Artist: Amy Ray Band
Hometown: Decatur, Georgia
Song: “Chuck Will’s Widow”
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Label: Daemon Records, Inc.
In Their Words: “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.
“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.” — Amy Ray
Photo Credit: Cowtown Chad