"What started it all was we had the lyric about Led Zeppelin and we thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could sing like a Zeppelin reference in the next part?'" Michelle Branch tells Billboard.com before quickly breaking out into that legendary vocal hook from Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." The singer-songwriter is talking about new single "Loud Music," a song chock-full of classic rock references, ranging from the Rolling Stones to Spinal Tap.
Branch's "West Coast Time" album is her first solo LP since 2003's "Hotel Paper" (though she released an EP, "Everything Comes And Goes," last year), and finds her slightly tweaking her songwriting approach without forfeiting the sound that made her famous. Watch below, as Branch takes Billboard.com behind the scenes of the album's recording.
Michelle Branch: The Making of "West Coast Time"
"When I made my first record, a lot of the songs on that album were written when I was still fairly young," she says. "I didn't really have a concept of what certain experiences were… I would exaggerate kind of my own accounts. I think just having lived life now -- it's 10 years later, I'm a wife and a mother -- [my songwriting] has changed dramatically."
Beyond that, Branch says she's matured as a lyricist thanks to the time she spent in Nashville working with songwriters such as Hillary Lindsey, and specifically as one half the duo The Wreckers, which she formed with country artist Jessica Harp.
Her experiences in Nashville also seem to have helped open Branch up to collaborating. When her first record was coming out, Branch admits, "I was really adamant that people knew I was doing the bulk of the work. And now I think it's just so much fun having other people involved, and having that kind of collaborative effort. I embrace it a lot more now."
Though the official release date for "West Coast Time" has not been announced yet, Branch says it will be out in mid-October.
"I don't have any specific thing," says Branch when asked what she hopes the listener will take away from the new record. "I just hope it's something they can put on and listen to in the car and enjoy. Let it take them away from whatever's going on in their life for three minutes and thirty seconds."
Currently, Branch is about to finish up a summer tour with alt-rockers the Goo Goo Dolls, before embarking on a trip to Japan. When she returns stateside, throughout October and November, she's got a string of club dates lined up.