The inspiration behind “Machinery” was really quite simple. I can’t stop writing songs. It’s an obsession. It’s my first love. I’ve written hundreds of songs. So rather than let them collect dust in my journal, laptop, and brain, I decided to record a few of them.
I’ve been in the music industry for 7 years in a band with my sisters called Carter’s Chord. We’ve had so many amazing opportunities as a band: we’ve signed a record deal, toured the country, recorded and released albums commercially, and played some unforgettable shows. Amidst all that excitement, I’ve realized the thing I love the most about this industry is the creating part. I love it more than any show I’ve ever played. I live for the stuff behind the performance: the writing, the producing, the recording. I suppose that’s due in part to the reclusive introvert in me.
Even though I love co-writing, I mostly write solo. When I write by myself, I’m not writing with any agenda or for any particular audience. I simply write for the love of writing. Sometimes I even create without the intention of anyone ever hearing it, which is how the songs on “Machinery” were originally written. Had it not been for the encouragement and prodding from some of the people in my life, this project might not have seen the light of day.
This is my first solo project. I chose 7 of my songs to record, much like what I would imagine choosing between your children feels like. As hard as it was to choose, I figured 7 would be a good start rather than a 60-song box set, Sufjan-Stevens-Christmas-Style, as my first solo effort. (A 60-song box set will be my second project.)
Everyone who contributed to the recording of “Machinery” is ridiculously talented and have worked on many successful projects and with many great artists. I chose them because I knew they would both understand what I want as well as bring their own fresh ideas and skill to the table. Gonna take a minute and give them some creds:
Thom Donovan (artist, songwriter, works with major television networks) played lead guitars, Danny O’Lannerghty (has worked with Phil Keaggy, Amy Grant & many others) played upright bass, Graham Bechler (works with Andrew Belle, Brooke Waggoner & many others) played drums, Frenchie Sciou (has worked with Jack Ingram, Shooter Jennings & many others) played slide and National guitar on a few tracks, Barny Robertson (producer, songwriter, dad, worked with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, The Crickets & many others), played B3, Carter Robertson (artist, songwriter, mom, worked with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, James Taylor & many others) sang backgrounds along with Emily Fortney (artist, songwriter, fellow member of Carter’s Chord & sister) and Becky Scott (artist, songwriter, fellow member of Carter’s Chord & sister), and I played piano, accordion, Wurlitzer and sang lead vocals. I also partnered with my dad to produce the project for the same reasons—he gets it, he’s crazy talented, and always has great ideas.
I wanted the songs to be organic, not over-produced or over-analyzed, so we decided having a rehearsal before the recording session would accomplish just that. With a rehearsal under our belt, we could get in the studio and play through the songs as if we’re playing a live show, and live is where the magic happens. At rehearsal we talked about vision for each song and everyone brought great ideas to the table; ideas I got excited about. We tracked the instruments at Westpark Studios in Franklin, TN—a beautiful studio complete with a grand piano I got to play in a room with hardwood floors. I sang vocals at CarBarn studios, and we also recorded background vocals there. Everyone’s contributions to the project morphed each song into something richer and greater. I love that about collaboration. It was such a great experience and I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.
Wherever this EP goes, the bottom line is I created it for the love of creating. I’m so excited to share it with whoever wants to listen. I’d be happy simply knowing it is for someone what music is for me. I hope it makes someone feel something they haven’t felt in a while. I hope it keeps them company on a drive home. I hope it inspires them to create something of their own. To say there’s more where this comes from is an understatement. I’ll always write songs and I’ll continue to release them down the road for whoever wants to listen. Because like I said, I can’t stop.