The "We See Through It" Experience: Day 1

Welcome to Day 1 of the "We See Through It" Experience, we're so happy that you're on this journey with us! Below you'll find today's two songs, "The Last Dance" and "You Are My Everything" available for direct download and streaming. You'll also find more details on the daily bonus content such as our Song Stories and behind the scenes videos of our creative processes. Scroll down and enjoy! 

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Today's songs are: The Last Dance and You Are My Everything. 

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Song Stories, Inspiration and Creative Process

In these song stories, I aim to give you some insight into the creative process behind each song. Once a song is released into the world, they gain an interesting kind of independence from the writer. This happens as a result of the listener's feelings and interactions with the music. I love that songs can take on a life of their own that I as the writer cannot control. Though I will share my thoughts about the songs are about, those ideas are only my perspective. It's my greatest hope that you take time with each song and develop your own personal relationship with them. 

This album was recorded in a way that may be best experienced through multiple-listens and on headphones. As you listen, you may find new layers of sound and meaning that aren't immediately apparent the first time you hear it. Enjoy! Jim D & SKW

"The Last Dance"

The Last Dance Song Story

I find that driving in silence for extended periods is when many of the creative ideas show up.

The Last Dance first started out as a much slower reggae influenced tune. The very first part to drop into my mind (from wherever ideas originate) was the “raba-ba pum pum pum” chorus against a dancehall rhythmic foundation.

Along with the chorus, was a little melody that reminded me of African Soukous guitar music. When I got home from that trip I sat down on my red couch with the telecaster to figure out how to play the melody.

All of this occurred the day before family vacation with my kids and wife at the beach in Delaware. Knowing that something good was brewing, I brought the guitar along so that when everybody was taking a nap after swimming, I could go out on the deck to play the melody over and over and over again while enjoying the ocean waves. I find that just sitting with a melody and repeating it for an extended period of time helps me to drop into a creative flow state- if there's an ocean involved, then all the better! Once I’m in flow, ideas seem to show up without much effort or analysis.

Being at the beach in the middle of the summer, coupled with the African feeling of the melody reminded me of the drum rhythms I played on the songs Ecstasy and Martyr from Rusted Root’s When I Woke album. Once I made that connection, I paused. At first I worried that maybe I shouldn’t use a rhythm from my old band’s music. So I experimented as I repeated playing the melody while thinking about other rhythmic feels and tempos to find out if there might be something better.

As it turns out, this reliable groove was the feel that gave the song the energy it needed.

The verse lyrics came after the initial melody, chorus and groove were established. The words were written during the summer and fall of 2016 right in the middle of the crazy political campaign for president here in the US. I had never seen such intensity and divisiveness during an election. This coupled with the natural disasters and shootings happening repeatedly made me feel like maybe this is what the end of the world looks like.

Every End Begins a New Time

As I let myself experience my fear of that idea, another thought occurred to me – that the world is always ending for someone and beginning for someone else. Every second of every day, endings and beginnings are continuously happening. Through I might not always like it, change is natural and necessary.

Like many people, I tend to resist change, even though I intellectually understand that it is the only constant.

Lyrically, I really liked the competing ideas of the world ending, and that every end begins a new time. It made me wonder if I could write something about the intensity I was feeling and somehow make it joyful and maybe even informative. I wanted the lyrics to be word-dense and rapid fire so that it would create urgency and allow for more information to be shared in a short period of time.

Once I got the rest of the band around the tune, everything started to take shape. We added the big heavy guitar bridge which felt like a nice contrast between the other more happy sounds. Fazio laid down a gorgeous conga solo, thereby becoming the first official "drummer on your front porch".

Drummers Drumming On Your Front Porch

As a drummer at heart, I love the idea of a group of drummers invading someones porch and just starting to drum. The line “Hear the drummers drumming on your front porch” is meant as a wake-up call to the fact that, like it or not, things are changing, and that somehow I believe we will figure out how to live together with people we don’t always agree with. In my own opinion, this happens when I look for ways to learn from them, by choosing to be respectful and remembering that I do not know the burdens that person is carrying that may inform their thoughts and actions.

Acoustic Livestream at RED MEDICINE STUDIO  Pittsburgh 1.7.18

Kent Tonkin of The Sun King Warriors and producer Sean McDonald work out bass for the verses of The Last Dance

"You Are My Everything" 

You Are My Everything Song Story

Do you still love me?

You Are My Everything is a tongue in cheek song I wrote for my wife (and muse) Tracey.  During the earlier part of our relationship, I remember us asking each other in moments of insecurity and self-doubt,  “Are you sure you still love me?”

If you’ve ever repeatedly been asked these kinds of reassurance questions, you might know the mild feeling of annoyance that comes afterwards… and then maybe you hear the words come out of your mouth:  “Of course I love you!” “It’s been 10 years and I’m still picking your clothes up off the bathroom floor for you… I wouldn’t do that without deep love and reverence for my dear…” (True Story) 

Using the mild annoyance idea, I wrote from the perspective of the spouse who exasperatedly is telling their significant other, in effect: “For the love of God, YES I love you and stop asking already” and “Not only that, but you my dear have way more power over me than you realize...and I like it.”

Unhinged Mania

I’m always enjoyed rockabilly/psychobilly intensity and thought it will be fun to turn this song into that kind of a romp. The band and I have not experimented with style of music yet, but as soon as I heard Dan’s harmonica track on this recording,  it made me think we need to explore a little bit more down this path in the future.

The raw melody and the lyrics for this one was written (dictated into my iPhone recorder with a voice headset) on yet another long drive. When I got home, I figured out the chords and feel with the guitar on the couch. My favorite part of the song is the tempo switch in the middle. I really wanted to communicate the feeling of the intense exasperation one might feel by being asked the question “Do you still love me?” one too many times. I thought it best to exaggerate the energy of this feeling with an outro that was unhinged mania. I should mention how delighted I am to have some of Joe Marini’s double kick drum action in that section. It satisfies my secret desire to be in a thrash metal band.