Last Friday saw the release of a new single from Texan born and raised Kayla Ray, an artist we introduced you to a while back (https://www.bellesandgals.com/2019/08/08/introducing-kayla-ray/) and who some of you may have seen play over here in the UK last year when she toured with her good friend Erin Enderlin.
” Good Enough For Me” is the first of what she is calling her ” Bedroom Tape Quarantine Recordings “, a song she describes as ” a loner’s lament and a desperate longing to be able to move again ” …very appropriate and relatable to many of course at the moment. The dreamy ballad highlights what thoughtful, poetic lyricist she is, her vocals are stunningly beautiful as always and there’ s some gorgeous harmonies too along with atmospheric steel, both courtesy of her musical collaborator Chris D. Schlotzhauer , or ” Slotzy” as he is affectionately known by many on the Texan circuit.
We caught up with Kayla to find out a bit more about the inspiration and recording process behind this release, which started life some months ago when she was in the process of leaving Texas and actually moving her home base for the first time, something which was weighing heavy on her mind. But there’s moments of levity too, just envisaging the McDonalds parking lot incident she tells about towards the end of this piece had me in stitches! Here’s what she told us…she’s a really deep thinker and it is definitely reflected here!
Leaving Texas and Writing The Song …
” I actually started this song last fall when I was leaving Texas for Missouri, but I only had the first verse. I genuinely thought it was the chorus! I hadn’t lived long enough to be given the rest of the song yet I suppose. I subleased an apartment in Springfield with the thought that it was cheap and in the middle of the country to lessen some tour expenses. This and i desperately needed a change of scenery. I knew a few goodhearted musicians there, a few great venues and I had a minivan so I figured out that was reason enough to go. But I was fearful. …..although I’ve spent the majority of my time travelling around the country I’ve never really shifted my home base. My Grandfather was still living at the time, I had my hindrances about leaving him and felt nearly sacrilegious having my name on a lease anywhere other than Texas! But I felt compelled to go, I needed new and it was a call I could no longer ignore.
As I was leaving Texas right around dusk I drove past the big casino on the Oklahoma state line, just as I had many times before, but this time it felt different….both daunting and cleansing. I was listening to Guy Clark’s ” Old No. 1″ album and recalled how he began ” Desperado’s Waiting For A Train” right in the smack middle of a sentence and thought it might be nice to pay him some homage ( without ripping him off!!) in this verse. This whole album would become my biggest confidant during this chapter of my life.
So I moved, I toured, I wrote, I played. I learned to love solitude, and I toyed with this chorus thing I had about the longing for home and the explanation for my departure but with no real fruit.
And then, the shutdown happened.
I was shocked, shattered, clueless, without direction, and left with a foot nailed to the floor as we all have been.
After a few weeks I found myself doing what I naturally do in times of confusion. I listened to the writers and the records that have moulded my sanity. ..Gram Parsons, Merle Haggard, Jimmie Rogers and old gospel songs.
I realised that all three refused to stop creating regardless of circumstance. The reminder of this bravery helped me finish this song. I wanted it to be like an offering to those who have come before me, and this is why I worked to hide bits and pieces of them throughout.”
Working With Slotzy….
“I look up to Slotzy so much. He played steel for Jason Eady back when i was travelling with them ( as tour manager) ..he takes no shit and he taught me to do the same. He never let me get away with being a ‘ Chick Singer’. I kept in touch with Slotzy and his dear wife Sue after I left the Eady camp. I go to their place often and have many late evening with them on their back porch listening to vinyl and talking ( maybe drinking) til sun up. One of these nights we were listening yet again to Guy Clark’s ” Desperados Waiting On A Train” and in this precious moment i realised Slotzy is my version of Guy’s hero Jack in that tune. Although we’d toured the country together in MY van playing MY records I felt just like a kid running behind in the dust to catch up…our lives really are like ‘ some old western movie’.
I knew right then i wanted him to play on something of this nature with me and when this song found its way, i thought it would be perfect. This of course is the reason I call the Slotzy for the solo, like Guy would call for Jack about the passing of time. ‘ Come on Slotzy, that son of a bitch is coming’ ….it’s a flagrant profanity but it’s important to me that it be there.
Recording The Song During Lockdown ……
With so much downtime throughout quarantine I though I might try and expand my noggin a little so i bought some recording hardware and a large diaphragm condenser mic from a guy in a Mc Donald’s parking lot . The transaction was crazy…it was raining and the dude hadn’t even bothered to take it off the giant folding arm stand he had it fixed to. He handed me the whole contraption in a friggin downpour. I ran and just threw it in my van hoping to keep it dry. It’s a wonder it works at all!
So far I’ve pretty much only learned how to stop and start the thing so what you hear is just one mic with myself and my guitar all in one pass. I sent this to Slotzy and I believe what he did is beautiful. I am so very thankful to have a piece of his work forever on this track, and so thankful to get to share it.
I plan to release a few other tunes of this nature while we are all locked away. I do have plans for another studio album as well but I’m waiting for the correct approach concerning this.
In the meantime though I feel very strongly about continuing to create and i’m thankful to have a platform where I can do so.
‘ Oh I’ll miss the Red River Valley,
I’ll miss all the cotton fields and home.
I’ll miss the arms of a man that I’d come to know
Gentle, kind, loving and warm.
But everywhere I look all the things they seem to age
Theres’s no tomorrow for which to call my own
And, If I can move faster than the time she will not catch me
I’ll be just another memory to hold’