The New Arms EP was recorded with Matthew Ryan between January 19 & 22 in Beaver, PA. I flew into Pittsburgh on inauguration day and so, that circus, no matter how much I wanted to avoid it, became the background of our work that weekend.
We worked in an upstairs bedroom, while downstairs the TV seethed with increasing global negativity. We worked on Rise Above first, then Ice Age.
By Sunday morning we had time to work on one more track. I had this song idea, “Staycation” that was about retiring from a bunch of foolishness in my life. Matthew liked that song idea but he felt that perhaps there was a more optimistic idea in there somewhere and maybe something that wasn’t just about me.
We had stayed up late the previous night talking about the events that had been unfolding over the past 48 hours. I shared with him how Ann, Emily and Lucy had through the course of the election felt a very devastating blow to their sense of self, and how that had affected me deeply. The election was one thing standing in my shoes, it was quite another standing in theirs.
Matthew urged me to sing about that, what I wanted my wife and daughters to know, to believe, and then he shared with me some words that he had punched into the notes on his iPhone. I immediately connected with the words, it was everything I was saying the night before and we rushed upstairs to try to record the song while the idea was fresh.
Matthew hit record on his phone and began playing some chords on his guitar, urging me to sing along. The melody just came to me, and when I finished he asked, “How did you know what melody I had in my head.”
We ended up properly recording the track again a few minutes later but we kept returning to the demo version. Since it was recorded on an iPhone the demo version was missing something sonically, but it also had something spiritually that we’d never capture again and so, we included it on the EP.