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Album 2: 'The Difficult Second' - notes

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TDS CD cover 9jul22.png

The hoped-for release date was originally for Summer of 2021, but due to a 'number of circumstances beyond our control' this was put back a year.

The album had a digital release on on 15 July 2022. A CD is now also available.

For this album, Fearful Symmetry co-creator, (and Suzi's cousin) Jeremy Shotts has generously stepped back to allow Suzi to develop the ideas in progress prior to 'Louder Than Words', to get them 'out of her system'. Nevertheless, Jeremy has contributed lyrics to an epic (15 minute!) track, ‘Warlords’, and continues to provide enthusiastic support, promotion, and his approval for the music as it emerges.

This second album carries the DNA, the philosophies of the first, the crossover of musical sub-genres, but without Jeremy’s eloquent lyricism.

Overall, though, the sound is still recognisable as Fearful Symmetry, especially with the return of Sharon on drums, and Yael adding her beautiful voice to 8 of the 10 tracks.

Featuring on 'The Difficult Second'...

Yael Shotts - vocals and vocal arrangements.

Sharon Petrover - drums/arrangements/mixing assistance.

Suzi James - guitars, basses, keyboards, mandolin, oud, e-violin,  percussion, backing vocals.

All words, music, arrangements by Suzi with Jeremy contributing the lyrics of  'Warlords Part 4/Battlestorm'.

Huge thanks to Jon Farley of ‘Checking For Echo Project’ for his assistance with plug-ins, mixing and mastering advice on The `Difficult Second. Please check out his superb albums 'Life & Other Short Stories: Vol1 & Vol2’ at


Also, thanks to Pat Sanders of Drifting Sun fame for his additional valuable feedback, design expertise, and assistance with CD replication services for The Difficult Second.

Album track notes

From Suzi:

Among these diverse tracks in the sand, may you find familiarity, comfort, hope, joy, amusement. Experience the songs at face value, or seek the not-so-hidden contemporary stories, “'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings”…

1. ’Mood Swings And Roundabouts’  - was something I overheard as I was pushing my trolley around the local supermarket. A couple of older fellows were catching up with each other, “So, how’s the missus?”, “oh, the usual - mood swings, and roundabouts”. I tied it into a jaunty song about separation - probably over one half’s particular taste in prog music.

2. ’The Difficult Second’ - about a faulty alarm clock. Maybe. Also, the ‘second’ track :)

3. ’Light Of My Life’ - a lot of us will have been affected by deep personal loss in recent years - not just through Covid. For the musicians gone, we still have their music keeping them alive. There’s more to it, but that’s all I’ll say right now.

4. ’Shifting Sands’ - an instrumental with a Middle Eastern vocalisation from Yael that includes classic micro-tonal intervals.

5. ’Eastern Eyes’ - in a similar vein - difficult to build a future without a solid foundation. It takes courage and clear-headedness to ensure security and equality for succeeding generations.

6. ’The Song Of The Siren’ - Greek mythology, or is it? Sexual predators appear in many disguises. I originally wrote this for an ‘80s rock band that I was playing in at the time. It’s changed a bit since then.

7. ’Hope’ - when it seems we have nothing left, or the world seems to be in turmoil, twisting itself in knots, there is always hope.

8. ’Sandworm’ - I wrote this about 10 years ago as an instrumental, but added lyrics two years ago. And then the remake of ‘Dune’ was released. Big fan here.

9. ’Shukraan Jazilaan’ - another instrumental using middle eastern scales, among others. The original version got its first airing about seven years ago at a ‘special’ birthday party for my cousin Jeremy Shotts - who introduced me to Yossi Sassi (& the Oriental Rock Orchestra) and his musician friends, plus my galactic guitar mentor Daniel Weiss.

10. ’Warlords’ - an epic. This started many years ago and has been through many revisions since. I wrote it for a prog band I was in during 1975-1980 called Bazazz.

I designed the cover with clues to the songs - plus my kitchen clock and me sinking into the sands of time…


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