Some of my greatest memories of playing in bands involve people dancing.
As a musician, when people are moving in front of you, you feel like you’re doing something right. When they’re just standing there, you feel like the message isn’t quite getting through.
As a solo artist, I’ve struggled to get danceable tunes on my albums. By and large, I write songs on acoustic guitar, and my limited skills on that instrument mean that my songs tend toward roughly the same types of rhythms every time, and those rhythms are not as conducive to dancing.
With Loving Every Other Minute of It, I was determined to have at least one song swing, so I made a point to come up with a bassline that might be considered groovy and danceable. Once I had one I liked, which became “Every Day,” I forwarded it to producer/guitarist Bret Hartley, who was clearly enamored. Bret and I cut our teeth in Moline, Illinois as nineteen year olds who loved rock trios — where bassists typically play more prominent roles musically— so Bret was ready for the bass to take the fore. Kevin Leahy always seems to know just what a song needs on drums, and he embraced the tune with a tom-infested repeating pattern that bumped up the groove.
The lyrics play with some autobiographical stuff, but only in the vaguest of ways. As a lyricist, I tend to veer away from anything too literal. In a pop rock context, I don’t want my songs to be about anything so much as how they make the listener feel. That’s a big difference for me between songwriting and narrative writing. With the kind of writing I’m doing here, I want to be as clear as possible about what I’m trying to say. With songwriting, such literalness goes out the door. The words of songs float around in more primitive parts of my head. On a certain level, I don’t want to know what they mean.
Still, for all of my songs, I can usually nail down some kind of narrative framework. For me, “Every Day” hangs on three memories, one each from my childhood, twenties, and fifties. These memories take up a verse apiece. If you feel a narrative presence in the song beneath all of the nonsense, it’s there, but for the listener, it’s not really important. The song means what it makes you feel.
This song also includes my favorite rhyme on the album:
The cows came home, and the fat lady sang
Like a football team, playing Kool & the Gang.
If you know what that means, you’re smarter than me.
Laying down the law,