There is a line in Dylan’s “Trying to Get to Heaven” that states, “…when you think that you’ve lost everything, you find out that you can always lose a little more.” This record started for me in such a place in my own life. But I knew I didn’t want to stay there. I wanted to honor it, to move through it, but not run from it...and not stay there too long.
These songs came out of a period of loss and disillusionment, soul searching, anger, fear, acceptance and the joy of new possibilities. What was a period of no creativity and songwriting, which scared me to death, grew into one of the most creative and focused periods of my life. It seems we have to lose some stuff to make room for new things in our lives.
I was very fortunate to have some great friends around, including Casey Wood. He engineered, mixed and produced this project. Casey also played drums and a bunch of other instruments too. He was very encouraging and excited about the music I was writing; music that was very personal and at times left me feeling unsure about it, and quite vulnerable and raw. People told me how lucky I was to be working with a two time Grammy winner. I felt fortunate to be creating music again, and to be creating it with my friends. We wanted to make an honest and artistic record, without outside pressure or compromises, and that was the vision everyone embraced.
We wanted each song to have its own treatment and sound, but maintain a cohesive thread and scope of a whole record. Musically, artists and records like, Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers,” Echo” and “The Last DJ”; Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush”; the Black Crowes “Amorica”; Bob Dylan’s “ Time Out Of Mind” and “Oh, Mercy”; the Band; Ray LaMontagne; John Lennon, Emmy Lou Harris’ “ Wrecking Ball” and Ryan Adams’ “Cold Roses” and “Heartbreaker” felt right to me during this period.
One of the great things about living in Nashville is the immensely talented people here. I was so thrilled to have Pat Buchanan play guitar, Tim Marks on bass, Jamie Babbit on harmony vocals, Max Abrams on horn duties, Eric Holt on Wurlitzer, Jason Lehning on Juno 60 and Chris Tuttle on Hammond. Larry Hall’s string arrangement on “Dream Tonight” gave the song exactly what I had heard in my head when I wrote it on acoustic guitar; the first song written for this record while sitting on the floor in my apartment south of town with no furniture and an amp case for a table. I needed that place to be empty. I needed that space to write these songs. Living in an apartment; writing, singing and playing music there, often late at night, forced me to be quiet…and I needed that too. I also knew that I didn’t, and couldn’t, stay there long. I didn’t want to get too comfortable in that place; physically or emotionally. I wanted to move on. This record, or cd as the kids call ‘em, is a mile-marker…and another’s coming. Thanks for listening!
I have been very fortunate with my time in Nashville. I toured North America with Lee Roy Parnell (didn't see much...the bus, the venue, the large crowds were fun, then the interstate again. We had a day off in Phoenix in July. 120 degrees. A day off in NYC was fun in the Village and hanging with the Conan guys...but I got food poisoning at an Indian restaurant and spent time in the dirtiest bathroom the city had to offer.) I opened a show in Minneapolis with the Yardbirds. I have played gigs with Trisha Yearwood, Delbert McClinton and numerous other artists and songwriters, Lynnyrd Skynyrd on the 4th down on the river, played guitar on sessions with some of Nashville's finest musicians, met loads of great friends and now, I'm doing my own music. Feels good.