to find acceptance and to focus on remembering a beautiful young man who was special to a lot of people and a lot of dogs. He was brave, funny and kind, proof that only the good die young.

Pebbles and Bricks is kind of how we felt in those early days, trying to make sense of it, overwhelmed by the size of it. It's possibly the best song I've written and I found it helped me a lot.”

Burns featured photos of Brendan with his pet Labrador Jaffa on the album cover.

“That's Brendan on the cover holding Jaffa , our now 6-year-old black lab-heeler cross. This sketch was drawn by a young neighbour, Matilda Hope from a photo. Tilly was close to Brendan and did a beautiful job capturing his likeness and Jaffa 's. Our other dog is 4-year-old Jerry, a black lab-kelpie cross (mad as a snake). Both these followed Speedo the famous old black lab-beagle-terrier cross (dog by committee) who was well known in Footscray as a character. Brendan adored Speedo had a special affinity with dogs, a whisperer who even as a kid would fearlessly approach any dog anywhere, hence the title.”

Cigarette Glow is a letter to Brendan,” Peter added. “He used to eat cigarettes and would often sit on the back deck at night and smoke them end to end in the dark. When I wrote this one I compared that glow with Mars which at that time was clearly visible in our night sky. I still get comfort from seeing Mars.”


“Oh the dancing dog looks through my window/ stands in the garden looking over me/ yeah the dancing dog is m guardian angel/ my therapy canine when I feel lonely.” - The Dancing Dog - Peter Burns.

Burns used another Footscray canine landmark to source another song The Dancing Dog.

“It was on top of a bar also called The Dancing Dog for about 15 years,” Burns explained of his album launch locale.

“We'd played there a few times and when they eventually closed the business around 2018 they had a big garage sale and my wife Cath was driving past and put an offer on the Dog (a 4 metre high wire sculpture of an upright prancing dancing dog with a teacup on her head)! A couple of hours later they drove her around and I set about attaching her to a tree out the front of our home where she's stood since, charming all who pass.”

Burns also credits his wife Cath for several of his romance requiems.

Except for You definitely was,” Burns explained. “ Always Good and Need a Little Ray came out of Covid / lockdown times. Fall From Love is a trope that I've revisited a lot in songwriting.

“Another song that Cath inspired was Speakers. She was a big Gregory Porter fan and found a lot of comfort in his songs and incredible voice. After we lost Brendan I'd see her sitting with the headphones on listening to Porter night after night. I reckon I'm the only songwriter who has ever mentioned Conway Twitty, Gregory Porter, Hank Williams and Miles Davis in the same song! This song also references how we negotiated those early days of grief.”


“We hide the sky and kill the light/ we build it out, Fenceline to Fenceline/ we push it up and pull it down/ then we start again/ right to the Fenceline/ bit by bit we're losing it/ someone's made a Motsa from this multi-level shit.” – Fenceline To Fenceline – Peter Burns.

Burns also exorcised social comment about the high-rise growth in the western suburbs in another new tune Fenceline To Fenceline.

“Yeah for sure and also in the outer west where McMansions graze on the edge of the Western Plains,” Burns added. “If you look at drone shots of those endless new suburbs you see the roofs taking up the entire block. I get it, we need higher density especially the inner and middle suburbs but the back yard is in trouble if you can't have one in the outer suburbs.”

But it was a different consumerism that sourced his song Stuff .

“Well Cath and our son Bill are quite fond of Op Shops but I got the general idea from our obsession with Stuff as evidenced by the plethora of online buying options as well as the 2nd hand stuff sold in super stores,” Burns confessed.

“I can't talk, I've bought loads of unnecessary stuff, future landfill but yeah its a comment on consumerism.”

But another song Lightning Rod was laced with hidden humour.

“Ha! It's a euphemism and based on Eddie McGuire,” Burns quipped.

“If you read the lyrics, hopefully it'll make sense. Disclaimer, I'm a huge Collingwood fan!

“That's Shane O'Mara on electric guitar. I'd mentioned Redd Volkaert the famous telecaster wizard from Texas (nee Canada ) and we caught his show at the Brunswick Ballroom last year. Shane was pretty impressed and did a great job channelling Redd on this track. Shane produced the album and played on half the tracks, a wonderful player. Mick Robbins (Bass - long term collaborator) and Andrea Jennings (Drums - joined 2 years ago) are my current partners in crime.”

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