Roll It on Home
"Roll It On Home" is a country homage, but it feels pretty authentic.
That's a great example. The temptation was to pick up a Telecaster and go for it, but I discovered when I did that it became parody. Instead I used my '64 Strat and rolled off the treble. If you notice, there is no real twang in my sound on that track. Once I stopped trying to imitate the country sound in a literal way, it became cowboy boots with denim, not an over-the-top Nudie suit. The idea was to get the music to sort of buff out the message of the song, which is this comfy arm around you, amber scotch haze sort of thing.
Tina Fey once said when a joke goes too far, writers refer to it as "a hat wearing a hat." I think about that all the time. At its core, a song like "Roll It On Home" already evokes J.J. Cale or the Eagles, so if you put a twang on it, it's a hat wearing a hat. My challenge was how to subvert what I was doing just enough to keep it real and in my world. The song could've been a joke, but I think I found a way of sidestepping that.
Another interesting thing about that song that makes it different is that the drum track — which is played by the legendary Jim Keltner —is actually from a different song! If you listen carefully, the cymbal crashes, fills and ride cymbals happen a lot of times completely off the bar line, and it makes the whole track fun and weird because it has this strange lope. It gave the song a bit of that asymmetry I was looking for.