"14 hours a day behind a mule and a plough/ trying to make a dollar, baby/ I don't see how." - The Promised Land - Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb had a good reason to enjoy his seven Australian tours - they're a fertile font for his songwriting.

The New York born and latter day European based guitarist hooked up with ARIA
Award winning singer-songwriter Troy Cassar-Daley and wrote Put Your Love First on a previous tour.

"I wrote a song last time I was here up in Brisbane with Troy," Bibb told Nu Country TV.

"It started by me buying one of his records and he really spoke to me. So I made some phone calls, found out people who were connected to him and invited him to one of my Brisbane shows. I went to his place the next day and wrote the song. It has a kind of country feel.

I would love to see that song come out on the next album I record in Nashville. It's a song similar in feel to The Conversation that I do with Ruthie Foster, and River Blues. It's a relationship song where you should give your partner the benefit of the doubt by putting your love first and not being quick to anger - all those life's lessons, all absorbing."

Australia is fruitful for New York born and latter day London resident Bibb - husband of fellow songwriter Marianne and father of 13 year-old daughter Matilda.

"I remember writing The Promised Land in Byron Bay," Bibb joked.

"I remember keeping my friends waiting for dinner. I went to my hotel room and turned on my little recorder and put down a snippet of the original idea."

Another new Bibb song Spirit I Am had its roots in a previous Australian visit.

"It was about the time of reconciliation regarding the Aboriginal culture, it was in that context," Bibb revealed.

"I originally thought of having a didgeridoo in the introduction. All the songs are inspired by travels."


"Step by step we're walking to freedom/ on a rocky road others worked before/ step by step, we're gonna meet 'em/ every little light shines for evermore." - Step By Step - Eric Bibb-Glen Scott.

When Bibb wrote Martin Luther King tribute song Step By Step for his 15th album Get On Board his karma was rewarded.

The song is a focal point of new civil rights movie Gospel Hill starring Danny Glover and Angela Bassett.

"It was inspired by Martin Luther and his widow Coretta," Bibb, 57, revealed.

"I had a chance to submit a few songs and they also used My Father's House. I wrote Step By Step with my producer Glen Scott in Ireland three years ago. We recorded it originally in Dublin. I was very excited about it and getting the phone book and finding the appropriate studio."

"I'm not sure when I'm going to appear on the silver screen but I have been wanting to do that for a long time," said the singer whose songs have also been used in TV series The District and the Canadian movie The Burial Society.

Gospel Hill, also starring Adam Baldwin, Taylor Kitsch and Julia Stiles, depicts a former sheriff and a civil rights activist revisiting a murder of a fellow civil rights worker in the sixties.


"Baby, I'm trying to slow down/ but know we need the dough." - Conversation - Eric Bibb.

Bibb also cut a duet with Texan touring partner Ruthie Foster, who also has a song in the Gospel Hill movie, on his song Conversation.

"I wrote it in the U.K. and recorded it with her in Cambridge," Bibb recalled.

"I'm always on lookout for right moment to jump into studio with someone I love. It's about ruminating on difficulties of being a workaholic and family man and keeping checks and balances You kind of forget there is a life beyond touring, recording and writing. You have to remind yourself to pull up and give attention to other people."

Bibb was also elated that Foster recorded two of his songs on her new album The Truth According to Ruthie Foster.

"I'm chuffed about that," Bibb added.

"She recorded Love In The Middle and Thanks For The Joy. They were inspired by Ruthie and stories she would tell me about her mother who has passed on. She was important in Ruthie's development spiritually and musically, giving her advice in Texas. She lived near the Brazos River, near Gruene. Ruthie is now living in Austin.

She would sing these songs as part of her concert repertoire. They were songs she grew up with and would tell stories about her family and church and influence of her mother."

Grammy winning slide guitarist Bonnie Raitt also guests on If Our Hearts Ain't In It.

"I was on tour in the states and saw a bunch of televangelists preaching from their pulpits and so much of it struck me as show business compared to spirit business," Bibb explained.

"So that song came about as response. I'm thinking it's all good if you really bear with it but if you are just posturing that's not so groovy."


Bibb has already recorded his 16th album - Bukka's Guitar.

"It was inspired by Bukka Washington White - the older cousin of B.B. King," Bibb revealed.
"He was a great blues man. I wrote the song about being able to play his famous National guitar that was bequeathed to a relative. I wrote the song based on playing that guitar.
I want to make people aware of who influenced me."

top / back to diary