Looking for You
My second country cd. Still working in my living room. By this time I had been performing three or four nights a week for a couple years. Lots of singing. I was putting in my “ten thousand hours.” My songwriting wasn’t quite as introspective and personal as the first CD. There’s a lot more happiness and joie de vivre on the CD. It’s again recorded on the old-school mixer and I played most everything myself. I have a very intimate relationship with this CD and the one before. I remember every single note every single missed take. This is still my best selling cd to date. I wrote a lot of the songs in the car on the way to shows. I was driving all over the southeast playing in any bar that would hire me.
You can’t grasp what FloraBama Time means until you’ve been there. Probably several times. It’s hard to capture the place in a single song, and we have not done that. I’ll keep writing songs about the place for years. And let me say thank you to my friends Mark Sherril and Wes Loper. Sometimes I get started on a song and then can’t finish it. Can’t bring it home, as they say. This was one of those times. I knew I had a great concept, but a concept is not a song. Wes and I worked on this while he made PBJ for the kids and we dismantled a swing set in his back yard. Mark and I finished this on the balcony of a condo over looking Johnson’s beach in Perdido Key. All I remember from those few days is this song. Couldn’t tell you anything else that happened or where I played or who I met.
I started this song in the car on the way home from my mamas. And when I say home I mean here, where I’m sitting right this minute. Your mama always thinks her house is home, and to a degree it is because it’s where they’ll take you back when you fall off your pedestal. But I, and I suspect a lot of you because I’ve met many of you and know your hearts are similar to mine, have carved a home of my own volition and achievement. Choice is an uncommon activity these days. Real choice. Things happened to me that left me with the chance to chose and I took it.
I chose to stay here. There were reasons I first came here to south Alabama, but I made a conscious choice to stay. And out of that conscious choice came the feeling that is FloraBama Time. That here was this place that allowed you your own lies or your own truth if you were brave enough to face it.
The song is about the place and the frame of mind simultaneously. This song was and is a surprise to me. It’s not really a country song and yet it is in every technical respect. The structure of the song is straight up country song. But the mix of instruments is bizarre for country. I let myself have fun with this song instead of just playing the chords necessary for the lyrics.
It took months to start recording it because I didn’t know where the drum beat went. That sounds silly now, you’ve been listening to it for years, but I recorded it first with a double bass kick in a strange place in the beat that sounded more like Manfred Mann on ecstasy. I don’t remember who, but somebody heard that version and was honest enough to not say it was amazing. It wasn’t.
And the real kicker that got the song recorded was that frog. If you’ve seen the video you’ve seen that frog.
Once I found that frog I knew how the song started and the first step’s the hardest.
I worked on it for over a week in its final stage and I remember dragging Cameron Price and Compton Smith down to the FloraBama gift shop cause it had the only CD player on site. I was so excited to have these guys hear my creation. Compton put it in and the frog came on and we stood there. I could tell Cameron thought he was humoring me, he was prepared to say, “Hey man that’s pretty cool”.
But when the chorus kicked in and the whole production came to life in the gift shop, I saw his eyes light up in genuine surprise.
I knew the rest of you would have that reaction and that I had nailed it. I still love this song and I always will. I love singing it with you because it’s about us.
It’s a reminder of what you can do if you choose to choose. Choose You. Find your FloraBama Time wherever you are. And of course I always love seeing you down here on FloraBama Standard Time
Drink Her Pretty
rink her pretty started in a bar in Fairhope one weekday afternoon. I was sitting there talking to my buddies Mike and Robert, Robert bemoaning a date he’d had. And before I say the fateful words that start this whole thing off, let me tell you about the notebook under the cash register.
This was a tiny neighborhood bar with about 9 stools. They had a Sweetwater Sign and a picture of Johnny Cash flipping the bird at the ACM. Famous picture that I mistook for a love of country music.
Nope! Never mind that; I’ve gotten used to people thinking they love country music because they love Johnny Cash. The truth is not one in ten of the people I meet who profess a love for Johnny Cash can name more than a handful of his songs. Or know that he wrote books, over came Himalayan odds and beat downs and kept going. Johnny has become, among many other things, a rally cry for the trapped rebel inside white collar office workers. Which is mostly what frequented this bar.
Needless to say I didn’t hang out there much and only ever because of these guys. I guess Johnny Cash can be a symbol for whatever you need, but don’t forget that he wrote songs and sang them like nobody else and loved a woman. Go listen to some of his songs you don’t know.
Back to Robert. He was famous for saying stuff worth writing down so the bar kept a notebook under the cash register titled, “Shit Robert Said.” Some of it was weird, some of it I guess you had to be there, but most of it was Confucian level koans about the foibles of men and women.
So he said, “Boys, had one last night……….You couldn’t Drink Her Pretty.” Beers were set down, heads turned, I remember nearly choking on a tuna taco.
And here came the notebook. Mary was about to write that down.
But I said, “Wait wait wait… That’s mine. Thank you very much.” I remember patting the air miming pushing the notebook back under the cash register.
I regret not having made more time for Robert and Mike in the past year. I’m gonna fix that today. Send a text message here in just a second. My songs always make me think of my friends. When the bar moved I asked Robert what had happened to the notebook and he didn’t know. Somebody out there has that notebook. If you see it please steal it for me.