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Melissa Carper’s Daddy’s Country Gold swings (“Makin’ Memories”) and sways (“Almost Forgot About You”) with effortless elegance. The timeless new collection has topped the Alt-Country Specialty Chart for three weeks running. “I’m so excited about that,” Carper says. “Number One for three weeks. Pretty cool.”
Alt-Country Specialty Chart: Describe how the new album took shape.
Melissa Carper: The record is a compilation of songs that I’ve written over the past ten years. Some are old, some are new. I wanted to put songs together that feel like they work together. They’re everything from country to western swing. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time. I’ve mostly recorded with bands like the Carper Family and Buffalo Gals with my girlfriend (instrumentalist Rebecca Patek), but I wanted to put out my own solo record. I think these are some of my better songs.
Explain the title Daddy’s Country Gold.
I’ve had the nickname Daddy since I was living in New Orleans. Some friends started calling me that back in 1997. I’ve been talking about making this compilation of my best songs for years. My girlfriend joked, “You should call it Daddy’s Country Gold.” Well, I had a really hard time picking an album title, so that’s what we went with (laughs).
Tell the story behind writing ‘Makin’ Memories.’
I was living in Austin and was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend at South by Southwest. She said something about making your memories and keeping them. I was like, “That’s a great song idea. I’m gonna write that.” I was trying to put together the years when I was younger and drank too much and didn’t remember stuff. Your memory doesn’t work as well as you get older either. I was getting to the point where I couldn’t remember the words to my own songs in my thirties. I put that in there.
Describe the album’s common lyrical theme.
I don’t know that there’s a theme that ties all the songs together, but there’s a lot about memories. The second song “Almost Forgot About You” is about not wanting any more memories. There’s a theme of nostalgia for things like my old Chevy van.
Explain how these songs represent your evolution as a songwriter.
I started writing some more intricate stuff like those two songs “Makin’ Memories” and “Almost Forgot About You” plus “Many Moons Ago.” I wrote all three in 2014. I was getting lots of ideas that year. I feel like those chords and melodies are more sophisticated than what I had written previously. Then I moved from Austin and wrote songs like “Arkansas Hills,” “I’m Using You” and “It’s Better If You Never Know.” I’m writing less love songs and can write songs that aren’t necessarily based on real-life experience now. I use my imagination more.
Tell the story behind writing the closing track ‘The Stars Are Aligned.’
I get a line lots of times and find a melody that wraps around that line. Then the song just flows from there. Honestly, I can’t say a lot of thought goes into it. I just let the song happen. That song just came out like that. These songs just started coming out. I just opened myself up to them and let them flow.
You would be a billionaire if you could teach people how to do that successfully.
(Laughs) This might sounds a little cheesy, but I really feel like the spirit will help you if you open yourself up. I feel like I’ve gotten assistance on lots of songs. I do always know when I have a good theme and start to something. Then I’ll spend the whole day working on it. I’ll obsess about it until the song is complete, but that doesn’t take too long if the song is flowing nicely.
– Brian T. Atkinson
Artist: The Shootouts
Hometown: Northeast Ohio
Release Date: April 30, 2021
Record Label: Soundly Music
On the album’s lyrical theme: “For everyone’s sake, this needed to be a fun record. We’re living through a time where people are suddenly out of work, have lost loved ones and have been experiencing unimaginable stress on a daily basis. We want them to take a break, crank it up and enjoy themselves.” – Ryan Humbert
Brian T. Atkinson
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