lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: chuck will's widow


the new single, "chuck will's widow", from amy ray band, is a song inspired by a bird's song - the incessant mournful melody of the chuck-will's-widow, a nocturnal bird in the southeastern united states. in the song she penned, amy imagines the aching in the heart of the bird as it sings for its lost mate, and celebrates the healing act of singing your song "all night long," and accepting what the days throw your way.

a self-described, night owl, amy says, "the songs of the chuck-will's-widow, along with its fellow nightjar, the whip-poor-will have always haunted me, their relentless, compelling exchange happens all night when the summer comes to my neck of the woods. i find that i witness the most profound moments in the midst of their songs when everyone else is asleep. while i am often in need of rest, the respite i find in being awake under a miraculous and melodic night sky is too tempting for me to sleep. it's a conundrum that inspires me, but also leaves me bleary-eyed."

"chuck will's widow" is a straight-up americana-country song, and was recorded with her band remotely in their respective homes. the song was produced by brian speiser and mixed by bobby tis who both helped create amy's most recent country release, holler. bobby and brian hail from the ranks of the tedeschi trucks band.

amy says, "i laid down a scratch track of electric guitar and singing, then we built this one from a foundation of jim brock's drums and percussion, with kerry brooks' bass. the rhythm track was important to get right, it had to feel sad and happy at the same time...ha ha...that's my sweet spot. the first melodic instrument for us to play off of was dan walker's accordion riff, then we added matt smith's pedal steel. i put some mandolin and acoustic guitar down and sang a final vocal track, then we had jeff fielder record last. he usually goes first, so it was a lot of experimentation for him to find which instruments he wanted to play. we came around to both the dobro and electric guitar being what the song needed. we always had in mind what we wanted for harmonies, using both the band's version of springsteen's "atlantic city" and the classic record, trio from emmylou harris, dolly parton, and linda ronstadt as inspiration. georgia singer, michelle malone was a perfect fit for this. then i asked my heroes tanya and michael trotter from the war and treaty, to give us the other two harmony parts to make it complete."


2021-07-29: in the mix: amy ray talks new solo single and tour, plus more indigo girl shows, atlanta intown

q. "chuck will's widow" is your gorgeous new single, and the harmonies are special. did you have michelle malone and war and treaty in mind when you were writing it?

a. not when i was writing it, but as soon as i finished it and was listening to it and editing and getting it right, i thought it would be super special to have some innately spiritual southern voices. both michelle and michael and tanya came to mind.

q. this is your third single release this year. is a new solo album on the way, and if so, what can listeners expect?

a. yes yes yes! i am always working towards another amy ray band and indigo girl record. i enjoy song writing and the pursuit of the craft, so am always making time for it. also i love collaborating. my band is just so joyful and fun to play with so i am always looking towards the next project and when we can create together. we are going to nashville to record for a week in december, hoping to release vinyl, whenever we can get it all done.

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