Singled Out: Mouths of Babes

Mouths of Babes

Americana duo Mouths of Babes are preparing to release their new album "Brighter In The Dark" early next year and to celebrate we asked Ingrid Elizabeth to tell us about their single "Lock & Key". Here is the story:

We travel A LOT. In fact, Ty [Greenstein] & I met on the road. Our previous bands (Girlyman and Coyote Grace) toured together for a year in 2011, and during many long van rides together, the chemistry was undeniable. It has always been such a strange and wonderful relief to know that my wife is the same kind of crazy wandering minstrel that I am, as it's really not everyone's cup of tea to wake up and fall asleep in a different zip code every night for weeks at a time.

But even though we both tend to feel even more at home on the road than we do in our own house, we are also total comfort creatures, foodies, and homebodies. When I wrote this song, we were living in Berkeley, CA taking an unprecedented chunk of time off the road (roughly one year) to rest and re-evaluate the next chapter of our lives after both of our bands had ceased touring.

During that time, we were both participating in a songwriting project called "Real Women Real Songs". The objective was to write one song per week for the entire year of 2014 (with everyone working from the same prompt each week), and then post a video of the song on YouTube. Previously, I was more of a 1-2 songs a year at best kind of writer, so it was a pretty daunting task. But since I wasn't busying myself with non-stop travel and booking tours, I welcomed the creative challenge. At that time, I was really digging the little mundane things - like tending my own vegetable garden, elaborate homemade meals, or sleeping in the same bed (OUR bed!) for more than a few nights in a row. Things that are extremely novel to someone always on the run.

This particularly week, I was struck by the positive message and interminably catchy beats of Michael Franti's music. All the songs I wrote during this challenge were done with a simple ukulele (as I am predominantly an upright bass player), so that was a natural fit. I often found myself whistling to fill in the "solo section" or to create a melodic hook. The prompt for this song was "Happy", and originally the song was called "Happy Home." But after some marination, I decided that the lovey dovey schmaltz of the song was already laid on so thick, that calling it "Happy Home" might just be over the top. "Lock & Key" seemed a better (slightly less cheesy) fit. You can actually see the original rough version here

Also, in the original version, I drop the F-bomb in the first line of the song. What can I say? I'm certainly known for my sailor mouth, on and off stage. But for the album, I made the executive decision to keep it PG-rated and replace it with "hell" instead. For the kids, for the grandparents, and mostly for the radio DJs.

Plenty of people think we're crazy for our unpredictable and whimsical lifestyle, but honestly - it totally works for us. This song speaks to the beauty of having the sense of home everywhere we go together. The familiarity among the novel, the seeming novelty of routine, and the steady love that makes it all feel like home, regardless of what zip code we happen to be in that day.

Learn more about the album right here!


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