The dating scene looks very different when you’re in your 30s. “You stop carrying the weight of past lives,” sings DL Rossi. With his new song “Tumbling,” premiering today, the roots-rock musician wrestles with feeling “like a failure again” and accepting things as they are. We’re both too damn strong / And we don’t need no one, he sings, later learning that true happiness lies in one’s own self-worth.
“When I was younger I felt the cliche we all feel: I needed to have a relationship to find happiness,” Rossi tells American Songwriter. “Movies, tv, religion—everything pushes you towards that as a big goal.”
His life changed drastically in his late 20s. Now recovered, Rossi survived testicular cancer—and then went through a divorce. Those events left an indelible impact on his life, causing him to have several important epiphanies. “I realized how much I needed to count on myself and be content within myself. But the side-effect of that has meant it’s really hard to find someone I want to be with for the rest of my life. And I’ve found other people feel the same way towards me. This song is me coming to peace with that dynamic and allowing whatever is gonna happen, happen.”
“Tumbling” samples Rossi’s forthcoming new record, Lonesome Kind (out April 23), which finds him continuing to work through loss and heartbreak. “But there is a bigger feeling of accepting that even though my life feels awkward and out of place at times,” he says. “I spend more time on this album poking fun at my own inconsistency as a person. My moodiness, my cynicism, and my hopes.”
With 2019’s A Sweet Thing, Rossi confronted his “inner demons that sprung out of depression and [my] drinking too much to numb the pain” through writing out specific moments from his life. The new record stands in stark contrast —sinking into “little fictional short stories that aren’t interconnected or even true,” yet still greatly inspired from his life. “I just allow myself to write whatever, about whatever. I suppose it’s just about me learning to be more comfortable in my own skin.”
Lonesome Kind was recorded at Rossi’s brother Nolan’s studio, located in East Nashville (socially distanced, of course). Tyler Chester (Madison Cunningham) produced over Zoom from L.A., while also lending talents on keys, bass, and a few guitars. The record also features musicians Ross McReynolds (drums), and Juan Solorzano (Molly Parden) and Nolan (Katie Pruitt) on guitars.
“When we tracked this tune I played it for everyone once on acoustic, and then, as became the norm on this album, everyone just jumped in, and we created something I didn’t even see in my head,” recalls Rossi. “That was the joy in making this album. None of us had really worked on anything in months, and we were all able to do what we love again and just enjoy that process. We allowed each other to speak the words and feelings we hadn’t been able to speak through our instruments in awhile. It was a really beautiful experience in the middle of a really difficult time.”
Listen to “Tumbling” below.
Photo by Rachel Hurley