New Slang

203: Evan Bartels

October 01, 2021 Season 6 Episode 203
203: Evan Bartels
New Slang
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New Slang
203: Evan Bartels
Oct 01, 2021 Season 6 Episode 203

On Episode 203, I'm joined by singer-songwriter Evan Bartels, who released his latest full-length album, Lonesome this past September 17. Dark and rich, Lonesome dives deep into the raw emotional intensity of the human condition. During this conversation, we talk about writing Lonesome, recording with producer Ryan Hewitt, the redemptive streak within Lonesome's darkness, growing up in Nebraska, and why we return to our favorite albums time and again.

This episode's presenting partner is Desert Door Texas Sotol, The Blue Light Live, and Charlie Stout Photography.

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Show Notes Transcript

On Episode 203, I'm joined by singer-songwriter Evan Bartels, who released his latest full-length album, Lonesome this past September 17. Dark and rich, Lonesome dives deep into the raw emotional intensity of the human condition. During this conversation, we talk about writing Lonesome, recording with producer Ryan Hewitt, the redemptive streak within Lonesome's darkness, growing up in Nebraska, and why we return to our favorite albums time and again.

This episode's presenting partner is Desert Door Texas Sotol, The Blue Light Live, and Charlie Stout Photography.

New Slang Patreon
New Slang Twitter
New Slang Instagram
New Slang Facebook
New Slang Merch Store
The Neon Eon Podcast
The Neon Eon Merch Store

*Pre-Order The Lubbock Way, the debut book by Thomas Mooney, here.

Support the Show.

Thomas Mooney  0:01  
Yo, welcome back to new slang. I'm your host music journalist Thomas Mooney. We are kicking off October with Episode 203, where I'm joined by singer songwriter Evan Bartels. Evan just released an excellent new album called lonesome. It's a second full length, and was released just a couple of weeks back on September 17. There's a rich and dark intensity found on loan. So it's emotionally raw and hauntingly beautiful. And mind you that stark and intense Sonic palette, it isn't there just for pomp and circumstance. Rather, it reflects the emotional weight within Evans lyrics and his voice. You're walking away knowing that those stories, it carries that way, and they're full of substance, there's some validity to them. Evan goes into some uncomfortable territory here. He pushes into the unknown and talks about some of these things that we don't talk about on a day to day basis, attempted suicide, anger, isolation, depression, all those things. And he captures these moments of just really true and raw hopelessness. And maybe it's because I'm an optimist at the end of the day, I know I probably don't look like one. But I always feel like I try and find the light and comfort within. And trust me, I've had plenty of times where I've felt that genuine hopelessness, that detachment, and not to be just overly dramatic or anything, but I always felt like the existential crisis is just always around the corner. But I guess what I'm saying is that, I almost always take some comfort in knowing that we're all kind of going through that. When you talk about these subjects, and you're listening to music about these kinds of things, that specific loan sadness, it doesn't feel nearly as dreadful. This is all to say that while lonesome, it dives deep into these dark days, there's still a redemptive streak. We talk about all of that and more on this right here, and we'll get into it here in a second. But first, today's presenting partner is our pals over at Desert door, Texas SOTL. If you've been listening to new slang for really any amount of time, you'll know that desert door is one of my all time favorite premium, high quality spirits. If you haven't, or aren't sure what exactly a soul is. I'm going to let you in on a little secret that's going to up the game on your liquor cabinet. For starters, the best reference point that I can point you to is to think about a tequila or a Moscow. Do you feel that Western desert that text is ruggedness? Okay, Salto is like that, but a little bit more refined, smooth and fragrant. It intrigues the palate, and offers these hints of vanilla and citrus, there's an earthiness that often sends me right back to my Transpac is in Far West Texas roots. There's plenty to love about desert door. For me, it all starts right there. A close second is just how versatile desert door really is. You can go full highbrow and experiment with concocting a variety of cocktails that call for muddling fresh fruit sprigs of thyme sticks of cinnamon, it's perfect for that world. If you're a little bit more down home, if you've just rolled up the sleeves of your denim wrangler button up, it's perfect for that as well. If you're just designing something that short and sweet, it hits the mark every time does adore is genuine and authentically West Texan. It's inherently West Texan. They harvest Soto plants out in the wild in our knowledgeable conservation lists at heart. That's obviously something incredibly important to me. They shine a light on what makes West Texas special and unique and worth preserving and keeping it safe from exploitation. Right now, you can find desert door all over Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, and there's budding numbers in places like New Mexico, Arizona, California and Georgia. Best thing you can do is to check out desert to find where desert door is locally. Again, that's desert If this is your first time listening, be sure to hit that subscribe button wherever you listen to podcasts. New slang is available just about everywhere. But if you're listening on Apple podcasts, go ahead leave one of those five star reviews. Go check out the merch store. There's plenty of cool new slang stuff over there like T shirts and coffee mugs and shot glasses and a bunch of other stuff. It's also where you can pre order my debut book. It's called the Lubbock way. It's just me self publishing, so it's going to be an unlimited run. But as the title alludes, it's about a short period within the Lubbock music scene, his thoughts and stories about some of the artists that you know in love who have come out of this Lubbock scene within recent memory. And then of course, hopefully, there's also some artists that you'll soon discover because of this book, some hidden gems, if you will. Anyway, the books coming out super super soon. Again right now go pre order it

all the way links that I just mentioned, they will be in the show notes as well. Okay, let's get into it. Here is Eben barleys. The obviously natural spots to just start on this is, now you have this record coming out next week, September 17. Lonesome, and, you know, this, this record feels like, you know, I guess like the way I would kind of describe it in one word, if we're just going to go with that is, it's it's intense, it's an intense listening. I mean, that in this way of like, I was kind of thinking about how a lot of the, the photography and art that you've used for this project has been these black and white photos, and, you know, I almost kind of like think this Listen, is this listening experiences is very much like a, if you put a bright light on something, and it kind of makes it really harsh to not necessarily look at, but harsh, in the sense of like it, you know, the way it affects whatever the subject is, and in a lot of ways, I feel like that's kind of what this record feels like. It's, it's intense, but not like, obviously, in a horrible way. It's, but but, you know, you go into a lot of deep, dark, and serious subject matter. And, yeah, I guess like, you know, where, where do you feel? It feels like this, this record has is something that you've been working on for, for a minute now. And not necessarily like, you know, view this is not necessarily a pandemic record, if you will, as far as the writing process goes? What's the I guess, like kind of the, for laying down the the ground for this? One, where does this record kind of, you know, stem from,

Evan Bartels  6:54  
but hey, it's a record like this. It just comes for me from living. I, we cut a lot of it over the pandemic, you know, the first five songs we did in February of 2020, was when we recorded them. So just the month before, and everything started going to shit. And then we went back later in October of 2020. And recorded three more to round it out to the eight tracks. But yeah, I didn't, I didn't write this during the pandemic or about it. But I would say that the pandemic definitely highlighted a lot of themes in the album, you know, because coming up in the music industry, so to say, the way that I did a lot of bar gigs, a lot a restaurant, gigs nights, wherever you buy somebody, give me a couple 100 bucks, you know, and before that, before that it was looking for any place that would let you play, you know what I mean? I remember when I was 16, we just kept thinking, Boy, if I could get a show, somewhere, anywhere, an open mic, because where I grew up, there wasn't any of that stuff. So then once you finally, once you finally get somebody to listen to you, you want to keep the attention, you know what I'm saying? I remember being like 16 years old, and driving an hour up to Lincoln, in Nebraska, which is, you know, one of the bigger towns there as like an hour away. And I busk on a corner, just with an acoustic guitar and a voice and you got to sing pretty fucking loud to make people pay attention on the street, right? And then they start looking. And if you want to make any money doing that, you got to keep people's attention, you know what I'm saying? So I did that for a long time. And then the first gigs that I got, as a, as a musician, were playing in country bands or cover bands, or it was selling beer with music, basically. And I had to battle that because all the music that I liked to listen to that fired me, it made me want to write and play music. It wasn't that and I found myself slipping into this slipping into this up in Nebraska. Once you start kind of getting the groundwork set as I'm an original singer, songwriter, you know and you start getting opening slots for different places. You know, we'd play shows with like shooter Jennings or bigger acts like that, that would come through town, you start getting those slots. Go on Fuck yeah, this is. This is great. And you listen to the music that they're playing. And you listen to the music that you're playing and you're thinking, you know, before you go on stage, you want to kill it because you want to impress these other artists. And I don't know, I was doing this for so long where I would make a living, playing in a bar, battling a TV, and a crowd that did not give a shit. And just playing covers, you know, Albia, any song I ever covered was a song I liked, but it wasn't mine, you know. And after a while of that, I just thought, I don't want to do that anymore, or I'm gonna quit. So when I put out the first record, that was all songs that I had written over the course of about four years, so we put together and I stand by that to this day. But when I followed that up with that EP Promised Land, I thought I want to lean in to the songwriting, and I want to take away everything that doesn't need to be there, and focus on the song. And so this album, lonesome is a continuation of that. What I wanted to do with the collection of songs, as a whole, is, like you said, I want to shine a light on things that I have seen, things that I've lived with, been affected by,

that I believe a lot of people have, whether it's West Texas, or rural Nebraska, or Middle Tennessee, or East Coast, West Coast, all these things, and I thought, I'm not trying to sell any fucking beer, with this music, you know, I'm already poor, what are they going to do not buy my fucking record, I'm going to say, what I want to say, I'm going to try to say something that I think matters. And that can be doable. You know, but I don't think it's damaging. I think it's a healing record is what I was looking for. Because I mean, you can't you can't address or you can't hope to fix problems if you don't address problems. Right, you know, what I'm saying? And that's what, to me, the over arching goal of this album is, is to look at things no bullshit, and, and dive in and power through them, and then come out the other side as a new person.

Thomas Mooney  12:15  
Yeah, the, a lot of times, you know, when it comes to problems, or insecurities or fear, it is the, you got to look them on head straight, and you may not have you're not gonna, like, cure the problem in one day in one setting, or whatever the case is. But, you know, that's, that's the way you know, problems get solved or get managed, because a lot of you know, any kind of mental health, it's, it's management, it's a day to day thing, or it's not like, okay, yeah, we're quote, unquote, fixing things. But, you know, that's, that's part of the process of going in, on a, on a day to day thing, or like, at least like, you know, looking at it, head on.

Evan Bartels  13:02  
Yeah. And a lot of it's just being present, taking the time to let yourself feel something that you don't, or, you know, obviously, one of the tricks that has been out on this record so far, that has gotten a pretty strong reaction is that shotgun song, you know, because it means different things to different people. But if you're focusing solely on the story of the song, what I wanted to capture was the moment after a failed suicide attempt, you know what I mean? And so it's like, that's not a song about suicide prevention or awareness even or whatever. It's not that wide, it's focused on just the point of the rebirth that you're afforded was something like that fails, you know what I mean? So it's not, my hope isn't to tell people, you know, throughout the record, like, Hey, I know, something you don't know, this is how you get better. Or this is how you fix things. It's just capturing moments and presenting them in a way that, you know, maybe people who haven't considered these things or haven't confronted these things, can see it and be like, holy shit. I understand this a little bit better now. Or people who are stuck in those scenarios. And think, I can't explain this to somebody because there's just no words for it. You know, it's how do you give words to these moments? How do you capture them in a way that doesn't glorify anything it doesn't, you know, make anything grandiose, it just hopefully, captures what's there in the moment. That's the goal.

Thomas Mooney  14:58  
Yeah, the there's A lot of, and I mean this in like the, I guess like, this is not meant as like a backhanded compliment or anything like that. But it's, there's a lot of points poking this, there's a lot of that just like, you know, talking straight at it versus, you know, trying to be trying to tiptoe around stuff, I guess, trying to tiptoe around subjects and, and a lot of times, you know that, that just very honest candidness about subject matter like this, about suicide or attempted suicide or just depression in general. You know, that's, uh, to get to that spot as a songwriter. I don't know, I feel like that would probably be, I guess, like to backtrack a little bit on this is, you know, when writing a song, you're trying to get into a certain headspace. And if you're writing, you know, this is probably just projecting a little bit. But if you're writing a song about drinking beer, you know, it's probably very, very easy to get in that headspace and go, yeah, here's a song about drinking beer. And the process of getting to that place is very, very short. It feels like with these songs, you know, to get to the headspace for a lot of these songs, it feels like that would probably be a lot of work. I know, like when I'm writing stuff, not necessarily for, you know, songs or anything, but I always feel the process of getting to a point to start writing is actually a lot of the work. Do you did did a lot of the songs have that same kind of process of getting to a spot to actually start writing, getting to that place where you've been thinking about this for a minute, but getting I guess, like, you know, the the world built around the song in your head and getting to that right moment to, to allow a song to come out? Was that did you end up having to do a lot of that work? I guess is what I'm asking.

Evan Bartels  16:58  
Yeah, month, month of it. And that, to me, the most important, the most important part of my writing process for this record was editing. And it was to try and make these songs, whether it be a song like shotgun, or a song like lonesome or false gods, you know, these songs that can be challenging. It's how do you make them? How do you make them accessible to people. And the way to do that is every word has to be considered and multiple viewpoints, you know, bouncing ideas off of people that you trust, and then challenging yourself. And, you know, when I wrote, When I wrote us shotgun and false gods, I wrote it, and I rewrote it, and I rewrote it. I have 15 pages of rewrites for those songs. You know what I mean? And it's just, you know, one of my other favorite podcasters, from Texas, the controversial Joe Rogan, has said in the past, that you can joke about anything, as long as it's a good fucking joke. You know what I mean? I think the same is true with a song. If you're writing a song. If you're writing a song about something very, very serious, oftentimes taboo, and potentially painful for people, you know, yourself included, you can do that. But you have to put the work in to make sure it's a good song, you have to say, What am I saying here? Why am I saying it? Because if you're gonna write a song about a suicide attempt, just for the shock value, then you're an asshole. And I would say, you're not a very good artist. You know, I think that that's the job of an artist in any medium, but especially a songwriter is to try to connect to people with where they're at what I'm saying. So when I was putting the songs together, that's what it was, is I would write it, and I would just play it and sit in it. And, you know, one of my favorite songwriters, this is a dude, Dan Wilson, if you follow him on Instagram, or anybody does, he just shares these gems of wisdom for songwriting. And one of the things that he has said that really stuck with me was when you write a great chorus, make it a verse, and then write a better chorus. So that idea of just when you get something great, don't accept that as the final product. You know, keep working with it, edit it, what word doesn't need to be there, what note doesn't need to be there? You know, just put what is asked absolutely necessary. And I don't know, man to me. I listened to a lot of Americana music. I listened to a lot of hip hop music. And the best of both of those are, in my opinion, the songs that are not overwritten. You know what I mean? It seems that there's a trend in Americana music, especially where it's like, well, we might not have a great melody, but Goddamnit it's gonna sound like Cormac McCarthy put to an acoustic guitar, you know what I mean? And it's like, do you have to do that? Or can you just pick the words that need to be there and try to marry it with a top line, and then take a subject matter that actually has some substance, and use those lyrics and use that top line to deliver it to people in an accessible way that is going to hopefully have an impact on them? You know, and so those were the main things that I was trying to take into consideration when I was putting these songs together as just, you know, like we said, just cut the bullshit, what doesn't need to be there. Get rid of that. You know what I mean?

Thomas Mooney  21:13  
This episode is, in part brought to you by Charlie stout photography, Charlie stout has long been a great buddy of mine. And for as long as I've known him, he's always had a good eye, a good eye for ideas for lines and a song. And notably, an eye for what makes a great photograph. Yes, we're gonna roll with that tried and true cliche about a great photographer, having a good eye. But it's cliche for a reason, more often than not means it's true. Right now, I want y'all to head on over to Charlie To get an idea of what I'm talking about. While you're at it, go give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter at Troy stout. Right now he has about 50 photographs for sale on Charlie With a vast majority of those being landscapes and sky shots of West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, the American Southwest, if you will, in a lot of cacti and clouds, windmills, and open roads, sunsets and stardust. He captures a lot of what I love about West Texas, and these dry arid climates. That's mainly that vast emptiness that can really make you feel small, the depth and the way and the intensity, it's all in there. Right now he's doing a special on his prints. Each week, he releases a new photo. And for one week, only that photograph is at a special introductory rate, for just $25, you will get an eight and a half by 11. That's just about half off the regular price. For 75, you can get a 13 by 19. And for 110, you can get a 17 by 22. After the week, they go back to regular prices, which are still an absolute steal, if you ask me. Also just a pro tip, keep a watchful eye out on his Twitter, he's consistently posting one offs, errors and randoms on there that are for sale that are in the flash sale variety. Again, that is at Charlie stout for Twitter and Instagram, head on over to Charlie Grab a sign printed by a record, get yourself some nature sounds and some nature shots. Alright, let's get back to the episode. You know, it's one of those things where, you know, I often bring up the overriding or the, the not necessarily over writing in, he over wrote is like, if you look at Spring Springsteen, and like his career, he got gradually better at like, taking stuff out. And you can see a lot of that in the stuff that he did, that he's released, where he's shown demos of stuff where, you know, especially around like revolving around the river, I felt like that was like a huge turn in his career because he was telling these stories of, you know, serious subject matter that were, you know, kind of about the, you know, the the American dream that was like, you know, the false American dream and like, you know, the realities of, you know, industry just kind of leaving town and all that kind of stuff, but he, in my opinion, he did like so much world building in the songs, but then he kind of like scraped away a lot of that world and then just kind of left you with a story. And then it was like, You You ended up like filling in the gaps anyways. And so like that's what kinda that's as you said, like some of the best in the Americana and hip hop and just probably songwriting in general does that they, you're able to, like do some world building but then also just leaving, I don't know, like enough of it to to give the listener and then like, I guess give the listener some benefit of the doubt that they're gonna be able to keep up, keep on and like, keep up with the story.

Evan Bartels  25:04  
But see what you said right there. To me, that is the key that was that was something that, that I came to grips with, is give the listener, you know, some credit, you know, for a long time, I'd write a song. And I would think like, I gotta change that because I would never want to sing that front of my grandmother. You know what I mean? Whether a word or an idea that was just challenging or whatever. And with this album, I still thought that, and I still think that even if I go play some of these songs, and a honky tonk or in, you know, especially, like a midtown songwriters night, you know, our songwriters are out, if you go play a song, where everybody's like, just writing whatever sounds like bro country, on the fucking radio, and they're all trying to copy that and you go play a song like shotgun, you know, the room changes pretty quick. But the thing is, if I can think these things, if I can feel these things, I'm no fucking better than anybody else. I don't think I'm unique in my life experiences. So it's like, if I'm feeling these, if I'm thinking these to say, I can't write about this, or I can't confront this in a song, or I can't share this idea, this emotion, that's not giving your listener credit. You know, to me, when I would when I would say, Well, I want to write this song. But I don't want to write it. 100% Because what if I offend somebody? Well, maybe you do. But that's how you challenge ideas. That's how you grow as a person. That's how you, you know, shape society and culture is by just putting things out there and giving the listener enough credit to say like, Hey, yeah, this might challenge you. You know, that's what a lot of these songs are, is I didn't write these songs, people to, for people to like them or for them to be on the radio. I wanted to make something that said, listen, whether you like it or not, this is here. You know, if you're hearing it, you're gonna fucking listen. That's what I was gone for. And, you know, maybe I put this record out. And most people, it's too much for them, and they don't want to hear it. Well, then. Okay. It is what it is. But, you know, at least I will know why I did it. I wrote what I wanted to write, I said, what I wanted to say, and I didn't pull any punches. You know, think about all of my favorite writers in the world are people that never pulled any punches, you know, love them or hate them. They went out there and they did the damn thing. And that's what I wanted to do with this record, is just go for it. Go deep. If you're gonna do it, then do it. You know what I mean?

Thomas Mooney  27:59  
Yeah, no, I think that, you know, it's the, it's the old men and black thing about whatever. Tommy Lee Jones is kind of telling welfare or will, will fare that'd be a totally different movie, if it was Will Ferrell Smith, about, you know, the existence of aliens. And he's like, why don't you just don't want to they just tell the public and he's like, you know, paraphrase. And everybody's like, you know, an individual is smart, and all that kind of stuff. But a crowd is panicky, dumb, and it's a wild animal. And I feel like that's the kind of the same thing when it comes to art. You can have these conversations with people who are, you know, may not be they may be listening to top 40 radio, but you also can talk to them about a Jason Isbell song and they've got a Jason if they know who Jason is, or if they know Steve Earle, there's something in there. And it'll be like a deep cut that like you've not really even thought you didn't give them the benefit of the doubt of knowing. And yeah, they can connect those dots. And they even I've had plenty of conversations with people where I'm like, God, not even actually thought about that, even though I didn't, like I've never heard you just like talking about what I would call great music all the time or something, you know. So it's, it's that thing, right? There's the individual, you can have these, these real conversations and I think people were like, seeking them out. You know? I think they also it's that it's, it's in it's not just in song, but you know, in film and movies and TV shows, people are seeking those things out in those mediums. So why not in song as well.

Evan Bartels  29:40  
I mean, tell you about a theory I have Tom. And it's this. It's that when you have a bunch of people, like you said, you know, and you just feed them the same thing, the same thing. It just comes as accepted, but I believe that People want to be challenged. You know, like I said, I want to be challenged, whether I'm watching film, or TV, I want to think about things, I want to work with things. You know, I think that it's so right now, in this day and age, when people have been so up ended, I think people are open to saying about these things. You know, I remember when I was like, coming up and playing in, you know, different bands, or whatever, some of the older guys would always give me that sage advice that everybody's heard a million times is, was you playing the five people or 5000 people play like you're playing to 5000? I remember being 18 years old and thinking, what about the inverse, you know, no matter how many people you're playing, to act like you're playing for one person or two people, because that's how you connect, you know, I'm saying, I've taken some of these songs, you know, while they were developing. And one of my favorite venues in the world to play is I'm sure you've heard of it, it's a place called bucks Bar and Grill, and Venice, Nebraska, just outside of Omaha. I mean, it's kind of a cult classic venue, in the Midwest, and you're just playing in a corner, there's no stage. And you have such a diverse array of characters and the audience, you know, from 85 year old farmers who have never left Nebraska, to people who will drive from Minnesota, or Missouri or wherever to come see a show there. And it's like, if I can take these songs, and I can play to an audience like that of people who walk down the street, you go, this is not gonna connect with this person. But then you do connect with them. And you make them weep, or you make them feel something or laugh, you know, a stage banter. It's that connection. And I think that's what the point of all of this is, you know, it's every day. And I say this on stage, sometimes, too, is every day, with all the shit that we go through all the stress, things that we don't let people into, we're putting these little walls up around ourselves, you know, brick by brick by brick, every fucking day. And when we connect with a song, especially in a live setting, when you connect with a song, and you're all there together, those little walls start to get dismantled. And the next thing you know, you're actually present, you're actually with people feeling the same vibrations, and you're living in the same moment, as individuals all present. And that's the beautiful thing. And everybody from every walk of life from every background, can participate in that. And you know, the song or the music, the art, whatever. That's just the vehicle to get people to that point. You know what I'm saying? And I think that's what is so important in this day. And age is like, people are hungry for that, because we haven't had it for almost two years. You know what I mean? And it makes you reassess what is valuable to me, what do I want in my life? What do I want my life to be? And I don't know, I just feel like most people do not want the fact that bullshit that they're fed to, on mainstream radio and, you know, television, it's, this is bullshit. I think people are tired of it.

Thomas Mooney  33:40  
Yeah, well, to me, I always think like, when it comes to the top 40 radio stuff, it's, it's such a it's one of those things where the most of the people who are listening to this, they're listening to it in the, you know, the office, a radio, or the, you know, their workout as a mechanic, and that's what's on the house music and they are listening to it on the way from work and back and dropping the kids off at school. And so it's easy to just throw that on and just do it right there versus, you know, going in and finding something to put on and, you know, the on the other the opposite side. You know, you have a guy like me who is not married, no kids does not work like a regular job. It's, I listen to music every day as the as a job. And it's like, I have the allowance to to go and find this stuff, you know, and maybe maybe the, you know, Joe plumber down the street, he doesn't have the same bandwidth on a day to day consistent on that basis, but it is still that same guy you'll see who mentioned Joe Rogan. I mean, like, a lot of these people are getting the podcast or you know, they're They are convinced, hey, let's, let's do a house concert with so and so. And then like the neighborhood pays for it or whatever. And you realize like the in those moments, you know, people are seeking that out still. So I think it's a balance I understand on both sides of it. As far as like, why it's easy to just kind of, you know, paint by numbers and just put on that radio dial, just not listen to, you know, what I would call or consider great art versus, you know, just beer jingles. But, you know, when given the chance, they end up, like tapping out and go into the other thing, you know? So it's,

Evan Bartels  35:43  
like, I totally, I was just gonna say, I totally agree with you, you know, it's, I'm not always in the mood to watch Quentin Tarantino movies, sometimes I just want to throw on The Simpsons and veg out, you know, Anthony Bourdain used to talk about how chefs, you know, would make the some of the best food in the world. And then what they wanted to eat was like, $1 St. Taco, you know, it's different things for different folks. And it all depends, is what purpose are you trying to serve? You know, when you're listening to as a top 40? Country radio, I know guys who write that stuff. And I got nothing against them. It's like, what's the purpose of that music? Well, I mean, to be told for a lot of it is to sell ad space, or just filler, you know, background music. There's nothing wrong with background music. That's not what we were going for with this, you know, and it's not to say that there's anything wrong with that. I mean, do it. There's many a night as a father of two children, that I just go fuck it. We're having fish with this, you know, and I got revised in the freezer. But it's like, you don't always want to go to that extra work. But when you do want to, and you have something where you can do that, you know, that's insanely valuable. Yeah,

Thomas Mooney  37:06  
absolutely. The, you know, one of the things I guess, obviously it goes hand in hand, with this record is, you know, the sonic quality of it is very much right online with with the lone sadness, or the the isolation, or the intensity of the subject matter of the songs. Obviously, you worked with Ryan Hewitt, who's the produce the the project, what were those conversations like, as far as, you know, figuring out what you guys wanted as the the sonic palette?

Evan Bartels  37:42  
Man, I'll tell you this. As far as Ryan Hewitt goes, That guy, I don't know people throw around the word genius, so loosely, but I say it with the weight that it deserves when I put it on him. I mean, he is truly a production and a mixing genius. And so when he signed on as the producer for the project, you know, the conversation with him was put together the band that you think, you know, to bring these songs to life. And, you know, you pick the studio he had control was where we were going to record who was going to play on the record. And I mean, he nailed it. He put together a band that he calls his Wrecking Crew. And so we had some of the best players in Nashville. And, you know, arguably the world on the record. And when we went when we went in and recorded the first five songs, which would have been what were they would have been like lonesome and shotgun nights. I can't love you burn. When we recorded that round a songs. We did that all in 110 hour day. And we had who was it in this session? It was me just doing vocals. We had Tim Lauer on keys, who's a beast, you know? And it Chris Don, again, our guitar, Jerry row on drums. And, and how how I'm trying to remember everybody that we had on those first sessions. And viewed it was just insane the band that they had put together. And that was the conversations we had is the same thing as when I was writing the record. It was the same thing when we were putting together the production is what doesn't need to be there. You know what I'm saying? It's like, what do we not need? And that was just get the song charted out, go in there with the demo, and then have the musicians play the way that they play, you know, and trusting them to bring their stuff to The table. And then once we had everything on the canvas, start pulling it out until we had all the pieces put together. And I don't know, when you try to describe this with words, it's almost, you know, as somebody who writes words for a living, it's hard to describe, you know what I mean. But it's this very, Ryan's a very intuitive producer. He goes by feel a lot. And I think probably some of that comes from him working with Rick Rubin, in the past is, you know, it's very much based on feel. And so that's what we tried to flesh out with each song is, where are we trying to take the listener, I see. Like, when we put together the El Camino song, one of the references that I brought in for production was, I want to feel like I'm driving like a 1969. Bronco, down on an old open highway with somebody that I love riding with me under the stars, you know, how do we bring that to a record, and then you just trusted the musicians to do it. But, I mean, obviously, once everything was recorded, and mixed, I don't know, you write the way, when I listen to it, especially when you have good studio headphones or a good sound system. What we captured is everything I was hoping for is you can feel the air moving, you can feel the drums, the bass, the guitar, all of its together, but it's pieced together separately, in a way that there's just room, there's space. To me, when I listen to it, it feels like it's breathing. And I don't know, the the way the production works with the songwriting, in my opinion, it works so well together. Because with each song, I wanted to capture a moment. And then with production, I feel like we captured the moment of us performing those, because, you know, we cut all that live on the floor vocals and everything. And we just did it all in what like a 12 hour session, and got that all together.

Thomas Mooney  42:23  
Yeah, like it feels like a lot of the songs are, you're building towards something new, there's a lot of like, the rise of, of attention. And then like the tension breaking out, you know, the climax of a song. And I think that that's very much a, like, that's what you guys accomplish on on a lot of these songs. And I think probably like that the best example of that is just the opening song false gods. The the building of the that song.

Evan Bartels  42:53  
Yeah, that one. That was one of those that when I was writing it. I don't know that one could skew differently for different listeners. And I didn't want it to. I wanted it to just stay what I wanted it to say with no preconceived notions. As we were recording it. We wanted kind of the same thing, like I was saying. And so yeah, well, we were building that out, I knew that I wanted the basis of it to be piano, which was, for me, way different compared to any of my other records is the fact that the lion's share of this whole album I wrote on piano. And so that song has my friend Ryan Connors playing piano on it. And he's just the backbone of the song. And so then it was like, Okay, if we have a great vocal and a great piano track, we want that to be enough. You know what I mean? So let's fill out and only add what needs to be there. And I came out, like he said, you know, it came out exactly as we were hoping. But that was a discovery process of saying, what do we want you to feel when you're listening to this? And then how do we make that? And honestly, we had a, we had it like 90% Done. And we just kept coming back to the board and go on something. It's good, but it's is it right? What is it missing? What does it need? A man we had this cat Russ Paul, who plays pedal steel on the whole record. We had him put a pedal steel track on that false gods record and it just took it over the top because that dude plays pedal steel. He just He creates worlds with it. And that's what that song needed to tie it all together. And so yeah, It just builds its source. And that's what I that's, it makes me happy to hear you say that because that's what we were going for with that one was to just have something really soaring and kind of grandiose in a way that starts very minimalistic.

Thomas Mooney  45:20  
This episode of new slang is brought to you by the blue light live here in Lubbock, Texas. Blue light has long been the heart and soul of the Lubbock singer songwriter scene, and has been a home away from home for some Texas Americana, country and Rock and roll's finest over the years. Talk with 99.9% of the songwriters who have come out of Lubbock and the Panhandle at large over the past 20 years. And they'll point to just how integral and necessary the blue light is, with live music and touring slowly but surely coming back spots like the blue light, or getting back to their usual ways as well. That means music every night of the week. Do you want to see that schedule? Well, I've got a few options for you. One, go to their socials and give them a follow that is at blue light live on Twitter, at the blue light live on Instagram. And of course, by just searching the blue light live on Facebook, they're consistently posting that week's lineup of shows, as well as those heavy hitters that ought to be on your calendar that are coming up on the horizon. To check out blue light as well. There they have the full schedule, the cover charges, time, any of those specials that may be happening while they're go check out their merch page. They have a wide range of hats, koozies, hoodies, sweaters, beanies, jackets, and so much more. You can of course get all of your merchant age, when you go see your favorite band, take the stage at blue light, just ask the bartender and they will get you all set. Speaking of which, that's another great way of seeing who's playing there. Just go to the blue light. It's at 1806 Buddy Holly Avenue here in Lubbock, Texas. And of course, again, that is blue light I'll throw a link into the show notes to maybe I'll see you there. Okay, let's get back to the show

about I think this is like in recent years where I've loved kind of seeing this approach to, to the sonic qualities of a lot of Americana is the even though I don't think necessarily there's any pedal still on any of the War on Drugs stuff. But like, I feel like there's a lot of the same kind of guitar tones a lot of the same kind of building of songs. And you know, obviously that's a rock and roll band. But I think like since they since that first wreck not first record, I guess it's technically their second record came out, I felt like you can start seeing these little accents that started coming into more Americana stuff. And, and it is like, Okay, well, what what do we have? What instruments do we have that can help create more worlds more swirl? And of course, that's pedal still. And I think you've seen it on a lot of like the Izabal stuff, or like American Aquarium or my buddy Ryan Colwell. And I think there's there's some of that on this.

Evan Bartels  48:29  
But that's the thing, man, it's like, there's, there's no set formula for how do you how do you make a song, you know, and I think if you believe that there is, that's where you start to get really stagnant, as you know, a producer or as a songwriter, or as a recording artist, is when you think like, oh, well, this is how you put together a song is you have the guitar play this and you have the drums play this and it's like, but why? Why can't you, you know, just create different sounds, you know, not everything has to be risk based. Not everything has to be, you know, the drums play just the same beat for every single song. You know what I mean? And that's what when we were putting this all together, it was how do we make something, you know, with this set of instruments that sounds like it could be from any time period, you know, try to make something that sounds timeless, but also sounds very distinct. You know, instead of just sounding like, oh, this could be any band, and this could be any song. How do we make it something really special? And to me, the answer for that is always Who are you collaborating with? Who are you playing with? You know, when I was writing this album, it was a very intentional and all thing to not have any CO writers, or any background vocals on it, I wanted all of that to be me, but when it was putting it together in the studio, that was finding, like, who's just straight killers as far as players go, and then bring them in. And that's where, you know, I wanted the collaboration to happen with, you know, them bringing their artistry to the record, and giving people the freedom to do that in a studio. Because if I'm just there, whether I'm the MD or not trying to dictate, like, play this riff, exactly, or do this or do that, it's like, you're just gonna get this kind of cookie cutter stuff that's really not as good as if you just tell the people playing in the band, this is what we're trying to achieve spiritually with this song, let's all go here together. And man, when we were in the studio, that's like, it wasn't just me and a couple guys, you know, playing the thongs, it's like, we were a fucking band, we were there in the moment, playing together creating these worlds together. And Ryan was able to capture that. And it's like, I've made, I've been a part of records in the past where, you know, there's nothing wrong with it, but when you're recording bass on Tuesday, and then you're gonna have guitars come in on Thursday, and you're gonna do all these different sessions, you know, and then piece them together Pro Tools, that's fine, and you can get cool shit doing stuff like that. But in this instance, we were all there in the room, feeling everything together and making this all together. And, you know, it was them bringing their creativity and their artistry to it. And trusting people with that. And I like, in my opinion, that comes out on the recording. And that's what makes it so special is you know, these songs, require the listener to trust, you know, to trust that I'm not trying to bullshit you or I'm not trying to cool kid you, or whatever kind of crap there is, you know, it's like, be here with me, be in this moment with me. And so when as a band, we had a room full of musicians that were all doing that or capturing it sonically. That's just, it feels special to me, you know, whether or not anybody else agrees, I can listen to this. And I can feel it, you know, very, very deeply. And I think that's, I think that's just the goal for all records. Like what, let me ask you this, Tom, what's your favorite record? Ever? What is it just top of your head? What's your favorite recorded song?

Thomas Mooney  52:55  
I don't know. If I if I have like a full on answer for that, like a. I mean, if I'm just going top of the head kind of stuff. I'll I would say something like, loving on everything by Terry Allen.

Evan Bartels  53:06  
Oh, that's a good one. Why? Why is it your why is it one of your favorites?

Thomas Mooney  53:12  
One of the I guess, like, there's multiple reasons. One of them though, is because it's a record that when I was like, 22, I thought I figured it out. And then at 25 I was like, you know, it's not it is those things that I said at 22. But it's also this. And then like, you know, at 28 I was like, you know, it's, it's those things, but it's also this and so it's been a record that I've been able to come back to multiple times. And, you know, feel like I've figured out more stuff about it. And then it's just so singular. It's kind of like this watershed moment for Lubbock music and yeah, it's just like a It's a fucking 21 songs. I mean, like, there's a massive record. So you there's, I don't know, it feels like you, you can put it on and listen to it all at once. Or you can just, you know, jump in halfway, or whatever, and it still hits you the same.

Evan Bartels  54:12  
See, and I totally agree with you that I would suggest that anybody you ask what their favorite record is, the answer will be different. But the reason why is often the same. You know, it's something that grows with you. It's something that takes you to a moment and when you revisit it throughout your life, you know, it's still relevant. You know, for me, one of my favorite records of all time is dirt farmer by livan Hill, because there's a there's a song on there. One, I think the last song on the album, called wide river across. I heard that when I was like 19 years old. And it just gutted me because of where I was at in my life at the time and why What I was doing and how I was living, and all of my hopes and all of my dreams, and all of my past, were presented to me when I listened to that song. And, to this day, I'm driving down the road and I hear that song, it. It just makes me tear up and makes me cry. And not because I'm sad, but because I just allowing myself to feel that song was where I am now. And it's funny, because it's done that for me for the past 10 years. And I'm such a different person than I was a year ago, or five years ago, or 10 years ago. But that song still brings out the humanity in me, that record brings out the humanity in me. And I think that's what a good album does. And that's what I was trying to do with this album. And let me tell you that there is and what is it? You ever listen to that? Coulter wall song, Bob budge?

Thomas Mooney  56:07  
Oh, that's actually kind of probably my one of my favorite that he does.

Evan Bartels  56:11  
It's insane. Right? Limit? How does a song about a cowboy from Texas on a drive to Montana? How does that song connect with so many people like that song touches me in the deepest parts of my soul. And it's because in this is what I think is because regardless of the details in story, you know about it being about a guy named Bob, John a cattle drive in the late 1800s. Besides those details, what's deeper than that, you know what I mean? What's under the surface, this drive for adventure, this drive for meaning the search for beauty, and, you know, self reliance, I think that's what connects with people. And so it's like, that's what's amazing about music is you can take any story or any character any subject matter. And if it's crafted, genuinely, it will connect with people. Universally, I had a buddy once who had this theory, he was stationed in the army in El Paso for a while. And he was I don't know if he took a bunch of mushrooms in the desert or whatever. But he told me he's like, Man, I really think that music is language of God. And I was like, What do you mean? He goes, Well, is this a universal language, you know, if you hear a song, an instrumental song, in a minor key from somewhere in the Middle East, or an Irish folk song, or whatever, that song makes you feel sad, you can feel the heaviness and you know a few years joyful triumph and music in a major key, you just connect with it, you feel with it. powers like I had never considered that before. Because it was way before I had ever done any psychedelics in my life. But now that I'm older, now that I've traveled and lived and experienced things, I've really connected with that idea of music being this universal language, that was like the subject matter the details. If you take those, and you use them, to connect with people, you know, you can cast a really, really wide net, and hope to connect with people. Or you can zoom in to like a molecular level, and try to connect with people that way. You know, because I really think that we're all so much more alike, than we are different. And that's why I think when you have a song, like on these albums, like a song like shotgun, why you can make that connect with people, is because it's not going for shock value. It's going for what is the root of the song. And it's rebirth. It's tenacity, it's living, it's battling through some of the hardest struggles that you can be faced with in life and coming through the other side victorious, and just surviving. You know, and I mean, that's, I don't know, maybe that's a little out there. But when I'm writing this music, and when I'm listening back to it, that's what I'm thinking of. Yeah, like it's very visceral human connection.

Thomas Mooney  59:49  
You know, I think a lot of that has to do with, you know, we go far enough back. Everyone, every society is kind of like built around campfires. and like, you know, when the the earliest instrumentation, the earliest instruments out there the earliest ways that people were playing music or trying to figure out how to play music, you know, they're all kind of pulling from many of the same kind of resources, right? You're, you're pulling like, you know, fibres from, you know, woolly mammoth or whatever kind of big game that you're, you're hunting, and you're making drums and you're making strings. And that's, I think, like, so early on in our, I guess, our genetic basis, if you will, our earliest days, when you're around the campfire, and people were starting to create stuff, you know, you're all kind of like, we're all using the same kind of sounds in one way or another. And, you know, obviously telling them a lot of the same stories, because, like, you know, there's, there's very, I guess, like, you know, there's a podcast that I did with Radney, foster one time, and he, I can't remember if there was three kinds of songs, or if it was just two, but he was like, every, there's, there's only three kinds of songs. And it's like, about like, finding, finding God, whatever your vision or your version of God is, or like, connecting to nature, whatever that case that I guess, there's those kinds of songs, and then there's like heartache, or like love songs. And it's either like what, you know, boy meets girl, girl breaks boy's heart, or like, you know, even if it's something about, you know, losing a car, or losing a loved one, or whatever the case, he was kind of just going off. And there may have been like one other kind of song that he had given an example of, but you can kind of like, reduce all the songs into these, either being one of the I think it was three categories. And I think that's that all again, this just goes back to us being around the campfire. And like, the stories that we tell ourselves.

Evan Bartels  1:02:07  
Yeah. Yeah, man. I mean, I would, I would agree with a lot of that is that there's, there's really no new ideas. There's no new emotions, these are all things that people have felt for 1000s and 1000s of years, you know, and I like I like, the simplicity of say, there's three categories of songs. But I would say, you know, the best songs, have all of it. Because when you feel heartbreak, or when you feel happiness, or whatever, you know, that those are such surface level emotion, I have, you know, my mom, or my grandma, whoever will be like, you know, what, are you going to write a happy song, but to me, I'm not writing sad songs, they have everything in them. Because when's the last time that you felt joy, without heartbreak somewhere, you know, inside of that, that emotions are so nuanced? I think songs are, as well, at least the ones that the ones that really inspire me, and that I'm aspiring to create their nuance. They have all of it, they have happiness, they have sadness, they have struggle, they have joy. It's all there. That's because that's the way I've experienced emotions. In my own life, you know, it's very seldom just one thing that you're thinking or feeling. At any given time. There's, there's 100 ideas and 100 emotions, going through my head in my heart that flip flopping back and forth between them. You know what I mean? And maybe that's not the case for everybody. But it's the case for me. And it's the case for a lot of people that I know. And, I don't know, maybe it's easier to just focus on one at a time and do that. But you know, now that I'm thinking about it, you know, who, you know, who did a great job of putting many, many emotions into a single song is, and as soon as I say this, you agree with me, I'm sure but guy Clark, and the song I'll use for references Dublin blues, like that song. That world that he creates in that song has everything. It has love, the hope for love, the loss of love dealing with who you are as a man yourself, who you wish you could be who you were in the past, and it's all in like a four minute song. You know what I mean? It's just, it's the whole universe. It's like, it's like, you know, it's like fucking Dr. Seuss, where you zoom in on a snowflake, and there's an advanced society living in this miniscule moment of time and space. You know, everything's fluid, everything's connected. And people can say that's woowoo bullshit or not. But I don't think there's any denying that it's true. You know, things are layered, things are nuanced. That's why, you know, when people get so lost in their day to day lives with political ideology, or religious ideology, I mean, we don't get to delve into that. But shit, you're at Texas, look at what just happened with that. abortion laws, people are so divided because of ideologies, and beliefs. And it's like, the only way you lose communication, you lose humanity, in the separation. And it's not saying don't have those discussions, don't feel these things. But man, if you, if you want to make progress, you have to have empathy. If you want to have empathy, you have to have love and respect for yourself. And the only way that comes is from intense self reflection.

And I think, I think that one of the best ways that we can get self reflection and empathy is through consuming art that focuses on those things. And so, I don't know, man, this is my, this is my effort, for that purpose, to make people step outside of themselves, that need to, or make people step inside of themselves, that need to, that's not for me to say, all I can do is, all I can do is present the idea, present the scenario and invite people into it, and then hope that they Garner something worthwhile, that benefits their own humanity and then humanity as a whole. In general, I think that's the purpose of any type of music, whether it's about old trucks and cold beer, or whether it's about heartbreak or surviving suicide, or Bruce Springsteen, songs, whatever it is, man, I think that all the best music, the purpose that it is trying to serve, is helping people appreciate and really be present in humanity. That's what I think.

Thomas Mooney  1:07:43  
I want to break one more time to talk about our pals over at Desert door and offer up a quick Thomas Mooney, cocktail minute, as I've said, probably 100 times by now, by no means am I a seasoned mixologist or bartender, but these have been some of my desert door go twos. For starters, let's just go with the tried and true range water, pop the top off the Topo Chico, take a good swig. Now pour in some desert door and top it off by throwing in a few lime wedges never fails. This one. It's so simple. It probably doesn't even count. But again, pretty foolproof. Do the exact same thing, but get you a Mexican Coca Cola. I guess you can go with a regular one. But you're really cutting yourself short if you don't opt for the Mexican import variety. Alright, here's the change up you've been waiting for desert door sangria. This one is prime for when you have company coming over and you aren't wanting to just be over there making six different drinks at a time. What you need is some desert door. Obviously, a bottle of red wine, honey, boiling water, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, some cinnamon sticks, a couple of apples and some thyme sprigs. I know that may sound intimidating, but trust me it's worth the prep. And honestly, it's pretty easy. For starters, get you a Punchbowl, add that honey, those cinnamon sticks and the boiling water together. Now you're going to want to stir that all up and let it cool down for about an hour. So remember, patience is a virtue. Once that's done, add some desert door and stir vigorously. Now add the one the cider and the vinegar and continue stirring until it's equally mixed. Now slice those apples up and toss them in. Put in those times sprigs as well. Now you can pour that over some ice and you have a mighty fine Sangria chef's kiss. Anyway, those have been some of my favorite go twos as of light. And remember desert door is as versatile as vodka and more refined, smooth, complex and intriguing than tequila. It's rich and balanced and Whether you decide to keep it simple or want to experiment, desert door is that perfect Texas spirit. There's plenty more recipes over at Desert as well check out the show notes for a link. All right, let's get back to the episode

you know any of these, these, you know these battlelines that we end up coming across as far as like, I'm on this side, you're on this other side of the fence. When it comes to ideologies, with with politics, it's like we're talking about all the nuances in life. And, you know, it's ended up where like all these conversations just are on social media where there is no nuance. And there's really, you know, it's a blue pill, red pill, it's a zero or one. And it's like, yes or no, and like, that's anyone's opinion has been just put to be in that or this or that. And there's no like, for some reason, there's no room for any kind of discussion. I know. And that's, it's very, very much like this, like, man, we gotta like, you know, I love you know, going on Twitter and saying stupid shit and having fun, but like, man, sometimes I just like, had we not had any of this social media stuff? I don't know, I feel like we would have, we would have found other shit to do with our time, and actually had these conversations.

Evan Bartels  1:11:35  
As the thing, man, it's like, there's a lot of great songwriters who I wish they would, you know, keep writing songs instead of writing fucking tweets. Because I think a song can change somebody's heart can open their spirit can open their mind to thoughts and ideas. You can you can connect with people in a very meaningful way. And I've never seen a snarky tweet talking shit about somebody or saying I know something you don't know, putting people down, saying you're fucking dumb because you believe this, you don't believe this, you don't do that. I don't that just digs, digs people seals in, you know, it divides and Congress, or it's like, music doesn't do that. Music doesn't say, I know, something you don't know, invites us to all be here together and invites us you know, it's just such a much better vehicle for ideas than any social media would be. And you know, and I'm not gonna talk shit on social media, either, you know, I have it, and I use it. But I'm not trying to be a fucking tick tock kid. I just want to take my ideas and my heart and share it for people. If I don't have 50,000 100,000 followers, if I don't get 1000s of likes, then so be it. But you know, maybe it's not for 100,000 people, maybe it's for the 5000 people that do follow me. You know, if a small percentage of those people hear something and go, Man, I have not considered that. But I trust this person. And so I'm going to consider that or I'm going to not be shitty. The next time I'm at a fucking dinner with my uncle who has some batshit ideas. I'm not going to say, Hey, you're a fucking idiot, you asshole. You know, you gotta just, I don't know. There's no empathy in Twitter. You know what I mean? There's just people putting out their ideas to people who already agree with them, and then getting retweets and likes and a bunch of people saying, Yeah, I fuckin agree with you. It's like, we know you guys agree with each other. Nobody's changing anybody's mind on Twitter. So I don't know what it's making me sad with all this shit talkin

Thomas Mooney  1:14:02  
any of the any of this social media stuff has been where? I guess in the the earliest forms it was, it was all meant to be as a tool, right? How do you get these people together? And then get them to actually if we're just going on like just you as a songwriter? How do you form a community where you can take these people on an online place? And then actually make them into fans? How do you get them from just being on the internet to actually getting CDs or going to shows all that kind of stuff? It's the same premise for ideas, or any of the any of your values you're, you're trying like, how do you get the people from just looking at their phone and then getting them into like an actual room for these conversations or to consume art or to consume whatever? And I think like we've gotten lost within that world because we become obsessed and consumed by, you know, the algorithm and how many followers you have, and the you know, the the politics of, of being unfollowed or being followed by someone or you know, all the, the, the, you know, Junior High cafeteria. world if you will.

Evan Bartels  1:15:23  
I know, man. And that's, yeah, that's the thing, that's, that's why I think if you're gonna use social media may, you know we have the power to make things what we want them to be, you know, you get to choose what you're consuming and this all this social media at all, it'll give you whatever you want. So if you start looking for things that are real, and if the stuff that you put on social media, challenge yourself to put something real, but something real into the world, like real humanity, you know, because what, why the fuck are there's so many filters on Instagram, that change your face into flawless perfection? You know, and this bullshit AI it's like, this is all of this is telling us like, be more fake, be more fake? You know? Dude, when I first started getting tattoos, my dad would say I don't need tattoos because I got real scars. And I always thought about that. And I was like, damn, I don't think there's anything wrong with tattoos, I got a shit ton of tattoos. And you know what, Tom, these days after live in and trying to make a fucking living as a songwriting, or as a songwriter for the past 10 years, you know, the reality of that is just doing a lot of whatever you can do to get by, you know, they say, if you're gonna be dumb, you got to be tough. And I've had to be tough for a long time just to make to where I'm at now. And you collect scars with that, too. So I don't want to go on to social media, and cover those scars and those bruises up with a goddamn filter. I want to show people like, this is what I've experienced in my life. Have you felt these things? You know, and it's this, we're living in a world right now, that is trying to glorify perfection. And I'm just not interested in perfection. I'm interested in raw beauty I'm interested in challenging what we see as perfection. You know, it's like, just cut the shit. put something out there that says, this is hard to look at, you know, this is not pretty, this is not beautiful. But you need to see it, you need to be reminded about how beautiful life is when it's not perfect.

Thomas Mooney  1:17:51  
Yeah, no, it's, it's, it's also one of those things where it's, you know, you can relax the shoulders, and when you realize that perfection is not doable, is not achievable, you know, that you don't have to just live up to those standards you can strive for, you know, trying to, to better yourself, as, you know, whatever it is continue like molding that clay but yeah, it's exhausting. You know, trying to achieve that perfection and and, you know, there's some there's some reassurance when when you realize that, you know, everyone is kind of they don't have their shit together, either.

Evan Bartels  1:18:35  
Dad, isn't that crazy? When you reach a point in your life, where you start realizing that just because somebody has hit a certain age does not mean they put their shit together. I remember going as a kid, you think like, oh, well, adults, they can drive and like, do shit. You know, you're an adult. And now that I'm, you know, old, not old, but now that I'm grown and have a family and responsibilities, you look around and you're like, oh, shit, nobody, you don't get to a point where it's just, well, I figured it out now. It's always changing. And it's always adapting and fucking hard to figure shit out. So it's like, I don't know, I don't think there's any good and saying, like, I have all the answers. I know, this is how we should all live. You know, it's like, well, this is how I do it. How do you do it? Is that better? Is this better? You know, put ideas out there. Talk to people. And the converse side of that is if you lie in those conversations, and you gloss over what you really think and you really feel you get a shallow vapid culture follows selfie enthused people trying to show how much better they are than everybody else. I don't know. I don't want any part of that. So that's why this record is what it is. It's I wanted everything to be on purpose. I wanted to lean into difficult things, and present them in a beautiful way. But not take away from the substance of what it is, you know, maybe it's not for everybody, but if it's not, it's not. It's for those who need it. It's there for whoever wants it.

Thomas Mooney  1:20:22  
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, Evan, it's been a pleasure talking this afternoon about all this stuff.

Evan Bartels  1:20:31  
I agree, man. You're cool fucking guy. I'll be honest, I I'm looking at our timer now. And I think I forgot that we were doing a podcast about 40 minutes ago, so it's fun to talk

Thomas Mooney  1:21:02  
Alright, that's it. For this one. Be sure to check out lonesome. The latest record by Evan Bartels, go check out our presenting partners over at Desert door blue light live and Charlie's stock photography. Be sure to go over and preorder the Lubbock way, my debut book. And yeah, I'll see y'all next week for more episodes of new slang

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