Today we’re excited to present our latest “10 Songs, 10 Stories” written by singer-songwriter Will Dailey to celebrate the Deluxe Release of his album, National Throat. Please enjoy listening to the tracks below while you enjoy Dailey’s candid stories on each song. Oh, and see him on tour this spring.
Sometimes your best friend might ask you to sing the first song at his wedding. That best friend might say choose whatever song you want, whatever feels right in your heart. You’ll have a song that might work but you are really excited to play it because you recently wrote it. That song may then go over so well that guests get a little emotional (it’s a wedding) and want to know more about it. You then have to explain that you wrote it after your dog passed away.
It’s not every song where you remember the exact moment it came into being but we have been playing this song almost every day this year and I’ll occasionally get a flash back to a moment of clarity at shows: I am on the phone holding a garden hose spraying dirt off the front porch. I am barefoot in a pair of sweats while in a heated and animated conversation about my current professional station in my life, “I feel like I’m on a boat that is half sunk and everyone aboard still feels like they are sailing!” Water spraying everywhere in my emphasis. I have an image of myself where I am standing on the side walk, hose on the ground, soaked sweats and typing lyrics into my phone even though I’m sure it looks like I just had an accident.
World Go Round
A dialogue with Dave my drummer;
Me: Are you ready to go?
Dave: yes, just want a little traveler for my coffee
Me: A what for your what?
Dave: A traveler…. to go.
Me: A time traveler?
Dave: No just a splash of whiskey… In my coffee.
But I was stuck on a cup of coffee that could travel time. I still think its possible. Hopefully the person who knows how to do it will hear this song and welcome me into their secret world of time travel by coffee cup where I go back and put a shot of Jameson’s in Dave’s coffee before takes a sip and he says, “How did you know I wanted a traveler?”
I was given a banjo as a gift and this riff came out almost immediately. The lyrics followed in one sitting. At the same time I was on a record label and not enjoying myself. They wanted to hear new songs. Here I was with a new song but I didn’t want to share it. Not in the situation I was in. It meant too much to me. The way I was protecting the song set off this loud alarm and so began my exodus. Like a new born baby that adds value to your life and you finally see yourself as an important being. I’ve still only written one song on the banjo.
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
It sinks in or drowns you out one way or another while driving across the country gig after gig. Each town with the same store with the same sign with the same slab of concrete next to the same restaurant serving the same chemically loaded food. All of it blocking the same beautiful view that should be there instead. All of it crushing the same small store that used to be owned and run by people who lived near by. It’s a kind of crazy that makes you too crazy to admit. It makes you feel small, dirty and guilty of something. With this song I feel less crazy and less alone. That there is fertile land in being different and being angry at the ubiquity of the false light.
Don’t Take Your Eyes Off Of Me
I played the album for a friend when it was done. He/She said that this song sounds exactly like their stripper song as if stripping was something that he/she would all of a sudden get into soon and need their own theme song. I am often troubled by that image while performing it.
We Will Always Be A Band
At the same time we won’t be. That’s the truth about bands. You have a better chance of staying married. But I love a delusion and then there are nights when there’s a beautiful crowd singing this little song louder than the band. Then I think that “always” is possible.
Castle of Pretending
I was stuck on the solo of this song for a bit. While playing Farm Aid in upstate New York, just before coming home to finish the album, one of the on stage sound men hollered at my amps as we loaded them up on stage, “Niiiiice, tuuuubes. Love tube amps. Love em!” Mid 40’s, long earth grey hair, just waxing a while on tubes, getting high through our whole set up and soundcheck, all while looking at the amps like they are his first love. Before we got sounds he pulls out a tin box from his tool kit. The exact tin box that a sound guy shares weed from and opens up to reveal an assortment of tubes. “Military grade tubes!” He then leaves the world of tubes that I understand and I get a master class on the subject that my brain can’t keep up with while he proceeds to swap out the tubes on my amps and replace them with his state of the art collection. With each swap out we check the tone and discuss. He describes how the tube is contributing. I want to say I found the solo for “Castle of Pretending” that night but I didn’t. I did feel like I played beyond my abilities and outside of my body though. When I asked him how much for the tubes he said, “No way! I just want you to have fun in upstate New York and to hear juice running through those tubes,” like he had been waiting for someone to talk with about this for 40+ years. I think I played better because of the kindness. After I tracked “castle” my amp blew and I had to get new tubes.
I have a friend who is a healer. After a night of friendly disagreement over the efficacy and ethics of mediums she bought me to visit a medium to “show me the other side.” He spent 20 minutes or so asking me about all kinds of professions while holding my hand in the air. It turns out, according to this life energy reader, that in my past life I was a soldier. A soldier who was responsible for other soldiers and that we all met our end after some sort of betrayal by the system or upper leadership. In this life now, he said, I still have a problem with trusting systems, orders and falling in line. He then asked about my songs and when I spoke of this one, which was relatively new at the time, he said you need to release it. You need to put it out. Of course I didn’t because I have a problem with systems and taking orders. But two years later I feel clear of that directive enough to release the song. The title of the song borrows from the Enrollment Act of 1863. During the Civil War, a potential soldier could pay a $300 fee (a large sum of money back then) to avoid of the draft lottery. So basically if you were wealthy, you could avoid battle if you chose to.
Stand Where I Can See You
I keep an audio library of animal sounds. Some I find recorded elsewhere, some I record myself. Like my dog Tonka in “Broke My Calm”. The library of animal sounds is a gold mine but the ruby in that pile of gold has always been the seals underwater. I’ve been waiting for the right song, the right key, the right groove to unleash them. Happy seal hunting in Stand Where I Can See You.
Stream the Deluxe version of National Throat on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7cKFmqZ8cf5hzl2ZyYlkaN