Wow! What a great experience. Having the opportunity to work with such brilliant musicians and writers was such a huge honor for me. I’ll mention each one of them below but all I can say is it was a wonderful, humbling and growth-filled project that I will not forget and hope to repeat. Special thanks for your patience and mentorship to my co-producers Walt Wilkins and Ron Flynt. These guys are in sync and made the whole process super smooth and fun. Did I mention I learned a lot? The importance of a good chart, don’t sing if you don’t feel like it, and don’t be in a rush to get the songs done!
I am so happy these songs are out there. Many of these tunes lean heavily on my experiences going through a divorce many years ago and how I remember bits and pieces of it. They are definitely not all auto-biographical but I think the songs will resonate with anyone who has gone through a tough relationship and made it out the other end.
Here is a little bit about each new tune:
“Can’t Leave Her” – To leave or to stay? Its the one question that has no good answer to a struggling relationship. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener though. Take time to work on it because man it ain’t easy on the other side. This tune hops and skips and is happier than it sounds!
“Lost Lover’s Game” – Sometimes you just want to duck and cover and not cause anyone anymore pain. It happens. We can’t help it as humans but we just want it to stop and move on. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
“Old Song” – This one strays from the EP theme and is a meta-tune about me playing my own guitar…or not. Maybe it does go with the theme of moving on after all. This one really reminds me of “Take Me Out The Dance Hall” by Pat Green. I guess that makes sense with Brett playing the guitar and Walt producing!
“Trading Love For Gold” – This one is right in the pocket with the theme of the EP. I would say its more of a warning than a done deal. That gold ring definitely changes things. Don’t let it change the most important things.
“Till Death Do You Part” – This one is simply advice to a couple getting married from someone who has been through it. Take it back to the start. Remember why you are together. Remember you are a team and agreed to this no matter what. Amazing fiddle and Steel on this one by Warren Hood and Geoff Queen.
Walt Wilkins (Producer, Acoustic Guitars, Percussion, Harmonies) – What more can I say about Walt. He has helped so many budding songwriters out there. He is a shining example of how to do it right while keeping your integrity and being “nice”. Not only that, he only hangs with nice folks so there was absolutely zero drama in this process. That is way different than my past experiences in the studio with my other bands. Anyway, thanks again Walt. You are one in a million, brother!
Ron Flynt (Producer, Engineer, Keys, Baritone Guitar) – Being around Ron is like taking a valium. And for a guy who is prone to anxiety like I am, this is a game changer. Ron focuses on the positives and has a gentle touch when he wants to make changes. I can’t recommend working with Ron or Jumping Dog Studios any more. I can’t wait to spend more time with Ron at Jumping Dog in the future!
Matthew Williams (Drums) – Matthew is an old friend and a phenomenal drummer. I was so happy we were able to collab on this record and will definitely be calling him up again. Matt also falls into that category of “nicest guy you will ever meet”. Bravo Matthew!
Harmoni Kelley (Bass) – A pros pro. Harmoni found a few days between dates on her tour with Kenney Chesney to come lay it down on this record and I am so grateful! And AGAIN, do they get any sweeter and nicer? Answer: NO!
Chris Beall (Acoustic Guitars) – Chris is just the coolest dude around. Not only is he a fantastic guitar player but he really really listens to what the song needs and adds so much. Can’t wait to work with Chris again. Also go check out his awesome band the South Austin Moonlighters!
Brett Danaher (Electric Guitars) – If you are listening to these songs saying “that sounds a bit like Pat Green” well, that’s Brett. He has a unique finger picking style that is unmatched and very distinguishable. A super dude and creative as heck, Brett really added a lot to this record especially the riff on “Can’t Leave Her”. Pretenders, anyone?
Geoff Queen (Steel) – Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet Geoff in person. This guy is busy but what a dynamic it added to “Till Death”. Thanks Geoff!
Warren Hood (Fiddle) – I remember when Warren’s mom would drop him off for band practice when he was like 12. We used to rehearse in the same spot as the South Austin Jug Band. He is all grown up now and has a hell of a band on his own. Warren put down some sweet sad fiddle on “Till Death” as well and he and Geoff’s dance back and forth is just lovely. Thanks Warren!
Tina Wilkins (Harmonies) – If you hear a female vocal on the record its Tina. Tina nails it every. single. time. Thanks Tina!
Studio and Mastering
Jumping Dog Studio – Ron Flynt. See above. Zero regrets about working with Ron at JD. Great vibe and damn that vocal chain!
Terra Nova Mastering – Working with Jerry and Diane Tubb is always a treat. There is no other place to master. Period.