The Divorce Album, track by track:

CASTAWAY “This song was written specifically with The Divorce Album in mind. I originally had a late 1960’s feel in mind but decided instead to send it to Roger Manning and gave him carte blanche to arrange the instrumentation. Afterward I added Reade Pryor on drums, added some additional synth parts, then sent it off to Taylor Locke to do the guitars and vocals.”

“I asked Sam Robson to perform the YOURS version because he has such a versatile voice and fantastic range and I felt he would suit this very vocal heavy song. I follow several accapella YouTubers and Sam makes some of the most ambitious and impressive videos out there.”

ALL THE THINGS WE HAD “This is possibly one of the oldest songs on the album, I have a demo of this song from around 1987. The demo sounds like it was influenced by Help/Rubber Soul era John Lennon, and it would have been easy to do the song that way. But it would have been too obvious, so instead I tried different arrangements until I finally stripped the song down to just the F# note, as heard at the beginning of the song, then I built the song back up from that. Partway through recording the song I felt it needed an additional section so I wrote a new melody over the same chords, and that became the middle section. Danny Fong is an amazing vocalist and arranger from the accapella group ‘Accent’. I have to give him extra credit for being brave enough to sincerely sing ‘I am nobody and nobody will love me’”

“Bradley Dean Whyte is an old friend of mine who used to live here in Chiang Mai, he now lives in Houston. We have very similar musical influences and share a similar songwriting aesthetic. We worked together before on ‘West End Girls’ and ‘Nobody Listens’.”

OVER NOW “It was after writing this song that I was inspired to dig through my collection of old songs and create The Divorce Album concept. I asked Rich Hinman to add some pedal steel and it worked out so well I asked him to perform on several other songs.”

“I worked with Wyatt Funderburk on ‘I Don’t Know You’ and I’m a big fan of his work. My original demo was quite slow but I knew he’d come through with something more upbeat, in fact it’s almost joyful, were it not for the lyrics. Very 80’s sounding.”

LIVING A LIE “Another song written specifically for this album. I deliberately limited the instrumentation to just 3 vintage synths to keep the focus on the vocal. I chose to play the acoustic guitar and bass myself because I wanted an imperfect performance. Rich Hinman added great pedal steel counterpoint to Willie Wisely’s heartfelt vocal performance.”

“I met Bob Remstein during the ‘Time Machine’ sessions, I’d never before met anyone who could literally just listen to my demo once and then sit down at the piano and instantly play it back to me – and better. So knowing his background, I figured he’d come up with a very jazzy and cool instrumental version of this song, in fact it sounds like it could be a film score.”

UNDENIABLY BLUE “This is another oldie from the late 80s, although I wrote the coda recently when I made the demo for this album. Roger Manning sings all the vocals and added some keyboards. I played the acoustic guitar here to add some imperfection again.”

“Lindsay Stevenson is a friend of mine living here in Chiang Mai. He teaches music at a local international school, and I thought it would be fun to get him and his students involved. Lindsay did a very elaborate arrangement, far beyond my expectations. I had some concerns about having children sing these lyrics, but it seems that was unfounded.”

DIFFICULT “I wrote this song using an iPhone music app during a flight from Bangkok to Brisbane a few years back, it’s entirely standard major chords. I started working on it for ‘Sleeper’ but I realized quickly that it wasn’t going to fit thematically on that album, so I put it aside. The vocalist, Jimm McIver, and I go back to 7th grade and were in our first band together in Seattle. Jimm’s vocal style suits this song perfectly.”

“Because I felt the lyrics could be interpreted as possibly misogynistic, and the song is kinda aggressive, I felt it would be good to get a female perspective. Karla Kane was an ideal choice - she rewrote the lyrics to be from a woman’s perspective and interpreted the song in a pleasantly surprising way and really made it her own.”