"Here Comes The Flood"
When I called my old guitar player and close friend Steve Wedemeyer to tell him I was thinking of recording another album, Steve said two words. 'East Nashville'.
A few phone calls, a week off from the Band of Heathens, and a 900-mile drive to Tennessee later, I'm looking for Joe McMahan's studio, cradled between the halfway houses and soul food joints of the Nashville underground.
Juju beads, tape machines, goat nail shakers, walls of vintage amps, an oil-on-velvet portrait of Freddy Fender above an analog mixing board, a vinyl library of 1950's rock 'n' roll and soul records. Vibe was everywhere. This was the idea behind the sessions. Capture vibe on tape. No digital undo. No cut and paste. Just vibe. That's how I wanted to record the album. The warmth of analog tape and skin on soul. People in a room making music.
Here comes the flood. A soundscape catalog of the ride I'm on. The slice of Americana I've been served. Highways, Heathens, Gypsies, Demons. Austin, Kerrville, Sydney, Nashville. The best songs I've written at a time when I'm playing in the best band I've been in.
So I've got this recording in my hands that I have to get out, but I'm about to spend God knows how long on the road with the Band of Heathens. A timeless space between folk and rock 'n' roll. We're about to start a Heathens studio record next month. Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, and Europe. Who knows when there'll be time to do another solo record? Vinyl to tape. Analog to 0's and 1's. CD's, dinosaurs, downloads and flying cars. Somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow today's riding down the rails and she's not coming back again.
Nevermind the questions spinning around in my head. I'm high on caffeine and recording mojo, driving back home to Austin. 14 hours of American highway in front of me. 12 hours to get to a show with the Band of Heathens. Step on the gas. Here comes the flood.
I wrote this one about all the changes that may or may not happen when you meet someone you love... You might quit smoking, stop staying out all night, drinking too much, or you might stop leaving dirty dishes in the sink.
QUARTERS AND DIMES
This one I wrote mostly in one afternoon at home after a long string of shows out of town. The bridge (I'll cast my leather and bones down a rattlesnake road / Gonna pack my bags, but I wish I didn't have to go / Toss them quarters and dimes down a deep old well / Ain't nothing so free as being lost between heaven and hell) I wrote in the studio about 20 minutes before we recorded it... I felt it needed something else at the last minute. It's my favorite part of the song now.
I wrote this one in Sydney, Australia when I learned the true story of the first women's prisoner ship that was sent from England to Australia in the late 1700's. Mary Wade was a 11 year old girl on the ship that ended up being one of the founding mothers of Australia. Pretty amazing story. I wrote it in an afternoon and played it that night at a show in Sydney. Joe McMahan, the producer, came up with the arrangement on the album... the drums sound like you're in the dungeon of a ship.
SKIN ON SOUL
I worked on this song for a while. We came up with the R&B kinda soul change in the bridge in the studio as we were recording it.
I think I started this song as something totally different when I was in L.A. and then finished it on a notepad on my knee driving home to Austin at 4am from Dallas. Thanks to Joe McMahan and Marty Lynds and Jim Gray for the swampy feel.
GREEN AND BLUE
I worked on this song for a long time while I was saving up for a ring to propose to my then girlfriend, now wife. Took me a long time. And it worked.
JUDAS 'SCARIOT BLUES
Started this song in Nashville, finished it in Austin. Kind of came out of nowhere. I was thinking about a verse in Dylan's song, With God on our Side, that talks about Judas having God on his side. I recorded a live version with the Band of Heathens on Live from Momo's before Here Comes the Flood came out but both versions are really different.
Cool production by Joe McMahan. Great singing by Claire Small. A fictional song about a non-fiction person I met.
This is an old song from the 50's. It's one of my favorite songs ever. Adam Carroll sings a verse or two with me. I learned the song from him.
These are my rambling thoughts on end times and standing naked in the rain. You can hear the string bust off of the saddle of Steve Wedemeyer's guitar during the guitar solo. It was a viby take so we kept it.
DIAMONDS, DOGS AND SHOOTING STARS
Seems everybody has a different take on this one so I won't ruin yours with mine. I started writing it in Nashville on the same trip I started Judas 'Scariot Blues (I think) and I finished it at my then girlfriend, now wife's, house.