Review: For David by Debs McCoy

For David

There are many reasons why musicians are moved to write and record. Creating art comes from the heart, the soul and the moment of inspiration. Often it can be a way to release emotion and express meaning beyond words.

This collection of piano-led pieces, brought together by Team Freshnet’s own Debs McCoy in her album For David, emerged when her dear friend David Greaves received a diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease.

Since December 2015, Debs began writing pieces of instrumental music for David. The pieces were written after spending time with David and at times when he was heavily in her thoughts. In the summer of 2016 Debs completed the set of 10 tracks which was compiled into an album. At that time a copy of the album was given to David and his wife Philippa and also to David’s parents in the hope it might offer some kind of comfort and alternate space to drift in and out of, however transient.

Debs has created a Just Giving page for the album to help raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association through donations in exchange for a copy of the album. She asks folks to donate £10 or more for the digital album but would be equally grateful for lower donations if people cannot afford this. You can reach the page here.

Foregrounding the purpose of the album, each track is numbered “For David” rather than titled.

Usually, reviews are written in prose. However, as this review was developed and published, Debs was moved to take the original words and re-craft them into poetry. So, in the spirit of respect for the creativity of the artist, I’m sharing her interpretation here, woven into the music that inspired the words:

fairy-like, gentle
hides within itself
plays with expectation
light touch….pizzicato rain on windowpane
daydream and reflection

deeper tones
hide and seek
resting into
meditative space
peace interrupted
unexpected phrase
well-placed forte
final notes
unanswered question

Changing mood
deeper tones
complex arrangement
emotional movement
into minor

no background
demands close listening
scope and sound
evokes landscapes
wind-swept hillsides
strong and purposeful
crying out for lyrics

in all but words
autumn leaves
carrying….bronze tones
towards winter

melded…urgency of dance
pas de deux
waiting to be choreographed
with ballet
melody to capture
hardest of hearts
hold them in a peaceful place

The album has received critical acclaim from Berlin based composer and producer Nils Frahm who included For David #4 in his playlist for Piano Day 2016. Fresh On The Net’s Tom Robinson applauded this “album full of wonderful instrumentals” and opened his BBC6 Music After Hour show on 1st October 2016 with For David #5 alongside a warm dedication to David and his family.

Any reviewer’s thoughts about this music can only skim the surface. For David is an album with peaks and depths, written for and inspired by a man whose life had meaning beyond the time allowed him. David passed away in September 2016, surrounded by the love of family and friends. He leaves a legacy which includes Debs’ tribute.

As Debs’ music for David continues to receive the praise it rightly deserves, it continues to make a difference in support of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

For David can be obtained through a donation to Debs’ Just Giving Page set up to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA)

Follow Debs McCoy on Soundcloud | Bandcamp |Website | Facebook | Twitter

First published in Angry Baby (in prose)

Angry Baby

Angry Baby is a self-confessed musical theatre geek who spends her time hunting obscure show tunes, and she’ll perform them if you ask her nicely. She’s also a passionate supporter of indie music, writing the Angry Baby music blog and occasionally releasing tracks on a micro-indie record label when there’s just no other way to get them out there.


  1. beautiful beautiful music, kudos to the Artist and respect for the cause

  2. Apologies for my VERY late response to this Flo. We’d had many emails that and responses on social media that I’d forgotten to leave a post on here.

    Thank you so much for such wonderful words and the boldness to publish those words I’d pulled from your original/draft review while both of us were talking about how to go about writing about instrumental music and the difficulties often finding words to describe the wordless.

    Much love
    Debs x

  3. ps forgot to also thank Kevin for his kind words x

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