When Portland, OR-based singer and songwriter Tommy Alexander was living in Vermont, he found himself watching a brood of chickens scratching around his driveway after a snowfall, looking for food. “That idea of us being the chickens, scratching in the dirt, looking for a bite,” says Alexander. [There’s] something in the message. If we can see the similarities, the differences aren’t as disproportionate.”
That moment watching the flock of birds inspired Alexander to pen “Whatever You Say,” off of his latest album Waves, which can be streamed below on American Songwriter.
Recorded live over three days at Oregon’s The OK Theatre in December 2019 with producer and engineer Bart Budwig, Waves follows Alexander’s 2016 debut Old News and follow up, Baby, You’re Blue (2019), and features guitarist Taylor Kingman of TK & The Holy Know-Nothings, guitarist Adam Witkowski, bassist Ian Wade, and drummer Buddy Weeks.
Prior to recording, most of the material was played live with the band extensively over the past year and were fine-tuned for the live session.
Alexander dropped a track-by-track for the album to go with the stream, exclusive to readers here.
Troubled Mind — This is a song for the uneasy mind with too much to do and no reason to do it. Pacing the hallway with thoughts that won’t stop that won’t stop that won’t stop. But you’re not scared. You know something is wrong.
Stone Fox — Is a tragic love song for the tempted in all of us. You ‘ve lost yourself in another. Is this your other? Is this someone you need??
Moral of the story: let them be who they are … not who you pretend they are.
End of the World — An optimistic approach to change. A wide scope on yourself. Asking more questions and getting more answers.
Whatever You Say — I’m all wrong and you’re alright. Life in the middle. Can it be done? Should it be done?? I don’t know.
Change is always coming. We’re all changing. It’s scary as hell but it’s OK. Right? This ends Side A in optimistic fashion.
Waves — We can’t hold onto the changes. They’re crippling and dismantling. The world is scary, dark, and alone. Our breath is short, feet are heavy… A door opens slowly and a woman speaks in a low and clear voice, “come in”, she says. “We have food. We have shelter. “ You eat, read, brush your teeth, wash your face, say a prayer and go to sleep. Tomorrow will be a long and painful journey.
Tears — A light hearted country song about ‘true emotion’ vs. melodrama. Grab your partner and 2 step (as long as your quarantining together: be responsible)
I Blame Myself — A song looking into the idea of ‘radical responsibility’. Not to be confused with self pity… It’s not “my fault” but it’s “my doing”. I will keep digging into the idea and get back to you all. I have mixed feelings on the subject – but I do love the song and the recording that Mike Coyendall and I made here.
Doing Things Together — A sweet song to sing to your honey… or your dog.
Live and Die — Celebrate. It’s nothing personal, some things just aren’t meant to be. Free yourself from yourself. We all deserve love.
One last song. — A ‘fare well my sweet friend’. Said perfectly by Gregory Alan Izakof, “If it weren’t for second chances, we’d all be alone.” I think he meant third, fourth, fifth chances too… so, thanks for listening .. and reading if you made it this far. Hope you enjoy the album and all my best to you and yours.