Lizzy McAvoy On Songwriting With UK Country Stars, The Shires
Hey Audient Fans! Lizzy McAvoy here!
I’m so excited to be back writing to you again. If we haven’t met yet through the world wide web, I am the proud owner of an Audient ASP4816. I have a fun video series that you can find on the Audient website.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee! I remember my first trips to Music City. My parents and I would be sitting in small clubs and cafes immersed in the incredible songwriting and starstruck by the talent. One of my favorite things was hearing the songwriters tell their stories. Not only through their prolific songs, but the stories behind the songs. The moments that happened to create that body of work; the failures, the triumphs and the sheer dumb luck that made their song rise to the top.
Like all things in the music business, it’s all about the journey and this was just the beginning of mine.
I remember thinking as a young girl how much I wanted to be like them. Playing songs that other artists deemed cool enough to be on their record and then to tell the story behind it. Well folks, that dream came true and here’s my story behind the song 🙂
This story begins in March of 2014.
I was playing a writers round at a local pub called Belcourt Taps in Nashville. A very sweet guy named Ben Earle approached me after the show and complimented me on a song I played that night called Cut Me Loose. He said he and his band mate were a new duo from the UK called The Shires. They would be cutting their debut record soon and releasing it back in the UK. He felt my song would be a good fit for the record. He asked if I would have any interest in pitching them my song. I said absolutely and I emailed them the next day.
Ben sang a line and we both looked at each other. We achieved the goosebump moment.
A few weeks went by and they passed on Cut Me Loose. They loved the song, but it just didn’t work for this project. Like all things in the music business, it’s all about the journey and this was just the beginning of mine. The Shires released their first record entitled ‘Brave’ in February 2015.
Ben and I stayed in touch
…and in 2016, I received an email from him saying he and Crissie were headed to Nashville to write for their second record and would I have any interest in writing with him. I said absolutely! So Ben and I got together and wrote two songs that day. Both of those songs had potential for the record, but again, didn’t make the final cut. The Shires second record is entitled ‘My Universe’.
Fast forward a year to 2017 …
…and I receive yet another email from Ben. The Shires were headed back across the pond for another writing trip, this time for their third record. Ben joked and said, “Third time’s a charm!”
We wrote together at my studio. At first, we were a little stumped; but some songs need a little coaxing to spread their wings. Ben, being the incredible piano player that he is, began playing a beautiful progression on the 1909 upright piano I have in my studio. Our song found her wings and began to take form. It felt special, but …was it special enough? That’s what Ben and I kept asking each other.
We were going back and forth; trying to find that perfect combination. We both knew this song was worth fighting for. There was more to this song than just some quick words thrown onto the page. All of a sudden, Ben sang a line and we both looked at each other. We achieved the goosebump moment. The line was perfect! And the line just so happened to be our hook and our title.
Ben and I sat there playing the song down a few times and thinking,
“Wow! Did we really just land on something special?”
In my opinion, that first work tape you get the day you write the song is usually magic. It’s raw, it’s emotional and it’s fresh on your mind. So Ben and I knew we needed to get something laid down that Ben could take back to the UK with him.
I mic’d up the upright piano with my Earthworks PM40 Piano Mic and ran the pair through 2 channels on the Audient ASP4816. We grabbed a piano track in one pass. Ben added his vocal singing through my Mojave 200. (If you haven’t heard his voice yet, prepare yourself! It’s AWESOME!)
…that first work tape you get the day you write the song is usually magic. It’s raw, it’s emotional and it’s fresh on your mind.
Over my 10 or so years in music, I have found that I have better success with songs when I’ve done a ‘glorified worktape’. Just taking that extra 20-30 minutes to grab a better quality recording usually pays off in the end. This time was definitely one of those cases.
So to conclude my story… 🙂
Ben was right. Third time was a charm. The Shires cut our song Speechless which you can hear on their upcoming record, Accidentally On Purpose – out 20th April 2018.
To anyone who took the time to read my story: thank you. And please, never give up. This song was four years and three records in the making. So believe in your craft, your voice and keep making great music.
Until next time….