Inside of New Orleans, Duff Thompson does not need introduced. As he puts his broad expansion plan into action with ‘Haywire’ it is never bad to let potential listeners know what they are getting into.
Thompson has been a collaborator of standouts including Esther Rose, Twain, and The Deslondes, among others. He rasps and rattles with the gravel throat of folk favorites like Hamilton Leithauser, Phosphorescent, or CAAMP, but props his gruff tones atop old timey arrangements — semi-hollows, vintage microphones, a standup bass, strings — accomplishing a sound that’s at once rough and evocative, affecting and modern, gritty and perfectly classic.
‘Haywire’ is released to the masses tomorrow, but Thompson is getting the background information as to what went into his songs now.
Sleight of Hand
This one was kind of a Goldilocks type scenario. I recorded one version that was too upbeat and sounded too much like the Travelling Wilburys. This was followed by one version that was too laid-back and folky. The final version is an attempt to find that happy medium to sound just right. I think it does.
It’s about trying to make something work that you know won’t, and flip-flopping in a willy-nilly state of utter confusion.
You’re Pretty Good
This is a simple song with simple lyrics. Sometimes when trying to express a single feeling or idea, it’s more effective to dumb the lyrics down and try to get straight to the point. The lyrics aren’t exactly literal but the idea is that sometimes, for better or worse, it feels like only the present matters.
Without giving too much away, this is a song about how time changes any romanticized ideas you have about a time, place, or people you wanted to know. It’s not meant to be a harsh criticism. But when trying to express a certain feeling, sometimes you run out of time to talk about the other side of it before the song ends.
Probably the silliest lyrics on the album. It’s a pretty old song and if I recall, I wrote it in about five minutes. I guess in its own way, it’s a sort of outsider-type song and about feeling lucky to know a couple other weirdos. I might have just made that up right now.
Rock and Roll…
..will break your heart. I think anyone who’s spent years prioritizing playing music over everything else can relate to that sentiment one way or another. Not that it would have been possible for me to do anything else, but trying to look at it objectively or trying to imagine how people who know me might perceive what I’m doing, it’s just not a very functional way to live as an adult unless you’re making a bunch of money.
Feel What You Want
I think this is the last song I wrote that made it onto the album. It’s mostly about living in an age where everyone is constantly being reminded of everything that’s shitty and how everyone is obsessed with trying to force their idea of utopia on you. Sometimes you have to pay more attention to your own little world that you’ve made for yourself and block out the rest.
Another old song. For a while I was obsessed with trying to write the ultimate romantic song. There were several attempts and by no means do I feel that I achieved my goal but this is the closest that I got.
Footloose and Fancy Free
I’m no mathematician, but from what I understand, the deeper you dive into the crazy world of mathematics, the more creative and philosophical it gets. I read that Einstein said his journey into mathematics began when he was a little boy and he wondered what it would be like to ride a beam of light as it travelled through the universe. Quantum Theory really blew my mind when I learned about it (and still does constantly) and I was thinking about the idea of your reality being the one you accept or think is possible. I tried to merge these ideas with a standard love theme.
The Other Side
I don’t know how I arrived on this subject matter but I somehow did. The idea is pretty laid out in the last verse as it tells a parent to appreciate the innocence of a child’s life and their role in it because ultimately they have little control of what becomes of their son or daughter.
The Long Haul
And finally we arrive at the last song. It’s simply about wanting to have fun and not take anything too seriously. Not that I try to be Mr. Party Man, but sometimes it’s the only thing that makes sense to do.