I’ve been driving for six hours towards Florida, and hit the podcast fulfillment level needed for the day, so we’re parked in a huge square dirt parking area near the highway. There’s nine semi trucks humming low as usual, along with an interesting and random pair next to them: a mini van and a smaller car parked tail to nose. They’re all across on the other side, and our van is nestled up right next to the only tree in the lot, garnished with a used tire. For the last few hours, I’ve been thinking about changes to songs for the new record, and a familiar pattern emerged.
To me, there’s something potent for the late evening songwriter. I’ve got my headphones on, listening to raw phone recordings and redrafting on my notepad the newest one of the bunch, a song called “I’ll Drink To That”, inspired by statements which typically are universally agreed upon in theory, but it’s more about the absurdities and the barriers I see in our society that I assume we (the listener and I) can agree on. Musically, It’s a happy tune, inspired by John Prine’s guitar style and the old time blues & folk song “Candyman”.
I find my thoughts to be fluid and efficient this time of night. The world quiets down, and my night owl brain is brainstorming creative brainwaves and kicks into gear as I grind up the windy road towards the end product the song is destined to become. It’s a fascinating evolution really when you step back, listening from the first version recorded to the last. There’s nearly always an admirable quality to the first one, so innocent and genuine in some ways yet lacking the maturity the newest version has most times. I don’t know how a group of people can sit in a room and force this process into motion while strictly considering the song’s moral integrity. But, to each their own.