Big Country Info Big Country Info


9 May 2012

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Tom discusses each song on The Crossing in order, from beginning to end. Comparisons of demo vs album versions, analysis of lyrics, comments on arrangements, etc.

In A Big Country

  • The song that made Steve Lillywhite cry when he first heard it.
  • It went through several changes, as Tom demonstrates.


  • A big favorite of Tom’s, which will always be linked to the incident on the video of “The Seer Live.”


  • The start of the tradition of sad words but uplifting melodies?
  • Tom reveals his fascination for Stuart’s tight pants in the video, along with his lack of guitar, doing that silly dance.
  • Tom shares the story of the live performance of this song from Sutler, Nashville in 1999, where the audience sang full 4-part harmonies.
  • “Chance” (excerpt) – example of harmonizing audience vocals from the Sutler, Nashville – 9th July 1999.

1000 Stars

  • Another big favourite of Tom’s, especially as a show opener.
  • Lyrics about nuclear war, but as mentioned, it is hard to see how.

The Storm

  • The first true epic, with an ethereal mood, going through several sections. The debut of e-bow harmonies.
  • Investigation of the differences in the lyrics between demos, the printed lyrics & what is sung on the album. Were the words changed at short notice?

Harvest Home

  • The demo vs the early Chris Thomas-produced single vs the album version.
  • The bizarre but lovable video – band on a picnic, going into a factory/barn, grabbing instruments and playing.
  • Tom’s favourite version may be from the Seer Live in NY video – a real “hoedown”!

Lost Patrol

  • Love given to the “live coda” as demonstrated on Without the Aid of A Safety Net, where it sounds like the song is over, but they come back and get into it again
  • Arrangements – the demo opens with picking, while the album brought out the e-bow. The “tribal horns” in the verses. The use of effects giving the anthemic feel.

Close Action

  • Another huge favourite of Tom’s.
  • Hard to understand what the words refer to, but the heart understands them, and they make sense/feel right.
  • The message of someone being there for someone else is really endearing.

Fields of Fire

  • The song that got Tom into the band.
  • Lots of hooks, so many guitar parts.


  • The epic closer, going through many movements. Magical, ethereal, cool, malice, darkness, mysterious, mystic.
  • Inspired by H.G. Wells’ story “The Pollock and the Porrohman” from 1895.
  • The opening on recent tours with Mike, where they included a reading from the original story.
  • Interview with the band from their first trip to America, 1983.