Guitarist and songwriter JB Elwood just released his new single "I Tried" and to celebrate, we asked him to tell us about the track. Here is the story:
"I Tried" is a song about being cheated on in a relationship and how difficult it can be to move forward in your life. Even when you are the one that ends the relationship, the memories and experiences from that relationship still haunt you and consume you for a long time. This song was inspired by a personal experience with this person I was head-over-heels for, and I eventually found out she cheated on me. I ended the relationship, but no matter what I would do, I could not stop thinking about the good memories we had. They would play on repeat all day and every day. It took me months to get her out of my head. I was watching one of my favorite movies of all time, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, which helped me come up with the idea for what "I Tried" should be about. This movie is a masterpiece and perfectly captures the power of memories and how these memories shape who you are as a person. I remember writing the beginning lyrics to "I Tried" after watching this movie and then completing the rough draft of the lyrics the next day while laying on a hammock. The lyrics came so naturally to me, and that is when you know that you picked a good topic to write about for an original song.
I have a weird way of writing music and it is different from what you hear from other songwriters. Any song I write begins with me coming up with the chord progression, and I usually like to strum my guitar and be creative in the evening time after a long day, or being in deep thought about life and personal experiences. After I come up with a chord progression, I create a melody, but I mumble the most random words that make no sense being put together. But for some reason, this helps me piece together a catchy melody since I am not focused on rhyming or meaning of the song. After coming up with a melody with incoherent sentences, I then record an instrumental track so I can listen to it at work, while driving, or even at the gym for a few weeks or months. I listen to the instrumental track until I can feel the emotion of the song, which helps me determine what the song should be about. Once I am 100% positive what the song should be about, I begin writing the lyrics. I am most inspired to write lyrics while out in nature, so I like to write while laying in a hammock, at a scenic overlook, or even walking on a path or trail. I wrote the first version of the lyrics to "I Tried" while laying in a hammock near Zilker Park in downtown Austin. Once I have all my ideas and structure of the lyrics out on paper, I then focus on the syllables and cut unnecessary words to make it fit the melody. I always avoid writing the first draft of lyrics by following the syllable structure because I don't want to pass or say no to any lyric ideas that come to my mind. Every lyric idea can be utilized in some way until the final process of omitting unnecessary words. I always aim to tell a relatable story because my goal is to write music that anyone can relate to regardless of background or where you live.
Lastly, I plugged in my headrush pedalboard and I looped the chord progression, I channeled my inner John Mayer, and wrote a cool guitar solo to "I Tried." John Mayer, in my opinion, is the best modern day guitarist and is a master of guitar playing, so I always try to draw inspiration from him. John Mayer makes his guitar sing, and his guitar solos are masterpieces. He puts so much emotion into his guitar solos. I may never be as good as John Mayer on the guitar, but he motivates me to continue getting better at guitar every day. I try to put emotion into my guitar solos and to make my solos have a melody to them. I am very happy with how the guitar solo for "I Tried" turned out in the final recording.
My producer, Andrew Middleton, is based out of Nashville, Tennessee. He is a genius and is incredible at what he does. I know he is a producer that I will work with for a very long time throughout my music journey. He really liked the song and melody, and he masterfully helped me piece it all together on the production side of things. He has always successfully brought my vision to life for all the songs we have worked on together. He has been an important part of my music journey and I am grateful to be, and to continue, making music with him.
I hope "I Tried" can be an anthem for those who are struggling to move on from a relationship. These bad relationships eventually lead to something better and it is important to remember that you don't necessarily want to erase these memories from your head, like in "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind", because they can act as learning lessons, help you identify red flags in future relationships, and they shape who you are as a person. Yes, these memories can be painful, but it is important to remember that if you try to erase these memories, then what have you learned from these failed relationships? How will you grow as a person in the long run? How will you avoid making the same mistakes again? How will you be able to identify red flags in a future relationship?
I hope that my new song "I Tried" can speak to you and your personal experiences from a relationship. I know that I would not change a thing in my life because I have been able to channel my experiences into songwriting.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about JB here