"Things I Meant to Say" is probably to this day the best job I've done of creating a "world" on one of my records. It's a good project with only one or two small things I would change. And I got to work with some people I really liked working with in Tim Heeley (Drums) and Becky Outlaw (Vocals). This was a really fun, really solid effort and I think it's probably a great starting point for my music, if you need one. Let's jump into talking about the songs.
It's an intro track and an instrumental. One of my better instrumentals, though. I think it does a good job of setting the tone and I really like the hammered dulcimer part. I play that a lot, when I'm at home and remember that I own one.
This is one of my favorites of its ilk. I've played it a lot and resurrected it for the "Wayne County EP" a few years later. I go back and forth between which of those versions I like better (presently the Wayne County one), but I like them both and I get a lot of comments about this song. By way of subject, the song is about having physical and emotional scars and just trying to make it through that. People seem to identify with it.
This is a song that I saved from the wreckage of my punk band, Uncle Dick. The band broke up, but I didn't want to let this one go. So I didn't. It's about the sacrifices you make for a relationship, and evaluating if you've still got the strength to keep doing it. Spoiler alert: "I haven't got the hands to do it anymore..."
OFF MY FEET:
It's a love song, and one that I really like. But, guys who write songs, let me give you some advice... The song doesn't win you the girl. So don't so that. Because you end up with a good song that you resent. This is one of those for me.
JESUS DOESN'T CARE:
I like this song, but I regret one line. The line "I know the Bible in and out..." is bad. Can we all agree to mentally change it to "I DON'T know the Bible in and out, but I know what it is about..." and let me forget that theological error? Thanks. I wrote this one mostly because fuck George W. Bush. I follow Christ, not the Republican Party. (Cue people who write to me about how evil the Democrats are, even though I didn't say I vote for THEM either...)
Largely inspired by the Peter Sellers movie of the same name. It's a song about having experiences and letting them shape you. You don't always walk away with something life-changing...but at least you were THERE. And sometimes being there is all that counts. I love this song. It's one of my favorites I've ever written.
It always surprises me how many people talk to me about this song. I mean, I like it and I am flattered that it means something to people...but I had no idea that this would be one that people cling to like they seem to. It's one of the ones I hear about the most. I wrote it after hanging around late one night with some friends. We were sitting outside under the streetlights, with some Slurpees from 7-11, and I basically just described it. And I guess everyone's had that experience, and it resonates with folks. I'm glad!
This one meant a lot to me when I wrote it, and it still kind of does. I don't play it much because it's in an alternate tuning, but among my songs that get stuck in my head, this is one of the more frequent ones. I wrote it more or less about a friend's divorce. We were talking and I asked him if he was doing okay. He replied describing that he doesn't regret the relationship, because even though it's over, it was something great for a while. And the love may have ended in one way, but in another way, it lasts forever. "Love makes us something more," he said. And I stole that.
It's a good song, but I probably wouldn't do it now. I mostly put it on the record because a good friend liked it, so I wanted him to have a copy. I like it and I think I make a valid point about the Gospel being open to everybody, but it's not one I gravitate back to often. I think I just thought I was cool for saying the word "whore" in a Christian song. I've said "fuck" in one, since...so this doesn't seem like such a big deal now.
I would like to play this one more than I do, but I don't ever remember it. It's about my relationship with a specific friend, who kind of flaked on me for a couple of years, then just showed up out of the blue wanting to pick things up like nothing had happened. I was conflicted about that, and this song poured out.
At the time, I thought I was writing a Bowie-inspired song. I don't think you can still hear that. Regardless, I like the song a lot and I play it from time to time. It's a song that's summed up in one line... "The friends you keep are the friends you've earned." So think about who you're keeping...
I WAS BORN:
Well of COURSE you were! ...ahem... This is mostly just a song for my dad. And for God. And an excuse to play harmonica and pretend I'm Neil Young. It's good. I like it. A lot of people seem to...particularly my dad.
Okay, so I'm a little embarrassed that the lyric borders on Emo what with the mention of not sending me any e-mails, etc...but I still really like it! A little pretentious. A little sentimental. And I really like how Becky's vocals came out.
THINGS I MEANT TO SAY:
One morning, I lost five friends. It was a bad car accident out by Six Flags. It was in the papers and on the news--and I was interviewed by Channel 4 about it, in fact. I don't think a day has gone by that I haven't thought about the Huckabas and Willinghams. I've kept in touch with particularly Shawn, who was thrust into a spotlight no one deserves to have on them and did an amazing job with it. He has more than one reminded me of something I wrote on the memorial vase they had for Angi (Shawn's wife, who was only 30 when she was killed--I'm older than her now). She was a good friend to me...all I could think to write was "Thank you." And I think that was exactly what I always meant to say. This song is a tribute to five people who died too young because somebody wasn't paying attention. It's also the first step in a major shift for me as a writer. As much as I would give up all of it to get to talk to Angi about music and Jesus again, I do think of this song as the turning point that allowed me to finally start exploring darker subjects and to really reach inward. She helped me see myself clearer while she was here, and keeps doing it every time I write a song about how fucked up everything's gotten. And that helps. And I'm grateful for having known Angi, Joshua, Jacob, Amy, and Brett. I've missed them every day, and they continue shaping me into a better person, even though they've been gone for so long.