In 2013 I met Steve O-L and we got to talking about recording some of his solo material. What I thought would be a simple, quick gig recording someone else’s music turned into something a lot deeper and more meaningful than anything I was expecting. Recording Tire Swing Co. has been some of the most inspiring and rewarding music-related work I’ve done with anyone, and Steve’s become a great friend.
Truth be told, recording INAMORATA helped to perforate a pretty rotten period of depression that left me feeling like there was no point in doing anything anymore. Getting to be a part of bringing those songs to life forced me to start working on music with some amount of commitment again, got me to care about recording for the first time in a while after being locked in a pattern of writing a lot of songs but not doing much of anything with them because I couldn’t see the use, and inspired some of the best playing and engineering I’ve done in all the years I’ve been toiling away at this. I didn’t write those songs, but I’d hold that album up against anything.
We were working on recording some new Tire Swing Co. music — songs that would end up on the TIME AWAY EP — when the road forked and led somewhere a little different. We started writing songs together when we’d never done that before. And then the floodgates opened, and we had to hold ourselves back from writing a second album before the first one was finished.
I don’t know how to explain it. There’s a strange spark between us, and the creative energy almost seems to have a mind of its own. If we sit down in a room with a few guitars and a piano, new song ideas are going to bubble to the surface. It doesn’t matter how wiped out or uninspired we think we are. It never fails. Half the time we aren’t even trying to come up with anything. It just happens.
The songs on this album are about a Russian shortwave radio station, the doomed shared trajectory of outlaw lovers, the past as a mirror you look into to see who you are now, the difficulty of holding onto faith in a sometimes ugly world, the tools time wields like a malevolent surgeon, and the strange maze you would see if someone sliced your hand open, among other things. They feel like some of the best songs I’ve had a hand in creating. And there are some beautiful grace notes in there from Natalie Westfall, Kelly Hoppe, Stu Kennedy, Jim Meloche, and Dave Dubois.
There’s a lot more to say. If you’re interested in reading more about this album and what went into it, I direct your attention over HERE, where I wrote more than you could ever possibly want to know about each of the songs and all of the pictures that make up the album cover.
Paint as You Like and Die Happy
Afterthought No. 3 (Shining a Light, Making a Scar)
West Coast Blues
The Yuan Dynasty
Afterthought No. 4 (Waiting for Armageddon)
Dying to Be Born
Afterthought No. 2 (Black Hole)
Pave over It All