lifeblood: songs: backgrounds: if i don't leave here now
q: you had one song in your notebook that was almost completed, "if i don't leave here now" that made it onto the record. how did jordan help to transform that song for you?
a: it was a contender for the record but when jordan said, "if you slow this down and make it a ballad then it hits me where it needs to hit me." it had been a mid-tempo song. it's a song about addiction and how easy it is to die from addiction. i was really devastated by phillip seymour hoffman's death. i didn't know him personally, i just admired his work as an actor. but the song is really about anybody who is struggling with addiction, whether it's drugs, alcohol or gambling. it's about saying, "if you don't get out of that place right now, you're not ever going to and you can't do this just on your own." it was a song that was near and dear to my heart. when he passed away, i finished it.
q: i bought the new album on vinyl and "if i don't leave here now" is the lead track on side three. i ended up lifting the needle and listening to it three times in a row when i first got the record. your vocal performance on this is really quite astounding. there's a lot of vulnerability present. can you talk a bit about recording the vocal?
a: it was just one take and i didn't want to do it, actually. i didn't feel good, i was in a bad mood and i didn't have faith in pulling it off. a lot of times, i like to record a track and then overdub to it so i can get the vocal performance that i want. this was completely live and i was very vulnerable. i told jordan, "i can't do it." jordan said, "just try it." and that's the take we got and that's the take we used.
emily saliers quote from 2015-11-11: show preview: indigo girls dig deep in their latest release, the detroit metro times:
the duo continue to write from its own personal perspective, and "if i don't leave here now," partially inspired by the passing of actor philip seymour hoffman, is a particularly poignant moment on the album, written by saliers, who says, "i've gone through my own journey - i'll put it that way."
"i didn't know him personally at all," she says. "i just admired his work and i thought, 'it's very easy for addiction to kill anyone.' and not only does it happen to great actors, it can happen to anyone and it does happen. you can get derailed without even knowing it, and now, you know, in our country, we have this terrible meth problem and also addiction to painkillers and then if you can't get the painkillers you go to heroin. i've known people who have died and of course i read about it all of the time. so it just became a very personal song about what it feels like to be addicted and how easy it is to go and how you have to remove yourself from that place with the help of others or you'll never get out of it."
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