Jason Eady switched things up a bit for his eighth studio album, I Travel On — whose single “Always A Woman” is premiering below.
“I wrote this record intentionally, which I’ve never done before,” the Fort Worth-based Americana singer-songwriter tells Billboard. What Eady means by that is that while previous releases comprised songs he had written prior to entering the studio, this time he “booked the studio with no songs at all and really put myself under the gun” to come up with material.
Eady’s inspiration was his latest band, which he’s assembled during the past couple years with members hailing from around the country. “We just found this sound,” Eady explains. “Instead of directing it I kinda let everybody do what they do and it just became this cool, eclectic kind of groove that we came up with that was really fun to play. I knew it was such a fresh sound, so I wrote for that sound, and for this record. The sound came first, then I wrote the record to match the sound. I wrote the whole thing in about a month. It’s kind of the reverse of what I’ve always done, and it was really fun for me. It sounded like a challenge, but it really wasn’t. We were so in the groove with what we were doing that it just came out, like it’s been waiting to happen. It was just a very natural process.”
“Always A Woman,” in fact, was the very first song Eady wrote for I Travel On, though it was also the last track the group recorded. “A friend was in Dallas earlier last year and we were all hanging out,” Eady recalls. “We were having a bad night and my wife (singer Courtney Patton) asked him, ‘Is it a woman?’ He said, ‘It’s always a woman,’ so I wrote that down. When I started looking through my notes and saw that one, I just started playing this riff on the guitar, this chord thing, and it just droned on that one chord forever and ever and I wrote the song on top of that.” That, too, was different for Eady — and, he confesses, “extremely intimidating.”
“It’s really tough to pull off acoustically; It literally is the same chord for four minutes,” Eady explains. “It was a big challenge for me as a writer to see if we could write something that stayed interesting for four minutes, lyrically and musically. Things have to change in the song; If the chords aren’t going to change everything else has to change, so that was down to the melody and the words. So I’m extremely proud of it. It was work, but it wasn’t work at the same time. It came out better than I ever imagined it would.”
The rest of I Travel On, which comes out Aug. 10, followed suit, with Eady and his band joined by Patton as well as Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley. “My favorite thing about this record is how organic the whole thing was, from the sound we discovered on the road to the time I wrote it to when we went in the studio,” he says. “Everything you hear on the record is the way it went down; There may have been multiple takes of a song, but what you hear is what we played from top to bottom — no overdubs, no punch-ins. We just really wanted it to feel good and we wanted it to be a record you can put on and if you want to listen to the words and get meaning out of it you can. Or if you just want to kind of tune out and have it play in the background while you’re driving down the road or something you can do that, too. And I think we got what we wanted.”