Crooked Forest Release: If Not Now (Acoustic)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today I have a special release which is a brand new recording of If Not Now. This song will be on my upcoming full-length record The Clearing but enjoy this alternate version in the meantime.

I’ve mentioned before this is the closest thing to a love song I think I’ve ever written and I maintain that thought now as I listen back to this version, so today seemed the most fitting day to put it out.

I tracked this on Saturday February 12th here at my home base and rolled some video footage to capture it as it happened. All in took a few hours starting in the afternoon and finishing around 8PM. I threw together the video early Sunday morning after tweaking the final mix.

In addition to being a completely different version from my previously released full band demo, this version also includes some original lyrics in the post-bridge that were scrapped from the first recording.


Pulling the fabric at the seams
Something about this feels so real to me
I want to show you where I’ve been
I want to tell you my best stories
And the ones I try so hard to forget

It sounds crazy, believe me
Like I was always supposed to know you somehow
Not just in passing but how it all went down

Can you show me
You’ve got my full attention
Backstage in the dressing room of my favourite venue
The lights are off and there’s no one around
Tell me when if not now

It’s when your eyes meet mine
Something about this feels too real this time
I want to know if you remember
The first time that I met you
I was nervous, and so embarrassed
But you pretended not to notice
I swore you knew

Tell me about your years of rebellion
Tell me when you thought you lost it all
How did you pick yourself back up and
How far did you have to crawl

I never believed in soulmates
But I think that word’s been misconstrued
All I know is I only felt connected
When I’d sit and listen to you
On the floor behind the door in the corner of my room
With Sony headphones on and the liner notes askew

About The Lyrics

I’ve talked a bit in part about what inspired this song on my Twitch livestreams and Twitter page but for those that are brand new to it (and I’m almost embarrassed to say it again now only because I feel like I mention this person entirely too much when I explain the origins of some of these songs and I low-key worry that that comes across weirdly), it’s largely inspired by the first time I met Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World back in 2013 outside The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, Ontario.

While a few of my other releases are riddled in their own ways with references to the band’s music, when I first put together this track it was one I actually didn’t necessarily intend to even sing myself – I couldn’t hit the notes I heard in my head but I knew Jim could. I never really intended to release it, instead only doing so to showcase it to him the only way I knew how after some failed attempts to get it to his ears privately.

But, given the changes I made to it and after sitting with it all this time, I think it’s safely nestled itself in its rightful place in the CF catalogue; All that said, for being the voice of all the things I needed to hear over the years, this one’s for you, Jim.

Getting back to the story behind the song: It was a couple days after my 23rd birthday in 2003 and while I had seen the band a couple times live previously and at times stood outside waiting to see if they’d emerge from where the tour buses sit, this was the first time they actually did – well, Jim and Tom did, anyways, which was a pretty big deal to me.

On that same night I had a pretty emotional night watching the band perform, at one point literally bawling during Hear You Me because at times it reminds me of my friend Robert who committed suicide in 2001. I happened to be close to the stage with an usually large space around me considering there was still a fair bit of time left in the set, so I was pretty certain that if any of the band happened to look in my direction they would’ve seen one of the most pathetic little meltdowns to occur at a show.

Incidentally that is also what makes this day fitting to release this song, because Robert passed on February 15th, and so a bit of a cloud hovers over Valentine’s Day for me ever since that happened.

All of that is to say, if I had to slap a date on this song to title it rather than what I did, it would be August 2nd, 2003 since just about every line in it goes back to things that chance meeting made me think about while writing this one.

On a simpler level, it’s about finding comfort in your favourite music and songwriters and finding someone that you think really understands you.

In all honesty I don’t think yet that I’ve been fortunate enough to find a partner who understands me in this way yet or loves me in the way that I want to be loved or in the way I believe it should make me feel, but If Not Now is about taking chances until you find them because tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

If you happen to like this song and want to hear more of the story, take a listen to “Driveway” off my solo EP Jestem Krzywym Lasem which was written in memory of Robert who I can only imagine was feeling the lowest anyone has ever felt on this day back in 2001, and I hope if you’re feeling that way too for some reason today you reach out to a friend of family member that you know and trust, or, like me, find some comfort in your favourite music.

Thanks for listening & have a good day!

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