It was never not going to be a long road
We understood this going in. After all, I had notebooks filled with lyrics, chords, melodies, tablature, fragments--notebooks going back more than 10 years. Who writes for that long and gives up on those thoughts?
Honestly, I don't fully recall how all the songs go in those notebooks. I have a system of remembering, but most of the time I rely on my portable digital recorder to get it right. These files are then ported over to one of many external drives, filtered into seemingly countless folders to be remembered at a later time. Then it's a matter of moving forward on the next thing. That's what songwriting is: getting it down, moving onto the next thing.
When I approached Curt Piar in mid 2016 I had an idea of what I wanted the songs to work like. I leaned on him, challenged him as a producer to get outside of what he might know about Americana or alt-country and take a ride down that road of discovery. He did so--with tons of enthusiasm. We shared a brain on everything, bouncing ideas off each other, concepts, visuals. He dialed it in where it needed it and when it needed it I simply stepped back and watched and learned. Because that's also songwriting: watching and learning.
We neared the end of the actual recording in April, 2017--a full calendar year from when we started. The songs took shape from scarce demos (nearly 30 of them) to 10 polished, completed songs, with one Christmas single to spare. We decided to call the project Red Wine Diaries because most of the songs in one form or another were drafted over several bottles of red wine, stretched out over several years. The funny thing is, I don't drink. It's a cool title nevertheless.
I can't wait for people to hear what we've done. In July 2017 you'll be able to. Then we can get to work on the next notebook.