Over the last seven years one question seems to come up in post show conversations with fans more than any other, “How do you write?”
There is no right or wrong answer from my perspective, but I still find it very difficult to put into words my writing process.
With my new record coming out later this summer, I thought I would take some time and just show you what a song looks like in the earliest of stages. Before the drums, bass, and other accoutrements; Pre phrasing and harmony. This is what the new record, “Forever From Here”, really looks like.
“At First Sight”
If you can’t tell by the word Re-Write sloppily written at the top of the page, this song was written twice with two melodies. The initial birth of this song came while I was house-sitting for my friends Josh and Lacy while Josh was in Spring Training and Lacy had gone to visit. Donovan and I got together, and knocked out a very early version of this song, and shelved it. I revisited it a year or so later, and this is what came out of it.
“Nowhere Left To Run”
Sometimes songs take years, and other times they happen on the fly. I was told I needed one more song for this record, and that some of the ones I had didn’t really fit. I had never written with in the mindset of completing a record before, so it was a challenge. I was playing a show at a listening room in McKinney when a melody popped into my head. I quickly recorded it on my iPhone, and had lyrics for the chorus on my drive home. We finished the verses in the studio and cut the vocals right after. This one is my favorite song on this record because of what a challenge it was to complete.
Wasted is a song that was relatively plucked out of thin air. It was composed over many vodka drinks, and ATV rides one evening just outside of Denton, TX. We would do a verse, go chase cows, do another verse, drink, do the chorus, and then we drank again. Needless to say we payed the price for this song, but it was well worth it.
“Hard To Be Around You”
This is the first song I wrote that made it on this record. I went through a brief period of lyric regurgitation shortly before the production of “Faith, Hope, and Everything Else”. This guy is the only one who made it all the way through to the promise land of print.
“Forever From Here”
Sometimes you write a song that you throw never play, and sometimes you write a song that becomes the benchmark for every song you write from that point on. “Forever From Here” is definitely the benchmark. I remember everything about creating the song. The old couches we were sitting on in the living room of my very lived-in apartment. The shot of Crown Royal we had when we finished. The way I felt the first time I played it, and then looking over to Donovan and seeing he had felt the exact same thing. There are little moments in life when we surprise ourselves by what we are capable of creating, and this song was one of those moments. I will forever chase that high.
I have no idea what this song is about, or why I wrote it … but it’s awesome.
“One Of These Days”
“One Of These Days” made it’s debut at Music Fest in 2010. In many ways it is closure for myself and a period of songwriting that taught me a lot about what’s important in life and love.
This was an old song that got some live play, but never really found direction or an identity until it was recorded. Very glad to have gotten reacquainted with it post record. It’s very cool.
“What I’ve Been Waiting On”
This tune happened in one day. It started with a melody and a few words early one morning in Arlington, and grew to a song later that evening outside of Denton again. It really took flight in the studio, and has turned into one of the coolest tracks on the record. It is full of vibe and swagger, and I can’t wait to share it.
“Apart We Fall”
There is no picture for this song. It was written on my phone, in the van, on the way to Oklahoma City. This song takes a lot of influence from John Mayer, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. You will just have to wait to hear it, and imagine what it could say in the meantime.
This record is definitely a game changer more me, and although the music doesn’t accompany the lyrics in this post, I promise that you will be intrigued by what you hear, when you do hear it. Recording gets the most hype in the music making process. It is for sure the most exhilarating, but by putting this together I have ben able to transplant myself into every place where these songs were born. You may get nothing out of this, but I did … and I hope you do as well.
More of these to come as the record date approaches. There will be no paid for singles to radio and very limited promotional ads. This record must find it’s feet with the helping hands of all of you who care about what I have to say. Please RT or share or email anything you may find interesting.
Until next time …