This album has been a long time coming. To say these songs are personal is an understatement. That Little Girl is basically Filet of Lezlie, starting right out of the gate with “Holly Hobbie.” Almost all of my songs come directly from or are inspired by real life, and this album exemplifies that. A crush of mine once told me that he didn’t want to date me because he didn’t want to be that close to my muse. He’d just end up being a jerk and breaking my heart and then I’d put it in a song and everyone would know what an ass he was. See? You’re not in a song. Yet.
1. “Holly Hobbie” is the newest of the songs on the album, but it looks back the furthest. Yes, the dress in the cover art is one of the dresses that inspired the bridge. I loved that dress. Somehow I was a girly tomboy. I was a rough-and-tumble, deeply spiritual (even as a child), soft-hearted, hard-headed girl. I was anything I wanted to be. Over the years I’ve lost the simple joy and confidence that came with that package. Holly Hobbie is about the journey to try and resuscitate that within myself.
2. “Like That” grew out of a road trip I took with friends of mine. We drove from Kansas City to Vegas, the northern route up and the southern one back. (Beth, thanks for forbidding me to mope after Kansas.) That’s a lot of landscape for introspection and crazy brain flights. Yes, it is also autobiographical. Thank you to Phill & Beth for harmony inspiration.
3. I tried for years to complete “Today.” I laughed out loud after I typed that. Funny how long it took to write a song about living in the moment. But the song was important to me, so I stuck with it and my producer was able to help me bring it fully to life. Thanks, Max.
4. “Break” was inspired by the 2006 heat wave that hit the Midwest. Missing someone is somehow harder in that kind of heat.
5. “White Flag” is the second-oldest song on the album, and one of my few truly rock-and-roll arrangements. I had great fun recording this song, and would like to write and record more like it.
6. “Pollyanna” is basically the result of me flipping the musical finger to friends of mine who complained my music was too dark and serious. I needed, they insisted, to write something fun, light… maybe a love song. I decided to show them. I decided to write a flippant little piece of silly fluff. Instead I wrote a light-hearted, catchy tune that ended up being subtly smart and touching – completely by accident. (… Mostly by accident.)
7. “Return to Me” was a fusion of past and present. Parts of it were inspired by song snippets tossed out by an ex of mine, parts by a recent heartbreak, and parts by soaking in a hot spring bathtub under an expansive Utah night sky. (See the trip referenced in Track 2) During the recording of this song was the first time I heard Max sing. Trust me – I’m going to try to make it happen as often as I can.
8. Ah. What can I say about “Ex-Honoration?” It’s a true story. Those of you who know, know.
9. “Shallow Grave” is about a couple I used to know. I’m pretty sure they didn’t see themselves like this, but the experience of knowing them touched me deeply.
10. Once upon a time, I fell in love with a woman. Completely, madly, deeply. It didn’t work out, but I learned invaluable lessons from her and from the experience. “She” bubbled up out of the ardor of that affection.
11. People keep asking me why I wrote “Soldier Come Home.” I tried for a while to come up with a brilliant and eloquent story – but honestly? I was just missing someone so badly that it ached and I felt helpless to affect the situation. So I did what I do. I wrote a song.
12. “Pauline” is based on a true story. All of the things in the verses happened to a guy I knew years ago. He didn’t want to be recognized, so I made the character female. Considering I don’t even remember his name any more, I figure it’s safe to share that part of the story.
13. I remember the exact moment I came up with the idea for “A Little Bit of Walking Away.” I was standing outside a blue door in a dingy hallway with crappy carpet. It took every ounce of willpower I had to not knock on that door and beg to be let back in. Then a little more to turn. And a bit more to take that first step away. The road to liberation – from self, from situations, from others – is long, difficult, painful, and always – always – begins with that first excruciating, molasses-slow step.
14. From time to time in my life, I have practiced bibliomancy. I would open a Bible in random places, seeking comfort or guidance... I suck at bibliomancy. I generally opened the book to one of two places: a genealogy passage, or a Psalm. I know – most people find comfort in the Psalms. I, however, only ever seemed to open to verses that increased my despair. “How long,” they always asked. How long will I cry out and you not hear? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will you refuse to save me? I was not – as you may imagine – a fan of the Psalms. Then one day I came across a tiny Psalm that changed everything for me. It was a passage of gentle humility and quiet trust. Out of that Psalm and the love of a dear friend (who went on to the Priesthood and was in Rome the last I knew), this song was born.