It was her year of celibacy, mine of work. She was an anything-but-country type with an RN license and best friend from Georgia. Moved into the apartment right behind mine. Dropped off a plate of millionaire’s shortbread and a note. Hot-girl handwriting, purple ink.
Her license plate read New York, and she drove the same model Subaru as my soon-to-be ex. She brought her fungi collection, Amazon Prime subscription, and more than one idea about the South.
Under the right conditions, 20 minutes is all it takes to write a song. Ask Toby Keith. He wrote “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” in that amount of time. Lil Wayne’s even faster. He’s been known to record an entire mixtape in a single session.
That kind of speed has never been in my wheelhouse. With a songwriting partner 2,000 miles away, we’re lucky to get a verse done in two hours. But this one came out quick.
In 2016, Jackson’s love led us north. He lived in Eagle Rock, I lived in Burbank. He studied cognitive science. Me: audio. One weekend, Jackson and his girlfriend, Charlie, planned to go to San Francisco for Pride Weekend.
People born in Nashville have music inside of them. Even the ones who never considered themselves musicians. Like my friend Kelsey, who records as Super Brava, and Nashville artist/designer, Maddy Underwood. Both of them are on this song.
Back in 2021, Maddy and I had lived in Nashville together for a year. Two-bedroom apartment, nice part of town, but the energy was all wrong. So, at the end of the summer, we moved to New York—Long Island and parts of Upstate, not the city.
Back when Clubhouse was new, there was a popular room for independent artists. You’d find real-estate hackers, teenagers, and NFT people there. A guy named Fernando, too. On a good day, you might even catch a real music professional, like 4rAx of the Mekanix.
Sam—who helped write Track 1—hung out in this room. Her profile had a black-and-white head shot and a link to her album. It sounded straight out of La Jetée: raw, far-off folk.