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5. Huntsville & Hardships

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

June 2016 rolls around, I move to Huntsville, AL to start my new job and begin the next chapter in life. There were remnants of several instrumental songs I drafted while working on the EP, but due to the move I couldn’t revisit these for several months. By the time I did revisit them, I did not have the same passion I had while working on the EP. I think it was a combination of burn out and slowly falling out of love with the EP.


The more time that went by from its release, the more I re-listened to the songs and the less I connected with them. Aside from “Snowfall” and “Whisper of The Wind”, I liked the instrumentation of the music and but didn’t care for the lyrics or melodies. In an attempt to write songs packed full of meaning, emotion, and symbolism I ultimately wrote songs that I felt like I didn’t even understand. On top of that, I no longer had a drummer so I thought that even if I did record something it would lack percussion and feel hollow. By July I was no longer spending much time at all trying to record music.


But even if I didn’t feel like recording or working on new songs, music and writing were still a necessary therapy for me. In August of 2016 I was struggling with a breakup, had a horrible falling out with a very close friend, and felt completely isolated from my life back in Florida. I’d once again return to songwriting to help me out of a dark place. One day over the course of an afternoon, music and lyrics came to me:


I can see you crying, when I close my eyes

But I don’t know how to help, god knows that I’ve tried

Through a broken mirror is how I see myself

A hundred reflections of, the man that put you through hell


Whoa-

Heavy rain is falling

Whoa-

Heavy rain is falling

Like ruby tears from the sky

Heavy Rain Is Falling (2016)


The song was saturated with emotion, and writing it took a weight off of my shoulders. What’s more, this song had that special quality like “Snowfall” and “Whisper of The Wind” that made me instantly connect to it. I couldn’t stop playing and singing the song in my room. I was so excited about the new song that I recorded it the very same week. To overcome the lack of percussion, I spent all day creating a drum track in Garageband using the midi controller on the keyboard (in hindsight it probably wasn’t a very good drum track but it did the trick).


I finished recording the song just in time to have a copy to show to my older brother that I was visiting for the weekend. I was particularly excited to show him the new song because he is the reason I got into guitar and is a talented guitarist himself. We were sitting around his apartment and I eagerly asked if I could show him the new song I’m working on. He agreed and I played the song on my phone for him. He thought it was a good song and was impressed by the songwriting. I don’t remember exactly why, but he asked if I’d play it for him on his acoustic guitar. I nervously agreed. After I finished playing, he paused for a moment and then made a rather innocuous statement that I’ll never forget, “I think it sounded better like that, just you and the acoustic guitar.” When I asked him why he felt that way he added that he didn’t think that the recorded version sounded bad, just that he liked the song better without all of the extra instrumentation that was present in the recording. I was baffled, I thought he’d be so impressed with my guitar solo and how full the song sounded. Instead, he seemed more impressed with the simplicity of the live version.


When I returned home from the visit, I was rather obsessed with what my brother brought to my attention. And just as with the EP, the more I went back and listened to the recording of “Heavy Rain is Falling” the more I fell out of love with it. It was beginning to drive me insane. Why was a barebones acoustic rendition of “Heavy Rain is Falling” better than a recorded version that had drums, a guitar solo, and more?

Why did I have a special connection with “Snowfall”, “Whisper Of The Wind”, and “Heavy Rain is Falling” but not any of the other songs off of my EP?

Why did it feel like I could only write meaningful songs when I was going through hardships? It would be a while before I found an answer to these questions, but after the interaction with my brother I would not record a song again for the next 2 years.


Soon after writing “Heavy Rain is Falling” and subsequently giving up on recording, work would pick up significantly for me. I’d also start spending more and more weekends away from my guitar in Huntsville. You could say that the busyness of my day-to-day life provided a convenient excuse to stop focusing so much on music, and more importantly the songwriting questions that bothered me to the core. The combination of busyness and no drive to record music at home let my music and songwriting fall to the wayside once again. But luckily for me, an unexpected friendship in an unexpected city would change that.

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