Where It Began: Track-by-Track

©Maura Cluthe

A lot of people ask me what my lyrics are about. They’re open to interpretation, but I decided to reveal the album track-by-track once it was finished. This led me to examine the meaning/inspiration of each one of these songs. Enjoy!

1. COMING THROUGH: Where It Began starts off with a song that almost made it onto our last album, Life Can Go. It was finished shortly after we’d tracked that album, so we decided to save it for the next album. We also knew that it should open the album from the get-go. Lyrically, it serves as a warning of sorts. When people count you out, this is the reminder that you’re still here…still viable…still beating & ready to break through any walls that have held you back.

2. THE GHOST:Chris: The Ghost is the second song on Where It Began. It was an 11th hour addition to the track list and one that Matt wrote earlier this year. Huge chorus in this song – and one you may find yourself easily swept up in.

Matt: Like Chris said, this one was added at the last minute. It just seemed to really fit the tone of the record. The lyrics date back to 2003. I found them in an old notebook & re-worked the chord structure. The “ghost” is within all of us.

London Dream is one of my favorite songs that I’ve written, but it’s also one that 
I wish I’d never had to write. Life is funny like that. I had forgotten my Dad’s voice…
I couldn’t retrieve it in my mind. This scared & saddened me a great deal. I remember talking to my wife about it & she calmed me down…by telling me that his voice would return. She was right. I had the most vivid dream. When I woke up the next day, I quickly jotted down the lyrics & didn’t leave anything out from the dream.This song is a gift from my Dad. I hear his voice loud & clear every single time I play it. Laurel adds some truly amazing vocals on this track. Chris’ drums are fantastic.                                        
Thanks for the gift, Dad.

Chris wrote the music to this one & I was immediately hooked. For having such catchy music, it really opened the door for me to write the lyrics in a different way. The music seems light-hearted, but the lyrics are the opposite. To me, it represents just how naive we all are to the world around us. We turn away from reality more often than we should.
“Take a seat on city bus. Close your eyes you’ve seen enough.”
This song came together very quickly. I was recording some lead lines for a different song in an alternate tuning. Once I finished recording my parts, I dirtied up the guitar sound a bit & had some fun. It was recorded & written at the end of a long day. I think some of my exhaustion spilled over into the lyrics while thinking about work. This is probably the first song that I wrote while using a slide for the whole song. Chris has some amazing leads on this song with great tones.

Chris wrote the music for this song. When he sent it to me, it was clear to me that all I
had to do was sing on this one. I was floored by it. The music is beautiful. My Mom is a retired nurse. She worked with critical care patients most of her life. As I got older, I wondered what the patients were thinking. “Dear time, I need more time.”

Life Anew was one of the last songs to make the final track listing for Where It Began
I started writing it late one night while taking a study break. It was raining & I 
had tried going to sleep, but had no luck. By the next morning, the storms had passed & I finished writing the song.After I wrote it, I rarely found myself playing it. Now I strum it on my acoustic quite a bit. Songs are funny like that.
This song is a trip. When I started writing it, I decided to really let loose & experiment.
Multiple layers, voices, textures…all swirling together. A controlled chaos, if you will. 
I remember telling Chris that I was experimenting with layers & loops. He was pretty excited. I was really excited to see what he’d add to the song. He took it far beyond the next level. It just builds & builds & builds….The silence at the end is the beginning of the chaos.

I’m a big fan of the blues. I’m also a big fan of spontaneous, simple & fun tunes.
I was recording another demo on my strat & really loved the dirty tone I was hearing.
So, I plugged in the mic so both the strat & mic had the same tone. I started strumming a simple chord progression, then hit record. I recorded the rhythm guitar & vocals at the same time. No pre-written lyrics or ideas…I simply went with it. I sent it to Chris & said “have fun.” What he sent back floored me. Drums, bass & lead guitar…that’s all him.
When tracking this album, this song just felt like a no-brainer to both of us. It had to be on the album. It sounds like we’re in the same room just having a blast.

This is another tune that Chris wrote. As soon as I heard it, I knew that I only needed to add vocals. Much like Recollection, it was done. I’m not sure if it’s an old riff of his or not, 
but it really thumps. It’s one of the heaviest songs he’s ever sent me, that’s for sure.
When I heard it, I was really excited. It had an attitude to it & a sense of immediacy. 
I listened to it a few times while developing some lyric & phrasing ideas. The stops & starts of the bridge were challenging, but so much fun. I’m constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be writing with this guy.

Much like The Ghost, this song was a late addition to the album. It just seemed to fit the tone of the record in so many ways. It has this sense of uncertainty & menace to it. The person in the song is drifting…looking for a foothold. Something (or someone) to grab onto to help show them the way. When everything looks familiar & you don’t know who or where you are…Time spins, time falls.

I found myself flipping through the channels one day. I started watching a documentary on about human suffering in the history of the United States. It really shook me how some men decided to “play God” by forcing people to leave their native lands. I started thinking about what I’d learned in school as a kid….and soon realized that it was only a small portion of what I knew today as an adult. I didn’t know the whole truth because the books only taught so much. The pen moved easily across the page for this song and I could clearly hear the music in my head. I wanted there to be two distinct parts…
one peaceful & one aggressive. What we think we know vs. What we should know.

In all of the years that I’ve been writing music, no other song has been stuck in my head more than Unfolding. There is just something about it that I can’t shake. I immediately thought that it would be a great way to close out Where it Began. The album title comes from the lyrics in this song, after all. To me, it’s about letting go of past regret & finally coming to the realization that the possibilities are endless. The future is right in front of you. It’s unfolding.


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