Singled Out: JM Stevens' After The Storm

Keavin Wiggins | 04-18-2024

Singled Out: JM Stevens' After The Storm

Austin roots rocker JM Stevens just released his new album "Nowhere To Land" and to celebrate we asked him to tell us about one of the tracks. He selected "After The Storm". Here is the story:

It was back in 2021 in Austin during the massive Texas ice storm that broke all the records and everything was feeling pretty apocalyptic. Not only was most of the city without power for over a week and frozen solid, but we were also in the middle of a pandemic and lockdowns..crazy times - almost feels like a dream now. The unpredictability of it all had me reeling and I was finding solace in these gentle fingerpicking type riffs whenever I picked up the guitar. One of them I kept coming back to and I started hearing a melody floating around over it. As the weather finally started to ease up I was out on a run in Rosewood Park in East Austin, which sometimes for me can get the ol' hamster wheel upstairs spinning. The words to this tune just started coming to me over that melody I'd been jamming - like almost fully formed for a big chunk of it - from just taking in the little things that were going on around me. I didn't have any way to write 'em down and I knew I'd forget, so I headed back home pronto while frantically mouthing the bits over and over. Barging into the house like a madman I told my daughter to "write this down immediately," just like some a**hole boss on a movie, while I spewed out what I could. It's a real nice thing when a song falls out quick like that, less work, which is a good thing. I played it live a few times and more of the words came into focus.

When I got down to recording it, initially it was going to be just a stripped down vocal and acoustic bit, but I had recorded to a loop I made and I got hooked on the groove so I asked George Duron to come in and replace the loop with drums, which he nailed down. Dave Wesselowski then added bass and Doug Strahan played some really cool, vibey electric guitar. Jonny Keys came in to add organ glue but it wasn't feeling right. I heard him down in the room messing around with the accordion playing something different and the tone of it really hit me as it retained the organic feel, so he laid that down. BettySoo and Doug added harmonies and I considered it done, but my buddy Hal Vorpal heard it and mentioned he thought dobro might be cool. Luckily Marty Muse was available and he came in and recorded a dobro track and that finished it off.

Even though it was written during those turbulent times, I'd say it's more inspired by those feelings that were in the air then - of trying to see some relief up ahead - rather than being directly about any specific thing. I guess I'm always trying to look for the big picture. I'd hope it could apply to whatever tough spot someone might be going through.

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

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