Monday has arrived, and you know what that means, don’t you? Time for some music! This week is a freebie week, so grab your favorite tune(s), and come dance with us, won’t you? Let’s get this party started!
Let’s start with a track from this artist’s newest solo album, his first in five years. Seated underneath a chandelier and in front of a towering window view in his home, this artist and his band performed the understated but soothing track.
If you weren’t so damn stubborn / We would’ve never got this far / Be just another casualty, two people in a bar / Here we are, another day / Every time I walk away I walk right back / You’re hard to stay mad at
The artist began working on this newest album at the end of his 2018 Soul2Soul Tour with his country star wife. He was quoted as saying:
“It was sort of on purpose because I did that because I found that the times I’ve spent working with [my wife], especially touring with [my wife], that my records got sort of exponentially better because having to sing with her every night is like a NASCAR trying to keep up with an IndyCar. She’s truly, in my opinion, one of the greatest singers that’s ever sang a song.”
After declaring that his wife makes him a better performer, the artist explained that he wanted to put together “a 30,000-foot view of life” made up of “intimate” vignettes. When the album’s title track arrived, “it sort of became the tentpole”, as some of his own defining moments were when he met his wife and when he became a father for the first time.
“I think for everyone, those things happen when you realize what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and what you’re here for. The fathers out there can appreciate the first time that you hold your child is certainly the moment that you realize that anything else that you do has meant nothing until this moment.”
Give a listen to Tim McGraw with “Hard To Stay Mad”:
Next up is a brand new video from a duet this artist did with a vintage country star in her widely acclaimed album from 2019. The video features artist playing acoustic guitar along with footage of her band on the track and the country artist filmed outside tending horses. The artist was quoted as saying:
“I wrote the song with Willie Nelson in mind. It was written as kind of a barside cowboy noir with romantic Spanish inflections, but the song has taken on new meaning during these times. I hope people find the same comfort in this song that I have always found in Willie.
The perfect song and the perfect sentiment – I never feel closer to home than when I am singing with him — I know a lot of people feel the same way, even if they’re just singing along with him on the radio. I felt that this was the perfect song and the perfect sentiment to celebrate the one year anniversary of Threads being released.”
Here’s the inimitable Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson with “Lonely Alone”:
Next up, this artist’s struggles with mental illness and self-harm have been much publicized. She has been an advocate for mental health for years, and here she teams up with Marshmello for a single about the topic. The pair released the track in partnership with not-for-profit agency Hope for the Day on September 10, 2020, World Suicide Prevention Day, to raise awareness on suicide prevention and help break the stigma.
The artist sings of her personal experience with mental illness and her feelings of discouragement and isolation. She reminds us it’s “OK not to be OK” when feeling down and to embrace the fact that it’s human nature to be low sometimes. She wrote in an Instagram post that she penned the song for all those who feel besieged by suicidal thoughts and depression, having battled them herself for much of her life.
“I’ve had many days where I’ve struggled, but please let this song be an anthem to anyone who needs it right now. You can get through whatever it is you’re going through… I’m here for you always, you are not alone and I love you.”
The artist recorded the song in partnership with Marshmello after the pair kept running into one another at various awards shows and music events. The helmeted DJ said that when the artist presented him with the demo, it was just her voice with piano accompaniment:
“So then I was like, how can I create an instrumental, instruments, that complement the emotion of the song? So in the beginning it’s very slow and stuff, so I made the instrumental very slow. And then during the hook, which is the resolve of the song, I kind of picked it up with the energy and it’s kind of like a little dance tune.”
The artist was quoted as saying:
“Because in the verses, it gets kind of quiet or more vulnerable. And then on the choruses, it’s more driven and it’s more upbeat and energetic and it’s like, it kind of provides you that escape that you need right now, that dance break that you’re like, ‘you know what? I’m not doing okay but I’m just going to forget it for this second, and we just dance and we dance.'”
Without further ado, here’s Demi Lovato and Marshmello with “OK Not To Be OK”:
Last, but certainly not least, this drinking song starts off with one artist waking up on the couch after a hard night of boozing. The other artist joins him on the tune; the pair take turns to recount their irritation and desperation when late-night alcohol consumption becomes a source of friction between them.
This is the country artist’s first collaboration with the pop star. However, the pop star has dabbled in country music before, having previously collaborated with Kenny Chesney on “Setting the World on Fire” and with Chris Stapleton on “Love Me Anyway.”
The pop star was always the country star’s first choice to be his partner when he was sent this song. He was quoted as saying:
“I always wanted to do something with her. When this song came along, I heard her voice in my head. I didn’t know her, so through some mutual friends I sent it to her with my fingers crossed – and she loved it.”
The COVID lockdown presented some challenges when laying down the tune. The pair were forced to piece together the recording rather than meeting up in the studio. They found themselves at opposite sides of the globe – the pop star in Los Angeles and the country singer in Sydney – when it came to filming the music video. That explains the story line, which finds the country artist adrift at sea on a couch following an alcohol-filled night while the pop star stares out at the water from the shore.
The country star got the bar room singalong effect on the final chorus by enlisting members of his road band, and even his videographer, to join him in crowding around a single mic in the studio.
“We did several of the takes as off-key and drunk-sounding as we could.”
That’s a wrap for this week – have a great Monday, I’ll see you on the dance floor, keeping that social distancing! Seriously though – hope you all are staying safe and healthy.
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!