Roping Horses & Chasing Songs: Sean Devine

Sean Devine’s Here For It All delivers emotional storytelling intimate as a campfire on a cold night and open as the sky over the songwriter’s beloved Montana home. Devine’s fourth album and the follow-up to 2015’s Austin Blues finds the 5th generation Montanan continuing to mine from within while also demonstrating a careful yet savvy understanding of the human condition and shared hardship.

Relinquishing the reins of a personal project for the first time, Devine chose to work with Josh Thompson at the famed Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX after being introduced to the producer by Ward Davis, a mutual friend who referred to Sean as the “Bob Dylan of Montana”. Thompson, who also performs with independent country music king Cody Jinks, enlisted the rest of his Tone Deaf Hippies band (Chris Claridy, Austin “Hotrod” Tripp, and Drew Haraskal) to elevate the sessions, rounding out the album’s sound with guest shots from Anthony DiCello (Whitey Morgan and the 78s) and Austin stalwarts Jeff Plankenhorn and Steve Bernal.

Blending the grit and intention of classic Texas songwriting with the unapologetic beauty of Montana, Here For It All reintroduces Sean Devine as a tempered poet mightily shouldering the mantle of the Treasure State Troubadour.

AI- Early on in the pandemic, you were doin’ a Thursday night sing-a-long, an online residency to keep connected with folks and keep your chops sharp, right?

SD- Yeah, that’s right. Like a lot of people in this game, I was just tryin’ to keep a gig (laughs)! And it looked like the only gig left for us was just to sit at home and sing to our phones! Boy, was that an awkward feeling thing at first! I guess I got used to it in some ways, but it’s of course, nothin’ like having the people in front of you and seein’ their faces.

It was a learning curve for a lot of folks. I’ve spoken to numerous artists that didn’t embrace the streaming concept at all because of that disconnect that you have with the audience. Whereas there were others that for them, it was just a new way to present what they were doing, going at it from, “Okay, this is the vehicle for my art now, so I’m gonna do the most I can with it!”

Curiously, since I’m talkin’ to a radio guy, you can probably relate to this, but on the road, I’d done a lot of on-air stuff where I’m sitting in a broadcast booth right next to a radio personality, such as yourself. We have a conversation, I play a few songs– and I can’t see the audience then, either, right? Hopefully, there are people out there. Sometimes they call in and say somethin’ and you know they’re listenin’ to you, but you still gotta get tucked into your song and give a good performance. So there’s a bit of a work of imagination goin’ on there that I think I was drawing on during the livestream days. I remember actually locating myself in that same headspace as if I were doin’ an on-air thing at a radio station.

You’re the first person I’ve talked to that’s likened it unto that before. I don’t think I’ve considered that myself!

Well, it’s pretty cool because there are people out there, as it turns out, whether you’re livestreamin’ or doin’ live radio. You can’t see ’em but they’re feelin’ ya, and you just have to trust that’s goin’ on. It’s amazing how resilient and powerful the whole music experience is, isn’t it? It keeps goin’, it keeps doin’ what it’s supposed to do for people right through all the craziness.

I’m glad you brought the word trust into the conversation, ’cause that really brings us into Here For It All. As I understand that you had a whole collection of songs, 26 to be exact. When you began this production relationship with Josh Thompson to start putting the record together, you just handed those 26 songs off to him with the hope that he would pick out what he wanted to work on. Now that required, I think, a great deal of trust to hand your work over in that way.

I guess that does seem a little crazy (laughs)!

Well, so many artists are worried about losing control of a project or of their voice. And [Here For It All] seems to be the complete opposite. You were willing to see where he could take these songs.

Yeah, and in fact, that’s what I was after, finally. Josh and I had built a little relationship prior to me hiring him to produce. So I felt like I knew my guy, you know? In some ways, we’re not that different, really. Josh and I are kids who grew up in small towns in rural states. He’s from Plainview out in West Texas. I grew up here in Southern Park County, Montana, a rural part of a rural state. Neither one of us had any intention of trying to make a record or take my songs and turn ’em into anything that resembled something else. We just wanted to get at ’em, just get down to the essence and find out what’s really goin’ on with these songs and bring it out and amplify it. And of course the Tone Deaf Hippies– those guys can play! Once I realized that’s what we were doin’… Although, I didn’t realize that when I sent him all those songs (laughs)! That information did come down the pipe a little later!

I just have had myself all to myself for the whole time. I’m a guy who has been doin’ this since I was a kid, and I got the information somewhere as a young man that I needed to pack up and move away someplace if I wanted to get serious about being a professional musician and songwriter. I took myself on some trips. I spent the winter of ’95, ’96 in New York City because I’d heard that there was still kind of the last remnants of the Greenwich Village, acoustic music scene that in the ’80s had produced Shawn Colvin. And Tracy Chapman had come out of that scene. There was John Gorka, Cliff Eberhardt… There were some people I’d heard of at that point that were doin’ acoustic, folky kind of stuff like I was doin’. And then, shit, I ended up goin’ out there and playin’ in the last club in the village that’s still there and workin’ where Dylan had actually played back in the heyday of the folk boom in the late ’50s and early ’60s– the Bitter End on Bleecker Street!

I saw some pictures on your social media that someone had sent you of that period of time in your life. That baby face cowboy up there on stage at the Bitter End!

(Laughs) Boy, did I stick out in New York City!

There’s an allure to that part of it too. You have such a singular identity in a place where you don’t look like anybody else. I imagine that had a bit of a romantic pull to it as a singer and songwriter.

There was kind of a revelation, Aaron. Because I was the kid from Montana in New York City. That opened some doors. People were curious about this tall lanky guy with the cowboy hat and the acoustic guitar. “Let’s hear him! Whattaya you got?” And I had some songs! I also shed some songs in New York City. It was an important experience for me that way, bein’ on stages in front of sophisticated urban audiences that’d heard a lot as opposed to playin’ in my hometown where we all played a lot of cover songs and not that much different from each other, probably. I needed to get out there and get my butt kicked, really, is what I felt like. And I did (laughs)! But also, I got some good gigs and got to a point where I realized that I would have to actually make some major life adjustments to stay in that music scene in New York City. And that’s where I realized that I wasn’t gonna be the kid from Montana anymore if I stayed too long (laughs)! I went to Nashville and poked around a little bit. Man, I just finally realized that I didn’t want to be any place else. I just really didn’t want to be any place else! I love the road, I like to travel, I like to play music for people from all walks of life, all over the country, and I have done it! But I get a really deep sense of peace for myself knowin’ that when I’m headin’ home, home is here in Paradise Valley in Montana. That makes me feel good. And so I’m keepin’ that!

Tell me about the music scene in Montana. As you mentioned, rural state, you are in a rural part of it, but I know that spread out amongst the state there are outposts, if you will, where some of my favorite artists and your contemporaries and peers go to play. Tell me about the scene there and what it’s like being a Montana musician, the Treasure State Troubadour!

I started playin’ in a bar band with my dad and my uncle when I was 18 and those weren’t my first paying gigs, but it was the first time where I was in a regular band workin’ every weekend around the state. That was part of a long legacy. I’m sure this is probably true where you’re from too, you know, there was a time when everybody went out to the bars on the weekend– that was like the main entertainment. I’m dating myself, but this was even before cable TV took over much less Netflix and everything else, smart phones and stuff. People worked hard all week and they went out and partied all weekend! And we were the band! It was a great formative experience, but there had been bands doin’ that for a long time before I showed up. There was a vibrant bar scene, and in some ways, less so now actually. Montana, like a lot of other places, has a less vibrant bar scene for live music than it did when I was younger.

I think probably what you’re picking up on is that there’s been in the last few years, a recent boom in outdoor music in the summertime. Honestly, I don’t know, I may have had a part in this? I was goin’ to Texas in the winter and playin’ gigs and I was talkin’ about how cold it was back home and how nice it was to be down there in the sunshine! I got to know a lot of people and then a lot of them started comin’ up here and I was seein’ ’em in Montana in the summertime. They’re like, “Yeah, dude! It’s hot in Texas!” (Laughs)

It makes sense just on that level, but the summertime in Montana traditionally has been very, very pleasant and it’s nice to be outside and playin’ music. There’s been a lot of development around new festivals poppin’ up. Big festivals that didn’t use to be there even five years ago! It’s exciting! It’s a scene, but it’s not the same thing as if you’re an 18 year old kid learnin’ how to play a guitar and sing, and you wanna go out and start a band and get a gig. That’s actually a little harder than it used to be.

So in some way, you absolutely had to leave just so you could come back.

I guess so? If I’d literally just stayed in Montana, you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation because I wouldn’t have made Here For It All with the Tone Deaf Hippies at Sonic Ranch. Although, I did meet those guys in Montana (laughs)!

Let’s talk about the Sonic Ranch. That is just a sensational room. I spoke to Whitey Morgan one time and he said that workin’ there, it’s just so comfortable and there’s no distractions because it also is in the middle of nowhere. How was your recording experience there?

I didn’t come in with any particular bias about it. Josh wanted to work there because that’s where they’d been making Cody’s records– Cody Jinx– for the last half dozen or more since The Adobe Sessions. They’ve been recording in the same studio at Sonic Ranch called the Adobe Room. I’d looked at some pictures online, kinda scopin’ it out, but mostly interior stuff, you know? So when I got there, I was a little bit surprised to see what, actually, a humble setup it is. It’s a pecan farm strung out along the Mexico border about 30 miles east of El Paso. So yeah, when you get there, you’re there! You don’t close the session for the day and then go to town and drink– there’s no town to go to!

It’s useful that way. I see Whitey’s point about that. Everybody lives on the premises. And the food is fantastic! You wouldn’t wanna leave and go any place else! I think a person might go to the Sonic Ranch on vacation just to eat, really! But the Adobe Room, it appeared to me like maybe an old tractor shed? It was a building, maybe they used to work on machinery? There’s a big steel I-beam that goes along the length of the ceiling still and still has a pulley wheel on it, maybe for a come-along or something like you’d use to pull an engine out of a tractor. But of course, they’ve done everything they need to make the acoustic environment really tight and really good. And there’s this big old Neve console! Something else I found really reassuring about it, the rural setting was appealing to me, the idea that it wasn’t real big and shiny and expensive feelin’ was was good to me, and then when they’d fire up this old Neve console in the morning, after it’s been on for a little while, it starts to give off that smell. You know, that hot electrical smell?

I do.

Yeah! It feels like a livin’ thing! They’ve got the tube preamps and some other stuff in the signal chain that really makes you feel like the studio becomes a livin’ thing. It gets that smell! And I love that! That really helped me tuck into the idea that we’re makin’ a record!


Duckin’ back just a little bit to Austin Blues, that album was built predominantly around your guitar and the confessional nature of those songs. Now, I imagine that you were probably more immediately connected to those songs at that point in time. With Here For It All, you’ve talked about how you had these tracks for quite a while. Some of them, I think, 15 years or more. What did having that kind of space between you and the songs do for this album?

The way it worked out was Josh [and the Tone Deaf Hippies] were already there. They were still cuttin’ tracks. I don’t think they understood at the time that Cody was gonna put out two records simultaneously. That was After The Fire and The Wanting. They were still workin’ on some of those tracks, so Cody had just flown out, like the day before I flew in, and those guys were still there and ready to work. That’s when Josh actually showed me the final list (laughs)!

So that was fresh to you when you walked in there? You didn’t even know what you were gonna be cuttin’?

That’s right! My disposition was that all the songs that I’d sent him were songs that I loved. I felt like they all had potential. I was ready to play and sing anything he asked me to do from that batch of songs. I was ready to go! I did a little woodshedding. but also because I’d been tourin’ and playin’ solo sets for a long time. I have my songs in my hands. They’re ready to go. When he showed me that list, of course, I started to focus a little more, but I didn’t have the opportunity to consider that as an album of songs in a way that I might’ve done if I’d had more time to consider it.

It seems like a very… I’m not saying bad, but it seems like a very different way of approaching the creation of an album.

I’m sure that you’re right. This is the first time I’ve hired a producer, and I really wanted for Josh to have free rein. I wanted him to make the Sean Devine record that he wanted to hear, and I wanted to be ready to facilitate that. I will play my songs. I’m ready to sing these songs. And if there’s still an opportunity to actually answer your question, it felt like for me, it was more a process of just focusing on one song at a time. Josh says, “Okay, I wanna cut this one,” and everybody’s got a chart in front of him, and I’m lookin’ around the room– count it up! I’m just focused on playin’ this song and gettin’ myself inside of it so that the song is speakin’ through me. It’s doin’ what it’s supposed to do. I’m just keepin’ myself out of the way as much as possible. And I’m really considering that maybe that is kind of a strange way to get into it. What we came out with on the other end of the whole process still really feels to me like an album of songs that go through a cycle of experience, you know? They go to a place and there’s a feeling of catharsis in that. And it comes out the other end in a new place. I think the record takes you on that trip like I would want it to do if I was designing the experience.

In some way that almost feels like a rough parallel with what writing the song for me is in the first place. I don’t plan these things. I’m not a guy that sits down with a title, for instance, and then starts messin’ around with the words until I’ve come up with a song about that title. I’m workin’ with ideas and material all the time, and by the time I’ve got a new song to sing, it feels like it found its way through a process that I couldn’t probably break down and describe to you. This record came together in a way that’s like a parallel of that. It found its own way. The songs themselves seem to gather us all up and put us in the right place so that this album could get itself made (laughs)!

You have your own studio in Montana, right?

I have, actually, ever since I was a teenager, had my own multi-track recording equipment. Curiously, by the time we went to make Austin Blues, though… Remember I was talkin’ about the smell of that Neve console? I was recording on tape through my first two records. We made those here in Montana, essentially in my home studio. And then I was using a hard disk recorder, a freestanding digital recorder that I interacted with just like a tape machine. It had tape transport control buttons on the front, and instead of the big reels spinning around, it had a hard drive whirring around, but I was still working in a way that felt comfortable and natural to me. But that thing became obsolete! I couldn’t buy a replacement hard drive for the thing. It became unusable! It’s still in a plastic bag on a shelf.

When it came time for me to accept that the only way forward for me was to move into a virtual environment and start recording on a computer, I lost the feel for it. I didn’t like it. It didn’t SMELL right (laughs)! So as you find me now, I’ve got a rehearsal room, a studio separate from the house where I make music and I’m capable of recording a demo of a song digitally, but as you find me now, I’m not even really interested in makin’ a record at home. Maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled a little bit too because I’ve had the opportunity to do these two records with really top-flight session players and in studios with great engineers, you know, people with big ears and fast fingers. We need to go back to a spot and punch in and they’re on it!

Mario Ramirez at Sonic Ranch is an amazing, amazing young man in that way. He could do 11 hours of session time and be every bit as cool and confident and tuned into the music in the 11th hour as he was in the first. And he did that all week long! And as far as I know, he’s probably still doing that every day as we speak! I don’t know that I aspire anymore to even be a guy who could replace Mario Ramirez. That’s just not my part of it anymore. I write songs and I perform them. I’ve come to really appreciate and respect and rely on working with people who know how to get that down.

On Here For It All, you have a variety of songs, some of them deeply personal, like the title track. “Crazy Too” and “I’m Free”, I would guess there’s a great deal of your own personal emotions attached to those songs as well. But you also have some wonderful story songs, “Clay Bluffs”, and “The Palomino Mustang”. Tell me about writing songs from a personal standpoint versus writing narrative songs from a story or an idea that you have.

After Austin Blues, it felt like a transition that I was eager to make. I think maybe when I first started talking to Josh Thompson about makin’ a record that I may have even described to him that I wanted to do an album that was all story songs or songs that were not about me. Because I had been writing about myself since I was a kid! I think that that’s still one of the essential values of writing songs and making music for other people is that they’re gonna hear something in those songs that relates to their own experience. As a music fan, I’m listening for that. I want somebody to lay a song on me and I start to hear my own story in it and I feel my own feelings. It draws stuff out of me from my own life that may or may not have anything to do with why the person wrote the song in the first place (laughs)! It’s not necessarily important anymore that the writer’s intention translates exactly to my experience.

What’s important is that my experience of the song feels deeply personal. So I think as a writer, I’m able to translate my own experience in a way that other people can use. I certainly hope so! But also as a songwriter, I began to feel like it might be a more adventurous place for me to move into where I can describe other people’s experiences, create fictional characters that are absolutely believable, people that you feel like you’ve begun to know, and you relate to their experience. I was starting to do that more, and I was thinking that maybe that should be the next record after Austin Blues. By then, anybody who was tunin’ into my experience certainly would have felt that they’d gotten to know Sean Devine (laughs) because I was pretty much laying it out there after my second divorce! I wasn’t self-conscious about it at all. I just needed to express those feelings so badly that I didn’t tinker with those songs. I didn’t edit anything, I just poured it out!

Anyway, what we ended up with was that Josh was attracted to songs that were both about me and from my own experience and also songs that were just telling a story. It turns out, I guess that’s the right spot! It isn’t really up to me to draw some line and discriminate between one kind of record or another. It’s still just all in there. I don’t remember who I was talkin’ to, but somebody that I was talkin’ to was talkin’ about the song, “The Palomino Mustang”, and that person seemed to have landed on the idea that that song was actually about trying to rope a horse. Now, that’s what the lyrics literally are talking about in the first verse, but the whole thing is a metaphor. The whole thing is representative of a deeply personal experience that reveals itself in a narrative. I didn’t necessarily have that specific experience. I was writing about Buck Brannaman, the horseman’s experience for a different project. But it turns out, and maybe it’s because I’m just naturally a confessional writer, and I have some empathy for what he’d been through, that in the end, it feels like it was about me anyway and a feeling of profound loss. I was writing about things that are hard to write when you just wanna tell ’em straight.

This isn’t somethin’ that’s been comin’ out in interviews, but I guess I’ve painted myself in a corner, and now I have to confess. I’m a guy that in my 30s, when I was still a pretty young guy with not a lot of experience of life, I had to bury both my mother and my own child. I’m sure that it changed me inside in ways that I still haven’t really even begun to figure out. “The Palomino Mustang” is a song about that stuff for anybody who can relate. Otherwise, I guess it’s a song about trying to rope a horse too!

When you came back to it for this album, there’s no way that Josh could have known the deeper aspect of that song, of losing two people so close to you. What was it like to get back into that mind to record it?

That’s what songwriting is for me, Aaron. It’s having written from an experience that is powerful and moving. That makes me wanna write. I think if I’ve done my job right, I’ve stored that experience in a way that it’s like a time capsule. I can open it back up and it’s all still right there. I think that’s why the vocal on “The Palomino Mustang” is a little subdued. To me, the way it came out, it sounds more like Austin Blues. On Austin Blues, I’m singin’ those songs, and I even sound to me like a guy with a rhinoceros standing on his chest, you know? There’s just barely enough air in those vocals! But the truth is I felt like a guy with a rhinoceros standing on his chest while we were cutting those tracks (laughs)! And also because part of the mission of cutting Austin Blues was that we were gonna track it all live to a tape machine like I’d been doin’ most of my life up until then in a way that I really felt comfortable. I didn’t want to get into those songs and tinker with ’em. I didn’t wanna use the computer to edit them or change ’em. I just wanted to play ’em and get ’em down.

We tracked each of those songs twice, live in the studio with those players from the Austin scene. We picked the best of the two performances, and that’s what went on the record. Maybe that record would be stronger in the long run if I had gone back and done final vocals and been more self-conscious about the quality of my vocal, but at the time, I couldn’t have done it any other way because I was very much inside of my own pain bubble. I was just operating from that position the very best I could. So “The Palomino Mustang” kinda goes back to that place.

“You Ain’t Coming Home” is actually a song from the Austin Blues writing period that Josh really liked. When I saw that on his list, I kinda went, “Ahhhh… I don’t know if I wanna do that, man! If I wanna go back to that place!” But of course, I did because that was on his list! We’re doin’ that song, so here we go! He wanted to cut it live in the room. It was me and Hotrod playin’ the dobro and Drew Harakal playin’ piano. We added Steve Bernal’s cello track later on. He cut that in Austin and we added it to the record when we were mixing it. Steve Bernal was the cellist from Austin Blues, by the way, a fantastic musician. I had no trouble trusting Steve to just do somethin’ that was gonna be exactly right from 2000 miles away!

It took me back to that place in the same way. They’re like time capsules, like I said. It was a deeply painful thing to revisit. It brought back a whole set of feelings that I thought I’d moved beyond. My wife was there in the studio with us, Quenby [Iandiorio], for both of these records, as a matter of fact, and she knew what was goin’ on inside me. So the first time we started tracking that song, I had to stop and everybody looks up and looks around like, “What happened?” They’re tryin’ to figure out if they blew it, who hit the wrong chord or some shit, and Quenby just said, “No, he just needs to get himself together.”

She is also an artist, correct?

She is, yes! The world will be hearing more about my wife Quenby as time comes along. The thing about my wife is that she has diverse interests. She really likes acting in the movies, so she’s doing that. She really likes acting in the theater– and Livingston has a surprisingly robust live theater scene, believe it or not! And so she’s doing that. She really likes writing songs and playin’ music for people, so she’s doin’ that! She’s had this big itch to scratch for a bunch of years now about goin’ back to school and getting her master’s, so she’s doing that (laughs)! She loves the kids, our pets, our home, and then me (laughs)!

Here For It All has been in the can for well over a year just waiting to emerge. Were you writing in the meantime? I’ve seen the views from outside of your house there in Montana with the mountains and that huge sky, so I can’t imagine not being inspired. What have you been doing to occupy your time while anticipating the release of Here For It All?

Well, you know, I’m still the label too. I’m still pretty much a one-man shop, so I’ve also been doin’ a lot of the logistical stuff. We had to put up a new website and get that ready to actually sell records. I’m workin’ with local people here helpin’ me with that, but I’m still the big picture guy who has to come up with, “what should we do,” and then see that we get it done. That’s been stuff I probably needed to get to for years and it just finally all came to bear on this project. I hope it doesn’t disappoint you that I have just been very busy in an office!

Not at all. There’s been a pandemic goin’ on. Things happen (laughs)!

Yeah! I’ve heard about that! And Montana has not been excluded from that, by the way. I just got an email from the high school where my two younger children go down in Livingston and there’s five cases.

We’re at home. They’ve shut down all the schools here in our county until after September 20th.

I feel like that thing could very much be coming back for us imminently. That’s also been a scene to work through. I have one kid in college over in Bozeman. He’s not necessarily affected by that because he’s an upperclassman now, but my two younger kids are, as of this year, both in the same high school. So whatever happens, it happens to us for sure. But I have been writing in the same way that I always do, which is something strikes me, and I write down a bit of poetry and I think, “Yeah, that’s a good one.” But I also have this to-do list that I have to stay attached to. I can’t just let a whole day go by and chase this song. Right now, I’ve got a pile of stuff that when I have a little time to go back through it, and I see these lyrics that I’ve written down, I trust what’s worked for me in the past is that it turns the idea back on and I go, “Oh yeah, that one!” I’ll move back into it and I’ll add more to it and I’ll hopefully get to the end! I’ve written two or three new songs all the way through, during the course of the whole pandemic. I thought I would be more productive as a songwriter than that when they told me I was gonna be stayin’ home. But like you said, there’s turned out to be a lot to do just adapting to the changing environment of livin’ life.

On Austin Blues, you have a great fiddle tune on there called “Whiskey Creek”. I know with your family history goin’ as far back as it does with the history of the state of Montana, that you’ve got some fiddle players in your lineage. I noticed– conspicuous by its absence, you might say– no fiddlin’, no fiddle tune on Here For It All! Is that gonna make a reappearance later on down the line for you on another project?

Oh! I want it to! In fact, the fiddler from that song “Whiskey Creek” that you’re talkin’ about is a Montana kid, Bryan Paugh. He moved to Austin, or well, to Spicewood seven, eight years ago with some other Montana musician friends of mine. They decided to go down there and make the scene. Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars, they call themselves. But goin’ back to my roots in Montana, my great-great-grandfather homesteaded in central Montana along the Musselshell River, where the runoff from the Snowy Mountains goes down to the Musselshell. There was a little town they tried to build that didn’t quite take. They called it Rothiemay, and Bryan Paugh’s folks still ranch right on the other side of Rothiemay flats from where my great-great-grandpa originally homesteaded! If my family had stayed in ranching, me and Bryan woulda been neighbors (laughs)! We were tickled to discover that, and his people had known some of my people from back then from the pioneer days. It’s really a fun culture in that way. So Bryan and I are old friends!

The way that tune went down, speakin’ of makin’ records at home, was durin’ the time when I was experimenting with recording music on a laptop, which I didn’t like. I’d had this idea for a song that I didn’t know what to do with because it was clearly a fiddle tune. Bryan happened to be up from Texas and visiting and hangin’ around. He was over to my house and we drank some whiskey (laughs)! We were havin’ a good ol’ time just hangin’ out, shootin’ the breeze, and I said, “Bryan, I got this idea for a song…” I had the microphone and the laptop set up in my living room next to my piano, and I just started singin’ it at him. He said, “I think I got the hang of that. Let’s just cut that. Turn that thing on!” So that’s why it came out that I’m just sittin’ on my piano bench and slappin’ on my thighs and stompin’ on an apple box on the floor and hollerin’ that tune while Bryan played the fiddle track into the microphone across the living room from me! And then we listened to the playback on that and I said, “Wow, you nailed it!”

And I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if it was like a two-fiddle dual thing? Like if we could overdub the fiddle track?” He doesn’t like to wear headphones. It distracts him. He can’t hear the fiddle right, and I’m thinkin’, “Well, how can I overdub a fiddle track if he doesn’t have headphones on?” So I had the headphones on and listened to the playback, and I just did the stompin’ and slappin’ my thighs thing again while he played the song on his fiddle to that accompaniment! He laid that second fiddle track on with the little harmony lines and everything just perfect and just a little bit out of sync sometimes, so it really sounds like a couple of drunk fiddlers just goin at it! That song? That was a gift! Now, when I’m playin’ a show sometimes, especially around here, people wanna hear “Whiskey Creek”, but I have to tell ’em, I don’t even know how to play that song!

Here For It All is available now through all your favorite digital platforms and directly from the artist! Like & Follow Sean Devine for streaming and LIVE performance updates!