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Songwriting process

Joey Ryan of the Milk Carton Kids on writing intuitively

Every song that I ever started is about something. I know what it’s about and what I’m trying to say, and I know at the end of the song whether I’ve said it. I’ve always been a hyper-rational person and also songwriter, and Kenneth [Pattengale] is exactly the opposite. He comes from this really intuitive,...

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Behind the song: Almost There

Oddly enough, the title track of the Almost There album was originally sparked by a song it sounds nothing like: "You Really Got Me," by the Kinks. I love figuring out fresh, unusual arrangements of classic songs, and I'd done that with "You Really Got Me"—instead of the speedy, sliding power chords that Dave Davies played with...

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Josh Dekaney on rub board

Behind the song: Closer

This track from Almost There is the latest song born out of my love of funk/soul grooves, especially created on acoustic instruments. Many of my songs come from discovering a cool rhythm on the guitar, but I've also written a number of songs just playing percussion and singing. "Sycamore Tree" (on the Stop, Drop, and Roll CD), written while banging a rhythm...

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Behind the song: Eight Days in January

Like my song "Fly," "Eight Days in January" (which kicks off the album Almost There) is based on a fiddle tune—as you might have guessed, "The Eighth of January." Fiddle tunes have always struck me as some of the world's happiest sounds, made for dancing and celebration. In "Fly" I followed the festive feel of the underlying...

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