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The End Is Not The End

The End Is Not The End

Behind the Lyrics

Journey through melodic landscapes as Bradley Stewart and The Thornbirds unveil their captivating new album ‘The End Is Not the End’. Embrace the raw emotions and introspective lyrics that paint a profound reflection on life’s ever-changing cycles. With each track, discover a sonic tapestry that intertwines hope and resilience, reminding us that even in darkness, new beginnings await. Let the music of Bradley Stewart and The Thornbirds guide you on a transformative exploration of the human experience.

The End Is Not The End

The End Is Not The End is Bradley Stewart & The Thornbirds debut album.

The End Is Not The End was the first single to be released. It debuted on Sirius XM on legendary Los Angeles DJ Rodney Bingenheimer’s show. I wrote the song around some interesting themes that had been rolling around my head for a while. The song talks about a woman driving a car, focused on the road, everything going on as it always does. Day in/day out kind of a thing. The second verse goes into the extraordinary moments we experience, the things that “many never see”, as these things are unique to our own stories.

I included the line  “we are of the sun and stars, our bodies are like holy cars” lyric to tie the theme back to driving. The final verse was written around something I’d read in an article , where someone said “sleep was the only freedom I ever knew”. I found that line fascinating and decided to use that as the last verse, essentially saying, “sometimes it feels like the only peace we can find is when we’re asleep, but hey….at least we can still dream together!” The chorus “the end is not the end” serves as a mantra, because as we experience more and more, we begin to understand that there are no ends or beginnings. The end is not the end of anything….even if we’re talking about death. There is always more, even if we can’t see or understand what that truly means.

Raga Hymn

This is all Mike DeLong. I gave Mike an impossible (for any normal person) task, to essentially listen to lots of Ravi Shankar and create something on sitar that could feel at home on a Ravi record. So in essence, I asked him to play an instrument he’s never played as close to the greatest ever player of the instrument as possible. No big deal. It was meant to be the intro to “Passing Of The Seasons”. As always, Mike delivered.

Coming Down

This song was written by Brendan Steakelum, when we were about 20 years old. At this time, I was struggling to find my way in life. My teenage years were pretty awful. I lost my father in a car accident at ten years old and spent my high school years trying to make sense out of something extremely painful that could not be changed. As I reached my early twenties, I began to experiment with psychedelic drugs, but I was too fractured to garner any benefit. I just became more fractured and lost. Brendan wrote this song about helping me find my path. The line “I think I’ll walk you home tonight” is literally about Brendan walking me home in a state where I didn’t know where I was. “You’re brave enough to go, but I know there’s no celebration”…..it’s just him telling me, “come on now, time to wake up and learn to move forward”. This is a really important song to us both, very meaningful. It’s always a privilege to sing it.

Up The Chain

This song was written the same day as Harvey Wallbanger and a demo was also recorded. This song was inspired by two things, a movie I had seen about the life of Edie Sedgwick and how she was run into the ground by the whole NYC Andy Warhol “Exploding Plastic Inevitable” scene, and also by a close friend of mine who had suffered from issues with addiction. The line “I think it’s time to come down from the sky/I think you know the reasons why” is in reference to seeing someone disappearing further and further into the cloud of addiction. This song is pretty heavy for a Thornbirds tune…I think I remember basing the vocal melody on Black Sabbath, I thought it would be interesting to depart from the usual wheelhouse of writing, for a bit.

Harvey Wallbanger

Harvey Wallbanger was written after looking through a book of 1950s cocktails. I thought the name was fantastic. It’s not mentioned in the song and has nothing to do with it, though. This is my attempt at writing a classic-style blues song. Every great band has at least one. Some bands, like Cream and Zeppelin, made a career out of this stuff. This was written with thoughts of an exciting new relationship in mind, like that period of time when you can’t stay away from each other. I recorded a demo by myself and laid the foundation for what would be this recording. On the album, I basically replicated my demo. The difference is the blistering guitar solo by Mike DeLong. He starts the solo mimicking my slide solo, from the demo….then launches into a mind-blowing psychedelic blues solo ala Hendrix or Clapton, circa 1968. This song is one of my favorites on the record. Lots of soul.

She's In Love With Me

This one was written on the porch of my old house, which was a little stone fort right at the foot of the Appalachian Trail. I was sitting outside with Brendan, we were working on some new material together. Beautiful day, birds singing, etc. We sort of came up with this song all at once, it happened fast. We recorded a version of us just playing it right there, with the birds chirping, into an iPhone, so we wouldn’t forget it. It was written the week after I met my wife, so there’s a lot of hope and love going on in it. It’s a happy song. Brendan’s music perfectly underscored my melody. I wrote the line “my love is flowing out to sea, a million miles away from me, but she is always by my side, and she’s in love with me” because Danielle was in Hawaii on a vacation during the time the song was written. The ending part with the horns and the wild guitar originated from the way we used to perform the song live, with this rave up at the end. Figured we’d add it on, as a tribute to those sweaty gigs we used to play on a regular basis, long ago.

Passing Of The Seasons

This song came together in a very odd way. During Covid, Brendan sent me this music in a phone recording, in a text. I loved the odd chord progression and the flowing feel. I took his actual phone recording, uploaded it into GarageBand and wrote all my contributions around it. I recorded a demo with drums and vocals over the phone recording. Once we landed in the studio to create this record, we decided to build the song around a drone, like how an Indian raga is formed around a drone. Musically speaking, this is probably the most unusual song on this album. It’s essentially a raga folk song. The lyrics to this song are about life. It’s about being young, finding yourself, finding love, finding gratitude, finding presence, and finding peace with the end. It’s the story of my life, in a 3-minute song.

Fly Away

Fly Away was written after having a conversation with a friend. During the conversation, they mentioned that they were traveling to California, soon. That conversation inspired me to write a song based on the idea of a woman traveling to California to start over. The song was inspired by my dad’s favorite band, The Moody Blues. I attempted to capture their unique, floating style in my approach. The melody and the mellotron were my interpretation of how they might have approached this song. The song also features backwards guitars and a beautiful acoustic solo by Mike DeLong.

Some Of Us

A few years ago, a family member gave us a piano. It used to sit on the sunporch of my old house. One day, I sat down and just played this song. It fell out of my head like wine on a white rug. The music was already there, I wrote the words as I played it. It’s about not settling. It talks about what I’m doing vs. what everyone else is doing. Some of us are waiting for a friend, some of us are waiting for the end, I was always waiting here for you to come along…. you make my heart sing a better song.

Let's Be Natural

This was written in another lifetime, in my twenties. It’s about being in a relationship with someone who refuses to see the cracks in the wall. The only way to make it work is to act naturally, to be yourself…. but they just can’t see it until it’s almost too late. The song is inspired by The Byrds and the Laurel Canyon sound of the 1960s.

Time Machine

Brendan Steakelum wrote this one. At the time it was written, we were spending all our time playing in Philadelphia. Dr. Dog was taking off and we were a small part of an extremely talented Philly music scene. This song represents that time, it’s a happy little song with a catchy chorus. We know the way and they don’t, is the overarching message. It’s an exercise in minimalism, well-constructed and assembled. The harmonica part and the almost acoustic only intro is a nod to our two shows with Three Dog Night, as we performed this song on both nights with just one acoustic guitar, a harmonica, and our voices.


This is Brendan and I trying our hand at country music. We were in love with Sweetheart Of The Rodeo at the time, Gram Parsons, Flying Burrito Bros., etc. The song is about a relationship that didn’t work out due to bad timing and what would happen if those people met in the future…. would you pretend you never met or wake up together…. who knows? All I know is that this song contains the best bridge we ever composed. I always describe Horses as “a sleeper”.

Razor Love

The final song on the record was written by Neil Young. It was a song that was very meaningful to my wife, we used to listen to it almost every night. I also fell in love with the song during this time. It’s just beautiful. As part of my wedding gift to Danielle, I recorded a version of this song to be played at our wedding for our first dance. This is that actual recording, that we danced to at our wedding. Three guitarists helped me create this. Mike Yesconis, Brendan Steakelum and Mike DeLong all tried their hand at it. This recording has little bits of each player, as it was extremely challenging to capture the exact feel we were looking for. Bennie Sims must have mixed this song a hundred times, until we reached this final version. It’s a tribute to my life with Danielle and a tribute to Neil Young. A great way to end such a meaningful project. If you believe in endings, that is.