Song By Song (For PR blurbs)

“My girlfriend was the first to hear these songs in their early form. Each time I came to visit her I would try and make it my goal to finish a song to play. We wouldn’t see each other for a couple weeks at a time to be safe but also allowed me to concentrate on writing this album.”

 

Two In Winter

“I’ve always wanted to write a song on the piano but never had the ability before the pandemic to do it. I found learning the piano to be meditative, completing my lessons I began playing some of my favorite songs in the fall. As winter came I thought of me and my lover as this farming couple just hoping to make it to spring for the planting season. To make it another year, I think, was a projection on myself of just hoping for another year to live, God willing. I think the piano embodies winter better than any other instrument, maybe from all those Christmas albums I listened to over the years to the starkness it can hold in it’s keys.”

 

Change The Stars

“When I first wrote'' Change the Stars” I had in my mind the same production that Phil put on it. After the madness of the pandemic and the protest in the streets I thought about what the gods must think of us, creators of our own destruction, never caring, never understanding, no responsibility taken for how our world has ended up: climate change, political turmoil, mass death in whatever terms you look at it. No peace is free and they must be looking down on us crying or laughing at how ignorant we are of our world. It is my most political song I have written. It was all that anger at how we are tearing ourselves apart yet we think we are so smart.”

 

Prairie Sun

“The last song written for the record came so organically I felt it just flowed out of me as a closing piece on the album and from the perspective of  the winter in a person’s life. Looking back my parents only have limited photos of their lives and the ones they keep are of the ones they loved. Memories are the only gifts we keep as we go along and if you’re lucky, a friend that checks in. The title is of a studio Tom Waits’ recorded in. I always think of the prairie and how big that sun must be as it rises. I think I’ve learned that the sun will rise even after I’m gone and once you come to peace with that you appreciate all you’ve experienced and have today. I felt it was a closure of my life before the pandemic and that I am still alive, I still have my friends and I have to take the day for all that it is worth because tomorrow is not today and the past is just a memory.”

 

Scissors

“The song that started it all for me and Phil. I had “Scissors” for a couple years but didn’t like the verse and in the summer I was searching for some old material I wanted to revisit and this came to mind. It’s the only song on the album that deals with searchers. I think we are all searchers at some point in our lives, trying to start anew. Figuring if we just start again it’ll be better but in reality you are still you and that’s what makes the difference. You can’t outrun yourself.”



 

Yellow Flowers

“Yellow Flowers” is a love song I wrote as a gift to my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. It was written in the winter as I looked back on our time apart and the yearning to be with the one you love. It started with the title little flowers from seeing my friend’s tattoo and then once I got to writing it evolved into yellow flowers. The song contains a few Easter eggs including my girlfriend’s blue hair, her laughter, and our many conversations about dogs. When I first wrote it I thought of it as a big rock song but then Phil gave it a try and channeled Wilco on it which I loved. The song is for anyone that ever yearns for their lover to return so they can remember what it was like to be romantic again.”

 

Spring Light

“Written in the last days of winter, “Spring Light” was my hope, my guiding light that we would make it out of this long season and back into the warmth. As 2021 began the winter was harsh and more snow fell than I can remember since moving to New York. One day I saw some icicles thawing from a house and I started to think cinematically, thinking of a house in the woods with a wife, taking care of the home and children, reading the letters of her lover as he promises to come home by spring, almost like a Wes Anderson Movie. I thought of a soldier or doctor and how this year can seem never ending but somehow we still have hope to dream. I was listening to alot of Fleet Foxes at the time and thought of the song that way. I have a demo that sounds like them but Phil thought of it more as an Allman Bros. song with our drummer Nate giving it a nice groove. The song got me through the winter, it gave me hope that we would see the spring. Many of the songs dealing with the winter are from me reassuring myself we would make it through to see the summer.”

 

Country House

I thought about a husband keeping a promise to build a home for the wife he lost. I thought of the old movies where people build something as an ode to their lost love, in a way to keep their memory alive. I thought that she could come back as someone else like reincarnation and still enjoy the house. Somehow she’d get there one day.               

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Daughters

“Daughters” came about because I heard Neil Young release a long lost song of the same title and that word alone, daughters kept ruminating in my head. The chorus came out very naturally on my first try, like it was waiting for me. I wanted the song to be very downhome, pastoral in nature with the cabin, the clock, and the rain in the lyrics. Something along the lines of a private memory that somehow has changed from ether into a song. As I had the chorus I began to think about what it must feel like having children knowing one day they will leave you and how to manage that heartache. You manage it by looking back on the good times and appreciating them. I wanted a song to capture a parent sitting at their table looking out on their land and thinking back as their daughters are outside. I asked the duo Carmen & Lizzy to add their harmonies to give the chorus’ life and act as the daughters I sing about. I think the song is about a secret yearning to have children of my own but also the conflicting emotions that come with creating a life. It would be great to have children but the world we live in feels too dangerous so I dedicate this song to any parent with children going out into the world.”

 

Laughter in the Dark

“Laughter in the dark” was written about a year before I started writing for the album. I had the chorus but no lyrics and was kind of stuck. I had watched Ken Burns’ Country Music during Christmas and was intrigued by the songs of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Their songs, that classic Nashville sound, gave me a feel to imitate that sadness and I love Patsy Cline’s “3 cigarettes in the ashtray” so I imagined the worst Christmas I could think of. Your love leaves just before you get home from work, a leaky roof, and their clothes all around. The lyrics came together easily once I felt I could walk around the scene I had created in my head. I imagined a husband singing this song to himself but then it expands with an orchestra in the chorus, it just blows me away everytime.”

 

Coming Home
“Coming Home'' was one of the first handful of songs I wrote for the record. It came off this riff from an A chord. It was one of those songs you write in the afternoon and come back amazed you wrote it in one sitting. I had a longer chorus but edited it down to more concise wording. It’s probably the most euphoric song on the record, coming home to be greeted by your wife and kids. Getting away from the hustle bustle of the city and getting back to a simpler life. I think it was a way to deal with the isolation we all were dealing with, to fantasize of living a different life. I always feel this song is very pastoral with sunshine coming through the trees. An autumnal hymn for life being sacred even when the world is falling apart. All you have is who loves you, that’s enough.”