Rock

David Ramirez Takes on Trump's Wall With 'Stone Age': Premiere

David Ramirez
Stefanie Vinsel

David Ramirez

David Ramirez calls his upcoming fourth album We're Not Going Anywhere -- including the track "Stone Age," premiering exclusively below -- a "pop record." But fans needn't worry about the Austin-based Americana singer-songwriter going all 1D or Justin Bieber on them.

"I didn't want to go the straightforward routine like I did on the other (albums)," Ramirez tells Billboard. "I wanted to have fun and make a pop album pretty much. I say pop record because there was a lot more intention with each part of the songs. We just took any and every idea possible and threw it at the wall and deleted the parts that were unnecessary or that we didn't like. Making an Americana or rootsy record like I have in the past it hasn't been all that difficult to figure out what a song needs -- 'Alright, here's some drums, bass, pedal steel,' things like that. But this one we tried a bunch of different stuff."

Producer Sam Kassirer, who recorded the album at his studio in Maine, also pushed Ramirez's songwriting in a significantly different direction during the sessions. "He wanted me to use a lot more space and a lot less words, so we had that as kind of the goal," Ramirez recalls. "It was an interesting process for me to write just the most simple and least wordy songs I've ever written. That was a lot of fun to get out."

Ramirez feels he particularly stretched on tracks such as "Watching From A Difference" and "Time," where he notes "there's a lot of synth stuff going on, which I'm not used to working with a whole bunch." "Time" also features more of a stream-of-consciousness lyric than Ramirez has tried before. And on "Stone Age" he steps into topical territory, ruminating about the state of the country from the perspective of Mexican heritage on his father's side.

"I was visiting my girlfriend in London during July 4th week last year, and waking up every morning there was a lot of stuff going on here in the States," Ramirez recalls. "I was reading the news as far as police vs. Black Lives, violence and things like that, marches and rallies and the gay club in Orlando getting shot up. It was just strange. I found myself in a state of mourning for the country, so I started writing that song over there, thinking, 'Maybe I should stay here.' I was feeling like there was no real freedom here in some ways, like reading on the Statue of Liberty about immigrants and freedom and how all are welcome and the whole wall (with Mexico) situation really came into full swing."

Ramirez and his band will launch We're Not Going Anywhere during the Americana Music Festival and Conference In Nashville shortly after its release, then hit the road for a lengthy tour that will stretch until the end of the year. Meanwhile Ramirez has started writing new songs that adhere to the lessons he learned while working on We're Not Going Anywhere. "I've started writing a few tunes," he says, "and I've had a lot more fun trying to tell a full story with fewer words. It's been really fun."