Catching up with Emerson and an Introduction to “Beauty in Disrepair”

Well its been a few years since I released and toured “Cigarettes and Gasoline.”  A record that I loved making and, in the end, turned out to be very proud of.  I had every intention to release a swift follow-up but life changed and I had to think a little longer and deeper about what I wanted to write about.  I became a father, I fell in love again, both of which changed how I looked at the world around me.  I moved out of the city proper of Nashville and started remodeling an old farm house that I had fallen in love with (I will get back to that part of the journey later) and as with all early 19th century houses, you have to really love it to keep on doing it.  In that time Tonic released a Greatest Hits and we jumped back in to make another record and busy became busy again. After all of that was done I started to look at the songs I had been writing over the 5 years past and began to see the pattern in the words and music I wanted to record for the next one.

A lot of this record started from a place that took me a while to reconnect to.  When I was 10 my father was killed and I went to live on my Grandparents farm in Hopedale, Ohio. It was (and still is) a very small town and that side of my family has been in that area since the late 1700s.  Our house was very old and very big and was filled with pictures of family long gone and furniture that had made its journey down the family line.  I have lots memories of driving with my Grandmother and Grandfather on Sundays through the countryside to put flowers on the old family graves. Some stones still standing, some stones weather beaten and barely marked, as time took its toll on them. There was an old church in the distance where my great grandfather used to preach and its roof had caved in long ago.  I tell you this long story because in all of that there is beauty. I really believe it was in these years of my life and looking back on them that I stumbled on the concept of “ Beauty in Disrepair.”  I have realized and embraced at this part of my life story that I love old things and probably will always be surrounded by them and care for them.

When I started writing the song “Mostly Grey” I started to see the thread of what was to come for the record. Then came “To Be Young” and “Hallway” and “The Wire” which looks at being a caretaker of things gone. After that, the songs started to continue the thread of what I have lived from “Cigarettes And Gasoline” till now.