Alex Southey recently release his new single, "Caught You On The Throat", from his forthcoming album "...And The Country Stirred", and to celebrate we have asked him to tell us about the track. Here is the story:
"Caught You On the Throat" was the first song that made me really believe I was on to something in this new section of writing ("new section" meaning post-You're Not Just A Body to Me,my last album).
The song, initially, was spare, and slowed to a crawl, and its "success" totally hinged on whether that eventual chorus melody was a real hook or not.
It being the first song "for" this album, I wanted to eventually represent the overall sound of the album, which it does. The lyrics have a storytelling quality, and certain touchpoints that may fill in gaps for listeners, but I'm hoping it doesn't feel like all of its ideas spoon-fed.
There are strings (orchestra, fiddle) and pedal steel all over it, which give it a kind of personality that sets it apart from my previous efforts. Most importantly, there is the kind of squall-noise at the end. This establishes the atmosphere of the entire album. It's chaotic, and heady.
Handing this song over to John Critchley, the album producer, was really the first and only test I needed to know if I could trust him with what I considered to be sturdy songs with adventurous arrangements. We'd had slight friction in how to go about recording a different song - "This Horse Has Gone Down" - but it was much simpler, and adhered to a structure familiar to anyone. This second song winds into different territory. Despite my worries, he got exactly the kind of feel I was going for. It was a massive relief to know he'd be able to handle the aspect of the album I knew would be the most difficult. We occasionally used albums like Lou Reed's "New York". It doesn't sound anythinglike that album. It's just that the folks involved in making that album clearly weren't afraid to embrace unfamiliar ideas.
That John and I occasionally butted heads on what ended up as the catchier, more straight ahead songs is definitely interesting to me. I think we like different things inside of the same popular music. This made it hard to use bands as short hands. We both like Radiohead, but he's more The Bends, and I'm a little closer to In Rainbows. So when I'd reference "Radiohead's inventiveness" or anything else in passing, his impression of what I meant wasn't aligned with what I actually meant.
With all that said, again, he nailed the first go-round of "Caught You On the Throat". I am not sure I even had any notes for him, period. I went to straight to listening to it on my TV speakers, instead of in my headphones, because I was finding that was not as impactful as I thought. Not only had he not tampered with the weirdness I'd peppered in, he'd strengthened it. It gave me incredible confidence and that confidence took us all the way to its completion.
I'm very happy "Caught You On the Throat" is out, and I'll be even happier when the album, ...And the Country Stirred, is out in full in February 2021.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here