16 July 2015
I guess it was about this time two years ago. I was sitting in my friend Caroline's front room with my wife, Sarah, and we were listening to Billie Jo Spears and drinking some weird coconut flavoured gin that Caroline had got free from her work. I was probably being really boring and going on and on about how much I loved country music and how it was the only music I ever listened to anymore. Caroline was telling me how much she loved Blanket On The Ground and how she'd grown up listening to all these incredible country records, but how she didn't really listen to country music at all anymore, and I remember thinking that was odd. And a bit sad too. I started talking about how I'd always wanted to make a country album and I just remember them both seeming to be really excited about the thought of it. I guess it was them being excited about it that made it happen. I think whenever you make a record you have to always imagine someone listening to it and liking it. And whenever we were making this record I tried to imagine them.
Two years ago, The Great Perhaps, the fourth album by The Boy Least Likely To, had just been released, and like all the records we'd made it had taken longer than we'd hoped and it had taken it out if us. I don't think either me or Pete were in the mood to start making another album straight away. So I started writing for something else. Something closer to all the country records I'd loved and been listening to. I took the words to my friend Adam and we started to write the songs that make up most of the album. I wanted to write some songs with my brother because we hadn't written any songs together since we wrote My Tiger My Heart and Sleeping With A Gun Under My Pillow, so I gave some words to him too. Then we got Rob Jones involved. Mainly because for years now I've been roping him in to record with me and telling him that I'm going to make three or four albums a year, and although we'd done lots of recording together, I'm sure he'd given up on me actually finishing anything at all. I knew he could make whatever little things we were coming up with sound like an actual record that people might want to listen to. And we needed that.
We drove down to Kent every couple of weeks to record and I made country compilations for everyone to listen to, but I'm not sure if Rob ever did. We talked about the record sounding like a cross between Johnny Cash and Bananarama, and we talked bout it being "country music for girls to dance to", but really we just meant country music for Caroline and Sarah, who are both girls, to dance to. I think it was Simon Davey, who mastered the first single, that came up with the description "country music for people who don't really like country music", and we kind of liked that, but kind of hoped that people who did like country music liked it too. Otherwise what were we doing. I think we've made a country record that's true to ourselves, to who we are and where we come from. My favourite records are always the ones where someone set out to make something particular but allowed themselves to fail a little. The magic is in the failing. It's what makes records sound unique and human. I'm not interested in making a perfect copy of something that someone else has already made, even if I did know how to.
And now it's two years later, and the album comes out tomorrow. And I'm really excited just to have made it. It's got twelve songs on and a sleeve and a booklet and the names of the songs even come up when I play it in the car. It's an actual real thing that you can open and hold and turn around in your hands. And it all started out as just a silly idea we had on a Saturday afternoon after drinking some weird gin.