As you know, almost all of the songs we write tell stories. We want to share those stories with you. Just as we did for our first two records (see the stories behind the songs on our first CD 13 and the songs on our second CD Again), we’ll post the story behind each song on our new CD now more than ever here for you to read. The plan is to feature one song each week for the next few weeks.
Here is the story behind Since You’ve Been Gone as related by Clark Hansbarger.
The song “Since You’ve Been Gone”
Since You Been Gone is one of those songs that came to me nearly complete, like I had grabbed it directly out of the air. This happens sometimes, and when it does, I stop whatever else I might be doing and head straight to a corner to write it all down…quickly…furiously..now…fearful that the words might stop before I get them all down.
This is a “love has flown the coop” song originally titled “Alone Again.” Someone close to me had recently gone through a breakup, and we were talking about it, so my mind was on the subject.
I pictured a guy stuck in place, because that’s how such loss often feels, a sort of temporary paralysis. I put him in a chair in front of a window looking out on the street, and then proceeded from there with a standard (even formulaic) pop song structure—three movements or verses with a bridge after the second verse.
At the time I wrote the song, I was taking some theory lessons from a fine guitarist in Winchester named Leon Harris, trying to tone up my jazz and country lead playing. I brought the song to him, and we jammed around with it. He put some lovely lead lines and transitions in, and we decided to record it for fun.
A Disclaimer: I was not cheating on The Bitter Liberals, just doing a little side exploration…which, I suppose, in a marriage, would be called cheating!
Anyway, I called Donnie Walton, an incredible keyboard player who works some with Poetown Studios in Front Royal, and we set up a time. During one long evening, we recorded a cool version of the song with Leon on lead, Donnie on Hammond organ, Dominic Valentine on bass, Gary Peacemaker on drums, and the talented Chuck Williams on the board.
Though that version is very different from the one on now more than ever, it helped me establish the right feel for the song.
When I brought the song to The Bitter Liberals, the guys latched on with their usual vigor and talent, and created a lovely vocal arrangement for the harmonies, which—coupled with the Gary’s bluesy violin—now defines the song. Nick and Micheal developed a fine bottom, giving it a Beatles-like tempo in spots. The song then ends with a long, exuberant jam where Allen cranks into some of my favorite lead playing.
This song is a particularly fun one to do live because of the four part harmonies and the back and forth between the blues-based verses and the rock-and-roll chorus. I love the bass on this one. Michael does some lovely runs throughout, and then he proceeds to drive us home at the end during Allen’s lead.
So, as sad and pathetic as the song starts out, it ends with too much energy to be very mournful.
Here is a video of Since You’ve Been Gone from our CD release gig at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville.
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