Late one night, as Elliott Smith was playing in the background, Kathleen “KP” Parks was pulling an all-nighter—spring cleaning. It was her momentary respite, even if for one night, while she was in relationship that was all consuming. “I was losing my voice in it,” Parks tells American Songwriter. “So now I happened to have a night to myself and felt like I was me again, with full control over my own thinking and having the time of my life.”
Listening to the music she loves—specifically Smith—led to a revelation for Parks, one she documented on “Don’t Come Over Tonight,” a funky, string-induced infectious tale of a shifting character, who is under the influence of another.
“I love Elliott Smith’s bluntness and how honest he was in his lyrics, and with the stories he told,” says Parks, fiddler for the Boston bluegrass rockers Twisted Pine. “He didn’t really give a crap what anybody thinks. He just said the truth. Right before I went to bed, I remember hearing birds chirping, and I just started singing this song, and recording it into my phone.”
“Don’t Come Over Tonight” is one piece of Right Now, out August 14, the third release from Twisted Pine, their follow up to 2018’s Dreams. On Right Now, the band—Parks, along with flautist Anh Phung, bassist Chris Sartori and Dan Bui on mandolin—reappear as some kind of bluegrass, indie folk-and-funk concoction.
“You could call it, ‘neo-folk, indie soul avant jazz jam grass-icana’ but that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue,” says Sartori. “The music is easier to feel than it is to describe,” adds Sartori. “Genre is a construct anyways, right?”
At first, Parks says she sang “Don’t Come Over Tonight” Elliott Smith-style—sort of “grunge-folk, in a slow, sad way.” The bridge People they talk about it… even evokes some Paul McCartney. “I was obsessing over McCartney at the time, his Wings period,” admits Parks. The next day, she made a demo, and everything turned around. “The song flipped from being a sad, somber grunge folk [song] to more of what I was playing at the time, with the stylings of Casey Driessen and the funkiness of Darol Anger,” says Parks of the string giants. “You can hear all of that from the pizzicatto of the bass and fiddle, and in the funky fiddle chop. All of a sudden, it was disco, and it was me.”
In writing “Don’t Come Over Tonight,” Parks was able to find clarity in a toxic relationship. “I didn’t realize, until after I wrote this song, that my subconscious knew what was going on with me, and I hadn’t been able to put words on it,” she says. “It was my tired mind saying, ‘Hello this is how you really feel.’ With disco on it, this song worked really well as a fire-y statement to tell whoever it was to scram.”