The Artist: Will Phalen, a country musician for city people.
The Song: “Done”
Fun Fact: Will is a member of an exclusive songwriting group called “The Song League,” which is made up of a handful of Chicago songwriters and other writers from around the country. “We write and record a song every week and then share it with the group via email,” says Will. “In one sense, it’s a great source of motivation because it forces us to produce on a deadline. But it also keeps us on top of our game as writers because no one wants to share a lousy song with the group, because everyone in it can write beautiful songs.” Will wrote “Done” as one of his Song League submissions. “Most of the main ideas were in place right then and there, but the band really helped to breathe life into the song, bringing an energy and vibe that just took it to another level.”
Sounds Like: A driving rock and roll cut replete with B-bender guitar licks, gritty lap steel, bursts of chamber strings, and then it suddenly takes a left turn into a bridge that sounds like Eno and Lanois producing the Beach Boys.
Songwriter says: “Although ‘Done’ was one of the very first songs I wrote for this record, it kind of encapsulates everything that the album came to represent. Sonically, it’s a rock and roll track through and through. Until it isn’t. The strings, ambient drones, and vocal harmonies of the bridge take the song to a totally new place. And that’s exactly what I want to do with music: connect with the listener over something warm and familiar, but then transport them to a new place they’ve never been.
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“And lyrically, I just had a lot of fun writing this: there’s a bunch of word play going on, and the lyric has a sense of irony and humor to it, which are things that I’ve only recently learned to use effectively in song. I’m trying to not take myself so seriously as a lyricist these days. I realize now, after so many years, that it’s okay to have fun with these things!
“I also played a lot with rhythmic phrasing in the vocal. I wanted it to be like a Van Morrison song or some old r&b tune where a word (in this case ‘done’) becomes less about transmitting an idea and more about delivering a certain rhythm or tone. You hear this particularly in the bridge through the end of the song where the only word you really hear for most of it is simple ‘done’.”