English Rock Band
"I'M ABOUT TO COME ALIVE"
(Pat Monahan/Jimmy Stafford/Scott Underwood/Charlie Colin/Rob Hotchkiss/Clint Bennett)
I've been singing this song for probably five or six years. Never at any moment did I think that I'd have an opportunity to cut it for this record. It's just been that song that has been a constant in my career. For the longest time people just assumed it was one of my songs or a song that I had written. Little did they know that it was actually a cover of one of my favorite groups Train. It was the last cut on their My Private Nation record. It had a very strong, personal meaning to me at the time and over the years it's taken more of a literal, professional meaning. I'm sure I'll say all these songs are one of my favorites, but this is the song that has kind of been associated with me through the last few years of my career.
(Jonathan Singleton/Melissa Peirce/Dennis Matkosky)
This came to us after the record was done. The head of A&R, Brian Wright, who's a really good friend of mine, brought it to me. To be honest, at the time I wasn't real crazy about adding it just because any time you do a record you more or less have to force yourself to close the book on it because otherwise you'll just keep going back and wanting to fix and add things. I had kind of gone through that process but after I listened to it I said, `I get it. Just tell me when and where we're recording.' And since we've been out on the road with it, introducing it to the world, so to speak, it's been great. I think it was something that we were missing on the record and I'm glad we had the opportunity to add it.
(David Nail/Scooter Carusoe)
`Again' is a song I've wanted to write for 20 or so years. As far back as I can remember, there's a specific girl in my hometown I wanted to write about but I was never able to capture a story about her. I walked into my producer's office one day with eight lines and they were actually the first eight lines of the song. I said, `man, I have no clue what this is or where it's going but I really have to finish this song.' I knew where it was coming from and I knew that this was my best chance yet to capture that adolescent, first love, so to speak. The best thing about being a songwriter is that you have the power and you can kind of manipulate the lyric to maybe stray a little bit from the truth. There are definitely some true moments to the song, but there are some fictional moments in the song too. I'm not a huge tempo writer. And this is one of probably only four or five songs I've ever written that have any kind of tempo to it. But it's definitely one of the best songs to play live because it kind of rocks out a little bit.
(David Nail/Scooter Carusoe)
This idea came from an interesting experience. I had just been to Florida to see a girl. You know when you first meet someone, you're excited and you think, `this could possibly be the one.' So, in the back of my mind I was thinking I have a week, I'm just gonna enjoy this. What I learned is after about the second or third day you realize the reality of things, like bad habits, and that it's not gonna work out but you're stuck for the duration of the trip. So by the end of that week we both kind of realized that we had reached the peak, so to speak, of our relationship. I'll never forget the feeling, driving back to the airport, and thinking, `wow, this is so awkward.' The silence. It just seemed like we were never gonna get there, and the plane couldn't take off fast enough. I came back to Nashville and told that story to a friend of mine. He immediately started writing down exactly what I was saying. Little did I know, he was more or less writing the song as I was telling the story. When we recorded it, it turned out to be a beautiful track. It's one of the songs that I'm more proud of from a lyrical standpoint. It's another one of my favorites.
"SUMMER JOB DAYS"
(Neil Thrasher/Michael Dulaney/Gary LeVox)
When I first heard the demo I just knew I had to cut it. Growing up I never went on a lot of vacations. I was actually 21 before I saw the ocean for the first time. There were a lot of times that I wanted to go on spring break in college or in high school with my friends but didn't. So there's always been this image in the back of my mind of what that week would've been like. This song was kind of my way of actually experiencing that.
"STRANGERS ON A TRAIN"
(Scooter Carusoe/Aimee Mayo)
Like `Mississippi', I found this through our catalog at the publishing company I work for. A lot of times when you hear songs you automatically picture what the video would look like. You can just see it playing out in your mind. That's how it was with this one. After I'd found it, I was backstage at a Miranda Lambert show and as it often happens on the bus, a guitar got brought out, so I played her the song. She immediately started singing harmony with it, and it was just one of those things where the magic happened without even trying to force it. I was lucky enough that she agreed later to actually sing on the record. If it all ends tomorrow I'll be able to go home with a record and say somebody who's not only a friend, but extremely talented agreed to do that for a new artist, and that's cool.
"LOOKING FOR A GOOD TIME"
Joe Fisher in the A&R department at the label called me very early on in the recording process. He was like, `man, I don't exactly know if this song's for you, but if nothing else you're just gonna love it and you're gonna want a copy of it just to listen to.' I was so excited. I got in my car and drove to the label. I was like, `play it for me, play it for me.' I had this feeling that it was going to be special. He played the guitar vocal of it by the writer, who's an amazing singer and songwriter. It was one of those songs where I didn't even exactly know what was going on, but it was so powerful and so intense. I looked at him and said, `I don't even know if I have the power to do this, but put that song on hold. I have to have that song.' It has very intense lyrics, and is very dark and deep. It's something that I felt a calling to sing. We've actually started opening the show with a more moodier, vibey version of it. I'm really proud of the way it turned out. I think it's a great song.
"THIS TIME AROUND"
(David Nail/Lee Miller)
`This Time Around' is a song I felt like said what I really had to say. I moved to Nashville nine years ago and have kind of had some ups and downs professionally. It's just a message that I needed to say to a lot of people in town, but mostly to myself. It's just a song about growing up and maturing and realizing that you can learn from your mistakes. And if you do that, you can show others that you've changed.
(Kenny Chesney/Scooter Carusoe)
This song has kind of gotten me to this point. The first time I heard it, it was just a guitar/vocal of Scooter singing. It was one of the first songs that I'd heard when I started at Carnival Music. I just knew that this was that song that I had been searching for, probably the entire time that I'd been in Nashville. It was something I could really dig into and sing the way I had been wanting to sing. Being from a small town in southeast Missouri, all the imagery in the song was something that I could really relate to. I can close my eyes and be back in that small town...Friday night football game... I just love it. When we play it live, I always look back at the guys in the band and say, `hey, let's take `em to church'. It just has that gospel, soul, old-school Motown kind of feel to it. I just love it. It's without a doubt my most favorite song to sing.
I wrote this probably five, six, seven years ago. I was going through a really rough stretch, both personally and professionally. It came out one night really late. It was really hard for me to play or share with anyone, but I found that once I did, it was a huge weight off my shoulders because it was almost like I was shutting a door on that dark period of my life. There've been a lot of times where this song was right on the verge of not making the record, and I fought hard for it because not only is it close to my heart because I lived it, but with the title being Missouri, I felt like it was, in a way, a shout out to my home state, which I'm very proud to be from. I think that it's, without a doubt, the most honest that I've ever been in a song. I definitely revealed a not so flattering side of myself, but I think that it's the best production on the record. I've had the pleasure to hear it on a few stations that spun it and it sounds so good coming over the radio. God-willing, I hope someday it'll be a single because I just think that it's a really powerful song.