I Will Be There – “Tennessee” – Part 4 of 10

Tennessee. I dig it. Kinda.

The City
I’ve been able to spend a bit of time in Nashville, Tennessee during my career. I have even thought about moving there a few times! The first encounter I had with Nashville was in 2008, when I was selected for the top 30 for a TV show on NBC called, “Nashville Star”. I was nervous, self-conscious about my weight, and ended up ultimately psyching myself out while being sequestered in my room during the auditions. I can honestly remember it being one of the lowest, most depressing moments in my career, when I was told that I didn’t make the show, and was flying back to California.

I think of that moment often, when I come into parts of my career that feel like setbacks. You have your imagination be let free by the possibility of getting on a show, only to have it come crashing down when some producer doesn’t think you’d be the right “Fit”. As I’ve gotten older, and with the help of my label, Randm Records, I’ve seen that those types of shows, (American Idol, The Voice, Etc…) Aren’t really what music is about. For some reason, somewhere down the road, it became about that- and it’s ruined the entire music experience/industry for me.

Some could say, “You’re just crying about sour grapes, cause you didn’t make the show…” But is it? I’ve auditioned multiple times and been called back and ultimately not chosen, but do I really want to be some pre-taped/canned version of myself, or would I rather do it my own way, with my own words. In a way, I guess that’s what this whole blog is about. You know that those TV shows would HATE to have me say what I really was thinking backstage… And doesn’t the same, “Oh whoa is me… I’ll never make it in the music biz, because I’ve gone through this and this…” into, “I’m just so happy to be here!!!” into, “I can’t believe I won!!!” get old after a while? I just want to say this. “I did my best, wrote the best songs I could, and performed them for people who were feeling the way I do.”

That’s the first part of what Tennessee is about. It’s about the disconnect between the actual music industry, and the glitz and glam of the “fame game” that it’s become. Why do I have to worry about people judging my appearance/care of some stupid radio dj likes my song? Why can’t I just be happy with playing a song I wrote at an open mic, and going back to where I was when this all began in 2006? I used to LIVE for showing up to gigs. Now, sometimes it feels like a chore. I do more behind the scenes, than the actual thing I want to do- play and write and sing. Randm Records has been doing their best to give me that opportunity again and I’m running with it.

The Girl
I mean… one of my songs that wasn’t about a girl??? psh… probably not gonna happen… right? 😛

I had a close friend who I had fallen for a few times… (The whole “Push Me-Pull You” effect…) And she ended up moving to Tennessee. When she did, she also changed. We talked regularly, and then out of nowhere, she just disappeared. I’ve tried to figure out what happened, but sometimes, you just got to let it go. When I refer to her in the song, it’s usually about the idea of friends who become too “big” or “busy” to still keep you as a friend. I don’t know if that’s what happened in this case, but I do know that this song has taken on a whole knew meaning since she started ignoring me. Here’s the play-by-play:

The Song
My dear, Tennessee 
(Tennessee being the Music Industry and the Girl)
Well, you’re just too big for me (Music Industry and Girl – not worth paying attention to me) 
Your neon lights lay heavy on my sky (Girl/ Your memory brings me down. Industry/ Your glitz and glamour brings me down)

Oh what have you done, 
What great city you’ve become (Girl and Industry – You’ve changed, congrats.)
To let the minstrels sing before they die (Girl – Thanks for the last hoorah, before you hurt me/ Industry- Thanks for letting us sing before you tear us apart)

Say a prayer for me
All you saints of Galilee (This is directed at all of my fans/friends/possibly even angels… Please think about me while I struggle with this- Mike Butler suggested this line, and I really dug it. I originally had said, “Saints and pixies”.)
Cause I don’t know who I will be tomorrow (This has to deal with my bipolar disorder- it basically means that I don’t know how I’ll feel about any of this in the future/tomorrow)

But once the night has come
I can drink until the sun (Tonight, I’m going to do whatever I can to forget about all of this)
Ruins me, the way it always does (Tomorrow, I’ll be depressed about you again- Both the girl and the music industry)

Oh Tennessee, Tennessee,
Won’t you pray for me
You’ve taken all, all I had to give (I gave this my best shot.)

When all the love is gone
I guess it’s time for getting on
But you’ll always have the center of my heart (I’m over this, but just so you know, I’m never going to forget about you)

Houses made of cards
And smiles filled of scars
Are all I hear, when you whisper name (Mostly about the music industry – The idea that what you’re showing/promising musicians is completely fake.)

Lines and promises
Empty kisses
All your pretty words, they all just sound the same 
(Mostly about the music industry as well – All of the fake compliments and half-hearted agreements you give are just the same old thing and I’m done believing you.)

Explanations
So a few further explanations- The music industry is a combination of DJ’s, other artists, producers, labels, etc… It’s not just some silly TV show- its the constant grind and posturing and backstabbing that goes on. (So you can blame LA for some of that too… It’s not all Nashville…) The problem I had with Nashville is that everyone had accents, and I couldn’t tell who was my friend and who wasn’t, because they all sounded like sweet, innocent people!

As far as my friend is concerned, I don’t know how she feels about anything, and at this point, I’m honestly over it. You can only do so much before you just have to let it go.

This song holds so much emotion to me that I wanted to name the entire record “Tennessee”, but that was vetoed. (Probably a good decision.) I don’t usually write in metaphors, but this was probably one of my favorite songs to write and sing on the album. The vocals on this track are also the original tracking vocals, and my producer Mike Butler liked them so much, that he kept them in. When the band that played on the record and I finished, we all sat back and stared at each other- we all loved this track. I hope you do, too.

Tennessee
Written by Josh Damigo
©2013 Damigo Publishing

My dear, Tennessee
Well, you’re just too big for me
Your neon lights lay heavy on my sky

Oh what have you done,
What great city you’ve become
To let the minstrels sing before they die

Say a prayer for me
All you saints of Galilee
Cause I don’t know who I will be tomorrow

But once the night has come
I can drink until the sun
Ruins me, the way it always does

(Chorus)
Oh Tennessee, Tennessee
Won’t you pray for me
You’ve taken all, all I had to give
When all the love is gone
I guess it’s time for getting on
But you’ll always have the center of my heart

Houses made of cards
And smiles filled of scars
Are all I hear, when you whisper name

Lines and promises
Empty kisses
All your pretty words, they all just sound the same

Oh Tennessee, Tennessee
Won’t you pray for me
You’ve taken all, all I had to give
When all the love is gone
I guess it’s time for getting on
But you’ll always have the center of my heart

Oh Tennessee, Tennessee
Won’t you pray for me
Cause you’ve always had the center of my heart

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About Joshua Lodge

Josh will cheerfully admit that he averaged less than a dozen people a show when he first began playing San Diego coffee houses and clubs. But he garnered diehard fans in the process, sold a few thousand copies of his EP, Pocket Change, and picked up few awards along the way. After a traumatic family incident Josh retreated inward, and he ended up writing what would ultimately become his breakout debut, Raw. The album was true to its name and people noticed - Josh picked up two San Diego Music Awards for "Best Acoustic" and "Best Local Recording," opened for the likes of Zac Brown, Jason Mraz, and Matt Nathanson, and had enough money and momentum to tour the country a few times over. A few years after Raw, there was his third EP, Hope. Whereas Raw was a mostly acoustic, vulnerable affair, Hope was a celebration. Pleading and poignant, heartfelt and heavy hearted, it segued effortlessly from orchestral to alt-country, eventually landing him in the top 25 on the country charts. One of the hardest working indie singer/songwriters in Southern California, Josh spent much of the year with producer Mike Butler, gathering up some of the finest musicians in town, shaping his songs and sound further still for his album I Will Be There out now on Randm Records. From the joyous encouragement of “Just Give Me a Call”, to the simple sincerity of the ballad “Tennessee”, Josh’s songwriting skills are clear, his voice rings true and his goals remain the same as when he started - to keep making the best music he can, and to share it with all. A few years after Raw, there was his third release, Hope. Whereas Raw was a mostly acoustic, vulnerable affair, Hope was a celebration. Pleading and poignant, heartfelt and heavy hearted, it segued effortlessly from orchestral to alt-country, eventually landing him in the top 25 on the country charts. One of the hardest working indie singer/songwriters in Southern California, Damigo spent much of year with producer Mike Butler, gathering up some of the finest musicians in town, shaping his songs and sound further still for his latest album, "Just Give Me a Call", available now, on Randm Records. From the up-tempo single, “Just Give Me a Call”, to the simple sincerity of the ballad “Tennessee”, Josh’s songwriting skills are clear, his voice rings true and his goals remain the same as when he started - to keep making the best music he can, and to share it with all.
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One Response to I Will Be There – “Tennessee” – Part 4 of 10

  1. This is one of my favorites on the album along with “It’s Hard To Make A Heart Forget” and “How I Fall In Love.” Thanks for penning this series – it’s always fascinating to hear the stories behind the songs.

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