The Prescriptions Share Haunting 'Broken Wing': Premiere

The Prescriptions
Tim Duggan

The Prescriptions

Hays Ragsdale had "a lot of songs I'd been working on" ready for his band the Prescriptions' upcoming debut album, Hollywood Gold, and the EP that preceded that. And "Broken Wing," premiering exclusively below, was among them.

Ragsdale tells Billboard he wrote "Broken Wing" after he moved from his native Birmingham, Ala., to Nashville in 2014. "I was sleeping on a couch for the first six months I moved up here and I just had that little main riff," Hays says of the song, a haunting piece of introspection whose Southern gothic-styled arrangement ebbs and flows between a gentle, ringing melody and full-bodied guitar breaks -- including one at the end that sounds like it's ready for an extended life on stage. "It was around that time we started recording our first EP. It was sticking with me for a long time but I didn't finish it until we started recording the EP. I just felt like, 'If I'm gonna finish this song, now's the time.' We were in the studio (at Sound Emporium) and I said, "Let's finish this thing...'"

Hollywood Gold, which is due out Jan. 18, demonstrates a considerable breadth in Ragsdale's writing, ranging from Laurel Canyon folk rock and Americana to echoes of vibey new wave and power pop. "It's kind of a collection of a lot of songs I'd been working on up until the point of being in the band," explains Ragsdale, who formed the Prescriptions with bassist Parker McAnnally, a high school friend who attended the Berklee College of Music before both ended up in Nashville. "That's my whole life, my teenager years of writing songs. so that made it more scattershot in terms of style. It is kind of all over the place because I was able to pick and choose from songs I'd written years before and then a song I'd written a week before. Each song is kind of its own thing, I guess."

Despite being the primary songwriter, however, Ragsdale found the transition to frontman a bit uncomfortable. "It was difficult getting in that role in front of crowd, not having much experience doing it while I was in bands growing up," says Ragsdale, who still works part-time in a restaurant and at home as a phone order processor. "I guess in your mind you feel like you have to convince everybody -- and then make the songs good enough to make them want to be in a band with you, first of all. But the guys are super supportive, and I'm more comfortable with it now, I'll say that."

The Prescriptions are planning to tour once Hollywood Gold is out, most likely in March, according to Ragsdale.