'Blanco County Lights'
(White Cat Records, 2014)
It's always great to receive an E-mail from a 'new' artist - explaining that he took some time to peruse (love that word...) our website and saw several familiar names, including a good friend. Then kindly offering to mail off a promo...
As a fellow DJ stated: it's surprising to see so much talent suddenly appear from out of nowhere! First of all: I'm immediately falling in love with Brant's beautiful voice. Let me think of comparisons for a little bit. Slaid Cleaves, circa my favorite album 'Wishbones'. He brings the words with the right amount of convincing empathy.
The songwriting is top notch, lyrics and subjects as well as the variety of wonderful catchy melodies. He also knows who to invite into the studio for his recordings. Producer Jack Saunders is another 'unsung hero' here and I couldn't even score all of his albums, but I'm a fan for a long time already. Here he plays bass and various guitar parts, he also sings background vocals on one track. Lloyd Maines and his dobro, Eleanor Whitmore and her fiddle, just to mention a few familiar names. Our mutual friend Matt Harlan sings on the title track! Just like Matt teamed up with his lovely Rachel, Brant worked with his own sweet sounding partner Lainey, she sings on many tracks.
My own favorite songs on the album are: "Time I Walk Away", not only for that lap steel sounding like a slide guitar, but also for the spot on chorus. Rocking guitars on country song "Still The One" and bluesy "84 Boxes". Of course this is my number one: "Joie De Vivre", I always go for the Cajun flavored songs! Riley Osbourn grabs attention there with his piano playing.
Well, Brant found us and now it's up to you, music lovers! Highly recommended album. I'm sure we will hear more great stuff from him in the future! Hopefully he listens to a lot of cool stories coming from Matt Harlan and he will also consider a European tour?
As he loves to write - the rest of this space is for Brant himself!
Brant, According to Brant:
I was born in Houston and I went to college in Denton. I 'grew up' in Dallas, and learned invaluable life lessons while living in Nashville, Austin, and Wimberley. Since 1999, I’ve lived in 31 different residences; I understand the plight of the Gypsy. People and places are my greatest sources of inspiration.
I've an affinity for adventures, great and small. I’ve seen the rain come down in Northern Ireland. I’ve ridden a motorcycle across the Sacred Valley in Peru. I spent a summer drinking sangria in Spain under the guise of college credit. I’ve slept on the roof of a shanty in Hidalgo, Mexico and saw more stars than three lifetimes of a hundred people could count. I rode a bike 100 miles around Lake Tahoe in a single day, in the name of charity.
I prefer Whataburger to In and Out Burger.
I can usually blend quite well, but I rarely feel like I fit in. I have mixed feelings about this.
I’ve mowed lawns, I’ve delivered pizzas, and I’ve made lattes. I spent half a decade working in the corporate world. I’ve worked retail. I’ve hated working retail. I’ve waited tables, bartended, and pretended to be a freelance writer. I’ve been a day-laborer, worked a call center, and sold houses. I once ran a small event staffing company. I’ve even been paid to sing songs in all kinds of places. I believe I can do almost anything for 6 months. I'm also not very good at sitting still.
I taught myself how to play guitar. Some would say that explains a lot.
I have a certain affinity for college football and refer to any professional sports team in Houston as my own. I carry an abnormally large chip on my shoulder thanks to the 1992 & 1993 Houston Oilers.
I’m terribly afraid of heights, except when it comes to mountains. I’m also prone to paradox and hyperbole.
I have absolutely no interest in running a marathon. But I’ll cheer you on if that’s your thing.
I've loved more than I’ve lost. I’ve lost as much as I’ve left.
I’m genuinely overwhelmed by the splendor of sunsets and the sheer size of the ocean. Conversely, I’m not impressed by reality stars or infinity pools.
I like good wine, good whiskey, and good food. I believe good company makes all of them better.
I love to write. I am my own biggest critic.
I’m not cool. In my head, saying that makes me sound like maybe I am.
I have the best friends and family anyone could ever ask for. Most of the time, I remember that. When I don’t, they remind me.
In a short amount of time I’ve been fortunate to play a lot of great rooms. One day maybe I’ll feel deserving.
More than anything, I’m thankful.
Brant talks about the songs:
This day is a particularly significant day in the life and musical times of one Brant Croucher. (No, I'm not going to spend this piece writing in third person.) This day marks the release of my full length album, 'Blanco County Lights'. I'm proud of this project. I'm thankful for the many people who supported the making of this project. And I'm in awe of the many players who lent their very special talents to bring its songs to life.
The album is decidedly different than my first effort, but then again, so am I. In many ways, this album represents a transition period, both in life and in my musical journey. I'm not where I was. And I'm not where I'm going. But this is where I am. And I'm comfortable with all of that.
As you hear each track, I think you'll see that there are a lot of different styles of music that interest me, inspire me, and because of that, I'm not sure which genre you'd put this album in. To be perfectly honest, I don't think an adherence to any particular genre really matters as much as the songs contained within. So we'll call it 'folk rock' or 'country-ish' and drop it all in a bucket called 'Americana'.
I'd like to write up a brief (I use the word in the loosest sense) preview of each track, with the inspiration behind the song and how the track came to life in the studio. I'm going to do just that.
1. "When You Come To Me": The album opens with "When You Come to Me". I wrote this song a few summers ago while I was trying to finish another song - something that happens a lot. The melody for the chorus came into my head and I realized it was a different song entirely, so I followed the muse down a different path. I'm glad I did, as it lead me to one of my favorite songs I've written to date. At the time, we were on the tail-end of an extremely long drought in Texas. It had been so long, in fact, I had previously remarked that whenever it finally did rain again, I was going to go outside and stand in it - to literally soak it all in. And so finally it began to rain and I was filled with joy in the most unexpected way. I'm prone to nostalgia (this isn't news to most who know me well) and rain provides a good canvas for introspection and long walks down roads once traveled. There's a calmness and a redemptive tone that accompanies a good summer shower and it was something I missed. As the rain fell, I decided to forgo the rain dance and enjoy the moment indoors. Instead of eating my words, I used them for the opening lines of the song.
As for the mechanics of the track itself, I played acoustic guitar and sang. Jack Saunders (who produced and recorded the record) played bass and provided the electric guitar fills. Eleanor Whitmore played fiddle, Rick Richards played drums. Lainey Balagia lent her voice to the accompanying vocals and Willy T. Golden added lap steel, which made for a really special instrumental section. I hope you enjoy it. And if you do, don't shy away from telling somebody!
2. "Doing Well": The second song is also the oldest song on the album. I wrote "Doing Well" (and I hope you are!) almost ten years ago and it was included on my first record. When I finally decided to pursue music and songwriting as more than a secret passion, I jumped in headfirst (or whatever is the equivalent of jumping in headfirst, except backwards) and recorded a record, 'Old Denton Roads'. I figured I had all these songs I'd written, might as well get them down and then become famous - as was my destiny. If someone asked me today for advice (ha) or thoughts on starting out, I'd probably suggest doing things differently, spending more time playing out, working through the songs before cutting a record. But I didn't. And convention is not my nature. And most of my regrets in life are not from jumping the gun, but rather, spending too much time sitting on the sidelines. So the record was cut and included this song, "Doing Well". As I started playing with a band more frequently, some of the songs from the first record began to change, related to instrumentation, and in a few cases, song structure. There's a different feeling, an unseen energy when you've got a band playing together. I dig the way we perform this song live and I felt it deserved to be captured and presented that way. So it made the final cut and now it's here for your ears (and applause). Generally speaking, the song itself is about running into someone you used to know -a ghost from the past- and doing that thing we do when we talk about how great things are since going separate ways. In other words: we lie.
As with all tracks, I sang and played the acoustic rhythm on my trusty Martin DCPA4 guitar, Jack Saunders played bass, and Rick Richards knocked out the drums. Sam Austin played the lead lines and electric rhythm parts on a '68 Telecaster through a vintage 60's Fender Princeton amp. Eleanor Whitmore played fiddle and I was fortunate to have two-thirds of the Grievous Angels (Lainey Balagia and Libby Koch) sing background vocals on this track, giving it an angelic feel in the bridge.
3. "Drink (Drink Drink)": The title "Drink" was actually a working title throughout the production of the record that ended up being the actual title (plus a couple parentheses and some repetition, much like the song itself). It's a to-the-point title that suits the overall tone of the tune.
I'm a big fan of Don Williams. His voice is among my all-time favorites in country music and his vocal delivery and song selection is tops. (If you haven't picked up his latest record 'Reflections', I highly recommend it.) Songs like "Good Ole Boys Like Me" and "If Hollywood Don't Need You" were profoundly inspirational to my craft as a songwriter. I was listening to a lot of Don (we're on a first-name basis in my mind) just before going into the studio and this song idea popped in my head. It actually came to me as we were heading to play a Valentine's Day show at Hill's Cafe in Austin. As I was exiting, I had this melody I was kicking around. Not wanting to lose it, I pulled off and sang it into my phone. I sing random thoughts and song ideas into my phone fairly often. There are likely many ways in which technology has hindered or stifled the creative process, but it has absolutely been a Godsend for forgetful folks like myself when it comes to capturing it. If ever my phone is lost, a snooping finder will likely encounter several hours of confusing sound bytes in my voice notes. (Have fun!)
Anyways, it's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result. That maxim was the basis for this song. So I put it in a smoky bar, soaked it in beer and added some heartbreak. Thus, "Drink" was born. Now, I'm not saying this is a Don Williams song. I'm just saying his music inspired it. And I figure if he ever hears it, my fellow Texas-born musical compadre will say "Good job, Brant. You're an alright guy". (Someday I'll tell you all about my wild imagination and the ever-present party taking place inside my head.)
With respects to the mechanics of the song, I (totes/obvs) sang and played my Martin acoustic (mental note: think up name for guitar) on the track. Jack Saunders provided the thumpy bass line and the background vocals. Rick Richards played drums. Lastly, we were fortunate enough to have the dobro-playing mastery of Lloyd Maines tie the entire track together. I like it.
4. "Time I Walk Away": The song tells a story of a person in constant search of fulfillment and purpose, always believing it is to be found somewhere else. Maybe the next town, the next place holds the elusive contentment and satisfaction they crave. The reality is, such peace is generally irrespective of physical location and is usually something that must be settled from within. Of course, this is not to say one's physical space in the world isn't significant -one's surroundings can be profoundly inspiring (or crippling)- but rather, a move isn't likely an end unto itself.
There's a line that says "people are just people...," which was born from personal experiences with travel. It seems the more one travels, the more one realizes that while we have different cultural identities, customs, religious beliefs, and economic realities, at our core, we are all the very same people. We all crave the same things in life and generally suffer the same daily frustrations. We all want to be loved, we want to take care of our families, we want to feel safe, we want to live in peace, and we want a better life for those that follow. I think that on a subconscious level, this is a song I wrote about myself, as told from the perspective of someone else. So I essentially sang it in first person as the other person. (How meta, right?)
Anyways, as for the mechanics of the recording, I've had a few instances in my songwriting life where a songs starts one way -- with a certain meter and tempo -- and then ends up another, just before being captured on a record. "Let Me Love You", from the 'Old Denton Roads' record is one instance and "Time I Walk Away" is another. In both instances, I believe the changes were for the better. Once we got into the studio, this song turned into a four-on-the-floor driving tune. We added some jangly electric rhythm guitars (Sam played a Gretsch Duo Jet through a vintage Princeton amp) and it started to have this 90's Tom Petty/Gin Blossoms sound to it. Lainey and Libby came back in and sang the harmonies in the chorus and it took on another feel. Then Willy T. Golden dropped some lap steel in the intro and instrumental fills and suddenly it made turn towards 90's country -- one of my favorite guilty pleasures. So I don't know how you'd characterize this tune. But I know that you can tap your toes to it and maybe that's all the characterization it needs.
5. "Blanco County Lights": The fifth song is the title track, "Blanco County Lights". I began taking piano lessons at age 5, studying the Suzuki method of piano instruction. The Suzuki method encourages students to learn classical compositions by ear, mimicking the teacher's playing and eventually playing the entire song by memory*. To excel at such a method required a great deal of practice... and I hated practicing. (To be honest, I still hate practicing.) *Side note: I think learning to play this way has had everything to do with how I write and how I hear music today.
Anyways, I fought with my mother for several years before she finally raised the white flag of defeat and allowed me to quit taking piano lessons. I was about 12 years old and I had a lot of other things I intended to do -- all of which were much cooler than learning the music of a bunch of dead guys on the piano*. It's also worth noting that at age 12, I was mostly an idiot (a distinction I would maintain well into mid-twenties). *Side note (again): I'm currently listening to the music of said dead guys on Pandora as I type this piece. So everything comes back around. I also listen to classical music when I run. That, or metal. 'Cause YOLO.
These days, I cannot spend enough time with the piano. Funny how that works, isn't it? It's an integral part of so many of my favorite musician's music. And if I were a betting man (and I'm not, as I have an unfortunate tendency to bet from the heart), I'd lay money on seeing a lot more piano in my music, sooner than later.
The song itself is about transition, change, and learning to forgive one's self - recurring themes found throughout the record and the reason I decided to make it the album's title track.
Case Mundy recorded my piano part on a fantastic Steinway grand piano (sustain for days) at Wire Road Studios in Houston. The rest of the track was recorded in Jack's studio, White Cat, and included Jack himself playing bass and a Gretsch baritone guitar. My good buddy Matt Harlan was kind enough to lend his distinctive vocals to the track and Eleanor Whitmore (The Mastersons) composed and recorded the string section. Rick Richards again kept things moving on the drums.
About the album cover: Once I decided the album was going to be called 'Blanco County Lights', I started thinking about how to best represent that on the cover of the album. Many kinds of 'lights' come to mind, when thinking about the Texas Hill Country, from the brilliant sunrises and sunsets to the dotted tapestry of stars that shine on a clear night.
Impressionism is my favorite style of painting (with particular affinity for the works of Cezanne and Van Gogh), so I dropped an idea on my sister, Lauren, who is an extremely talented artist, putting paint to canvas when she's not busy managing project accounting in the oil business (basically the very definition of Houston). She came up with a pair of panels that I think perfectly capture the mood and tone of the song - which is especially impressive, since she hadn't yet heard the track when she painted it.
6. "Theodora": The song tells a story about a Mississippi girl and a Georgia boy who find one another in Houston and spend a lifetime making memories. In a way, it's the story of my life. A few years ago, while eating lunch with my grandparents, my grandfather asked me if I would write a song for my grandmother on his behalf. I told him I'd be honored to do so, then asked him if he had any ideas as to the direction of the song and its content. They had been married for over sixty years. Within sixty years of marriage, there must be a thousand stories worth telling. He answered affirmative and said he in fact did have an idea. He told me, "I want it to say 'Have I told you lately that I love you?'" I smiled as he said this. Not just because the sentiment is very sweet (and let me tell you, not a day went by that the man didn't make sure everyone knew how much he loved my grandmother), but also because that's already a really popular song. So I told him we'd include the thought in the song and I went to work.
My grandfather was one of the hardest working people I've ever known and was an ever-present figure of support throughout my life. He grew up in rural Georgia in the agricultural town of Sandersville, around the time of the Great Depression. As a kid, he got a job delivering papers. Since he didn't have a bike, he'd 'rent' his brother's bike each week so that he could make his route. This kind of work ethic would follow him throughout his professional life, all the way up to his eventual retirement from Exxon, having spent the better part of four decades as an executive pilot. I was fortunate enough to sing this song for him a couple days before he passed. I like to think he would have been proud of the way this song turned out on the record.
We recorded the song at White Cat Studios. Jack Saunders produced the tune and also played bass guitar and the lead electric riffs (which if memory serves, was a Strat through the Princeton amp). Eleanor Whitmore (The Mastersons) played fiddle. Lainey Balagia and Libby Koch sang harmonies. Rick Richards played the drums. The track was mastered by Jerry Tubb at Terra Nova Mastering in Austin.
7. "Still The One": A country number. I spent just over three years of my life in a college town and it was a great experience. There's really nothing like a U.S. college town, and Texas is home to several of my favorites. Each time I drive into Denton, TX, I am reminded of the first day I set foot on the UNT campus with a vividness that is reserved for few other memories. I remember how I felt, who I knew, where we went - it's truly 'heading down an old familiar road'. At some point, you graduate or move on (or both), but the town always holds a bit of nostalgia for the time spent (under the guise of a college education). Whether it's game day, a familiar restaurant or bar, a campus building that commanded more time than you could have ever imagined, or something as simple as the way the Fall's cooler air first hits your nose, it takes you back to a place that's etched into the mind like chiseled words hammered into stone.
We've been playing this song at live shows for a couple years. It's an uptempo toe-tapper that's got a lot of space for instrumentalists, which made it a bit of a party song. It's not the 'heaviest' song on the record, but it's one of fond memories. Its goal is to evoke a smile. Or a memory. Or hopefully -if you did it right- both. I loved working on this track in the studio. Sam Austin and I both played Telecasters and Sam's overdriven guitar solo is absolutely on point. Jack Saunders played bass. Rick Richards kept time on the drums. Eleanor Whitmore provided the song's signature fiddle parts and Lainey Balagia lent her voice to it (making my vocals sound better).
8. "84 Boxes": A dirty, rockin' number. I've worn several different hats over the past few years since making a go at this life in music. From the service industry, to real estate, to handyman, to day-laborer, landscaper, and several other stops along the way. I don't mind the hard or physically-demanding work (which is admittedly much easier to say when it's a chosen means-to-an-end versus the only way to make ends meet) and I've done all kinds of jobs to make a couple bucks in effort to maintain the freedom I desire to travel and play music. Whether or not this was the best way to go about doing it is absolutely up for debate. But regardless, it's the way I did go about it, and so here we are. One of those jobs was a gig assembling cafeteria tables at area schools. You know the type: rows of stools on either side of a table that folds in the center so that it can be rolled away for easy storage. These are the chairs each and every one of us sat on while enjoying (in the loosest sense of the word) our public schools lunches. Of course, we never gave much thought to where the tables came from, only that they were there and they were to be used. Well let me tell you: I know how they got there! They came off the back of a box truck and they had to be assembled. They aren't complicated to assemble, but they are tedious - which is miserable, if you're the kind of person who bores easily from repetitive tasks (ME). But at least you get to work inside in the air-conditioning - after you get them off the truck. And so the first task is to unload the table frames and boxes of stools off said truck - a large 18-wheeler (a distinction that was not really worth mentioning, as there are no small 18-wheelers, but mentioned for dramatic effect all the same) with a long metal ramp and a driver that is either really cool, offering to assist, or completely indifferent and annoyed by his lot in life - as if any of us had a single thing to do with it.
On one particular day, we had 84 of these tables to unload (no thanks to this particular shipment's driver, who spent his day wandering around while talking into a wired earpiece connected to his phone, occasionally taking time away from his riveting conversation to bark orders at the rest of us about things we already knew or were already doing but, hey, people have to feel like they're doing something and so we let him be King for a day). I took a picture of the back of the truck while we were unloading it and included a caption that would become the song's chorus.
On the mechanics of the recording:
This is the most groove-driven song I've ever recorded. I play the E-chord without the third, just the ones and fives -- a trick I learned from one of my favorite songwriters. It gives the chord a more rock 'n' roll vibe. I used a Telecaster to perform said trick, which we ran through a Princeton tube amp. Jack Saunders again played bass and Rick Richards kept the truck moving on drums, riding along the backside of the beat. Then things got really exciting. Sam Austin doubled up the rhythm parts and played all of the lead guitar parts, which included the absolutely smoking solo in the middle. We brought Willy T. Golden in to play the slide parts on his Fender Stringmaster lap steel.
As the day progressed, we were really digging the dirty overdriven tone we were getting out of the lap steel - but we thought there might be room to go dirtier - and fuzzier. Jack disappeared into the gear closet for a few moments, reemerging with a large green metal box, which had only a single shiny silver button in the middle and a couple of black knobs on top: the Russian-made Sovtek Big Muff pedal he'd picked up somewhere north of Dallas while on the road. We ran Willy's lap steel through the big green pedal, which provided the raw, fuzzy slide tone that you can feel underneath the entire track and prominently featured in the instrumental section, like a gem, hoisted between Sam's two solos for your listening pleasure. This song was a blast to make. I hope you enjoy it - even if it's totally out of left field for what you may expect out of my music. It can't all be sad songs love lost.
9. "Free Will": An uplifting number. This is one of a handful of songs I wrote earlier this year, just before we went into the studio. During song selection, I didn't tell Jack which songs were new and which songs had been around for a while. As it turned out, most of the new ones made the record - including "Free Will". (Neat, I can still write!) I didn't write this song with any particular story -or person- in mind. It's an amalgamation of many stories - stories that are mine, and stories that belong to others. In general, I enjoy writing sad songs. (This isn't news to anyone who knows me.) I don't really know why that is. But I do love a good sad song and I'm prone to writing them. I think they're so easy to relate to. Love is a powerful, often overwhelming emotion. The other side of that is love lost.
Heartbreaks are brutal. I've had my fair share. I've given my fair share. I've watched friends and loved ones go through them, and I've watched them cause them. We all have. Generally speaking, nobody wins in a heartbreak. Of course, the breakers always seem to fare better than breakees, but it's all heartbreak just the same.
A friend shared an article about the concept of "Free Will" and it inspired the title and overall theme of the song. What if we could choose to no longer hurt, to no longer love? I don't know that we get to choose how we feel. But we can choose how we react and who we become in spite of it - and that's basically how the song came about.
Song Mechanics: From the get-go, I knew I wanted this song to be stripped down and intimate. No percussion, no electricity. Originally it was recorded with just me and the acoustic guitar. Jack came up with some call and answer licks on the resonator guitar and I really liked the way it all meshed together. We put some very subtle bass guitar (again, Jack) underneath all of it to thicken it up the track, I sang my own background vocals (not at the same time, mind you) and that was it - the track was finished.
10. "Joie De Vivre": A cajun-country tune. I remember hearing a New Orleans marching band on an NPR podcast last year and though it was a brief segment, it left me feeling so much joy. Like, seven in the morning, driving down to paint a house, and I was thinking, LIFE IS JUST FINE GUYS. And so I drove on, just a-smiling in my truck all by myself -like some kind of happy weirdo, briefly unaware of all the misery in the world- and I thought to myself that I wanted to write a song that made me people feel good. But not too good. After all, I'm a singer of sad songs and I've got an image to maintain. I've never been short on opinions. I try to keep most of them off social media (where thought and substantive dialogue go to die), but nary a day goes by that I don't wear out someone's ear with a diatribe regarding some injustice or stupidity in the world as I see it (an important distinction). I don't often write or protest about such things in public for several reasons, but mostly just because it's exhausting and I enjoy having friends. I think how we present thoughts might be just as important as the thoughts themselves. Nobody wants to be beaten over their head or made to feel stupid. In fact, being made to feel stupid or belittled is my 'nobody calls me chicken' from 'Back To The Future' (widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time).
Anyways, when I sat down to write this song, I had a lot of thoughts about what was going on in the world - what's always going on in the world. A lot of frustration. A lot of anger. And a bit of sadness. But I didn't want to beat people over the head. Or bore anyone. Or depress anyone for the wrong reasons (we'll stick to love-lost for all the sads). While considering everything, I tried to frame it in a bigger picture of what really matters (hooray! cliche!). Then I thought back to the New Orleans marching band and that undeniable good feeling I had. And so from a juxtaposition of all these things, the song was born into the world in March of 2014, 8lbs and 7 oz. The title (which is fancy-speak for 'the joy of living') is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, when taken in the context of the rest of the tune, and offers a hat-tip to the southern part of Louisiana - one of my favorite places on earth. The verses are wrought with frustration but they're put to an upbeat cajun-country progression, so you can't get mad about it. I figure you can say whatever you want as long as it sounds like you're having fun. Anyways, I'm not much for political posturing or shouting matches. Just love each other and take care of each other. It's easy.
As for the mechanics of the song, we had some bonafide players show up on this tune. As with all the songs, the rhythm section's rock-solid foundation was comprised of Jack Saunders playing bass and Rick Richards knocking out the drums. I did the bum-bum chicka-chicka thing with the acoustic rhythm guitar and sang vocals. Lainey Balagia lent some soulful goodness to the background vocals. Then came all the instrumentals. Jack added the jazzy guitar licks. Eleanor Whitmore handled the cajun-style sawing and the fantastic fiddle solo sections. Lastly, we were fortunate to have Riley Osbourn come play the Louisiana-style keys that really put a bow on the entire track. I watched this man throw away takes that many keys players (ahem) would kill to make just once. Anyways, I loved listening to this song in the studio (minus hearing myself sing - still not 'about' that). Now that it has been set free, I hope you do too.
11. "Greenville Avenue": The final track is a piano ballad called "Greenville Avenue". It's a very personal and raw song - and it's honest in a way that if I spend much more time thinking about it, the vulnerability will start to make me uncomfortable and I'll start wondering if maybe I share too much. So now we've come to the eeeeeeend of the road. (Sorry, I just had a Boys II Men brain-burst.) But it's true: this is the end of the album. Once we made our final selections as to which songs would be included on the record, I began playing with the order of the tracks. In every instance, this was the last song on the album. It feels like an end. It's also a beginning, of sorts, as the next album will pick up where this one left off. It's a sign of things to come.
As for the song itself, I wrote it a long time ago on a cheap Casio keyboard while living in an apartment in the Dallas area. I've spent more than a handful of evenings down on Greenville Avenue in Dallas, a strip of road home to many bars, pubs, restaurants and questionable decisions. We've all got our ways to deal with things. We put on faces. We pretend we're fine and we hope that if we pretend long enough, time will grant us release and it will become our reality. I've been playing this tune at live shows, every now and then -whenever a piano was available- and it seems to really connect with people in an unexpected way.
When we recorded the song, I wanted it to convey those sentiments by keeping the recording raw, genuine, and simple. The piano track was captured by Case Mundy at Wire Road Studios in Houston, using a fantastic Steinway grand piano. Vocals were recorded with Jack at White Cat Studio. The beautiful cello part was written and played by Liz Lee (Austin, TX) and recorded by my buddy Andy Sharp at Scharf-Sharp Farms/Music Lane Studios in Austin, TX.
Thank you for reading these stories about the songs, I really appreciate it. I hope it was interesting.
It certainly was interesting, Brant! Let's end this item with that great quote he has put on his website:
“All of us have failed to match our dream of perfection. I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. If I could write all my work again, I'm convinced I could do it better. This is the healthiest condition for an artist. That's why he keeps working, trying again: he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off. Of course he won't.” - William Faulkner
Written by Brant Croucher & Johanna J. Bodde - November 17th, 2014