Song: Alone & Crying
Album: 12 Bars
Lyrics: Chris Holm, Casie Siekman
Music: The Fattenin’ Frogs
The Story Behind the Song – Alone & Crying
Chris says – When the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack came out 12 years ago, my Dad and I really bonded musically over it. One of the songs we used to play and sing together a lot was I Am Weary, Let Me Rest. When The Fattenin’ Frogs started I wanted to write a more country folk sounding song so I set out to try and emulate the feeling of that song. Casie Siekman had just joined the band and I wanted to have something for her to sing on and so I came up with the idea of making the new song I was working on into a duet. I decided to write the song from two different perspectives – a husband and wife who were separated and feeling abandoned from each other. I took the theme of death of a loved one from I Am Weary, and also was subtly influenced by the story in Leadbelly’s song, In the Pines. I came up with the idea that the husband died while working on the road and that the wife never finds out about his death. She believes he abandoned her and he believes she doesn’t miss him because she never visits his grave. Casie wrote the lyrics from the perspective of the wife and I wrote the lyrics from the perspective of the husband. I had been listening to a lot of Carl Perkins at the time and as we started playing through the song together, his song, Sure to Fall, highly influenced the vocal melody and singing style I came up with.
Because the style of the song didn’t fit well with what we were doing in our live show early on, we didn’t play the song live very often and when we did, it always took on sort of a different style and feel. When Casie left the band, Amanda Awend took over the female role. As we were recording our album, “12 Bars”, Mark suggested we should finally get this song finalized and recorded because it would be a nice change of pace to put an old time country song on the album. I tracked all the string instruments at home and then had Amanda and myself lay down vocal tracks in the studio. I had always felt the song was a little too long with two male and two female verses, so I decided to try and overlay the second male verse over the top of the second female verse based off an idea I had heard in an old country song at some point. But since I had not yet edited down the length of the song, I decided to try putting a harmonica solo over the now empty verse. I ended up liking the harmonica solo so much that I left it in there. Paul then had the idea to add Tuba to give it a bit of New Orleans flair on the choruses. So we brought in Tara Davis to put some Tuba in and then Mark added some simple drums to give the song its final touches.