Boy, this is a hard one to write.
I recently spoke at a graduation dinner for two high school graduates. I talked a lot about identity and where identity comes from. Is it something inherited, or is it up to you to establish? Many years ago I explored this very thing when I wrote these two songs, which were written back to back, though many months apart.
I wrote in an earlier post that this album began as an exploration into my past, and the events that shaped me. High school and college were strange times for me as I wandered through life attempting to figure out who I was, and there was one particular crush I had in high school, and one particular relationship in college that helped shape who I am today. It is important to know that these are two very true stories, so true that someday, after I make it big, I may regret writing, recording and releasing them when women from around the world claim that they were the inspiration behind the song(s). So, to answer the question on your mind: Yes, the stories are true and the people are real. Full disclosure.
I always joke at shows that Hypothetical Romance is a song I asked my wife if she would be okay with me writing since its about another girl. She said no, but I did anyway. (This is not entirely true – she was hesitant but then realized that only about 10 people would hear it anyway). The final verse in the song about her made sense to write, because if not for the particular epiphany I had during the time in my life the song is reflecting on, there’s a chance I could be writing this post about a different song describing how lonely I am.
I Fell in Love One Time Before was written on the road on the way home from a party one winter night in 2007. Because of how late it was and how tired I was, I decided there was no better time than to write a blues song in my head. Why? Because it would provide the song structure required to repeat lines and not have to remember as much when I got home to write it all down. Makes perfect sense.
Earlier that day, as part of my personal assignment to explore my past for song ideas, I had been reading through old journals I used to write in college. Many of the entries were made up of the things I wanted to say to a friend but couldn’t because I had fallen in love with her and she didn’t feel the same way. So this was on my mind, and, naturally, if I were going to be a blues artist for the car ride home, this would be a good topic to write about.
I had originally written the songs to be played back to back on the album… with HR coming first, and IFILOTB coming next, but Mike recommended the switcheroo which took very little convincing after I heard the final song order. It’s important to note this because I had this song order in mind for about three years before hearing the 2nd to final master in November when they were switched.
Also important to note, Mike busted out the accordion on HR. When I was off at college, falling in love one time before, I had not yet learned guitar, and was, quite seriously, thinking about picking up the accordion since I had a piano background. I was so serious about it that I had even bid on a few on EBay, ultimately losing out. My roommates were grateful.
So was my mom’s old guitar that I picked up instead.