McKinnon’s Track: Casey Ashton Threads Small-Town Troops Over Big-City Chard

How to hack Erykah Badu end up in a country single?

Okay, so the neo-soul “On and On” singer isn’t really back in a surprising context, but Casey Ashton’s first radio single, “Dates in Pickup Tracks,” bears some resemblance to Badu. Chuck up to Ashton’s Slinky, back-to-beat phrases; Syncopated drum programming of recordings; And his claim at the end of the opening verse – “You know exactly where my phone is / Call” – which inadvertently recalls Badu’s dismissal order, “You better call Tyron Ca-All.”

Ashton grew up in the country music of a rural community in southwestern Colombia, Md., California. But he was not genre-exclusive.

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McCain threads small-town trops on big-city chard in 'Track: Casey Ashton's Pickup Truck Date'

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“I naturally sing behind the beat which I grew up hearing,” Ashton said. “Because we not only played classical country in my house, we also played soul music. Really, I categorize her as a woman of power – like a woman who would throw shit out of you if she heard you. That’s what we were hearing. “

“Dates in Pickup Tracks” is a much milder story than history, a plot inspired by Ashton’s grandparents, Carl and Juanita Meisenheimer. Juanita, smiling happily, told Ashton in a phone call that she had packed a dinner and went on a romantic nostalgic ride with Carl, getting off their truck down the back road in central Missouri. It was a cheap night in a town with a few entertainment options and it was an experience that Ashton himself knew.

But he also knew that “Dates in Pickup Tracks” needed some tailgate thinking, so he kept the title until he had an appointment to write with Luke Laird (“AA,” “Tequila Little Time”) and David Garcia (ie). Saved to be at Garcia’s studio in Nashville’s Berry Hill neighborhood, “” drinking alone “). “I had the headline, and I knew they would be the ones who would write with it that it doesn’t look like ‘my tractor is green, and my cow is going to die,'” he said with a smile. “I knew they would be the ones who could make it fresh.”

He hoped they would resist the title, although they did their best to hide their suspicions when he floated it. “For the last five years, anytime someone says, ‘Pickup truck,’ in a co-op, everyone just rolls their eyes,” Layard said. “But the way he did it, I was, ‘It sounds great. I don’t care.’ We’ve just started talking about where he grew up, and I mean, it’s very similar to how I grew up in Pennsylvania. “

They fit his idea into a counterintuitive musical foundation. Garcিয়ারa had a hip-hop-sloping percussion track, and Laird used a 1963 nylon-string Martin guitar to make a breakthrough in harmonics of major-seventh and minor-seventh, essentially connecting the small-town story to the big-city chord. By “It sounds more jazz to me if you break it,” Ashton said. “It’s not just GAD, GAD.”

In fact, it denies the value of music theory without being fixed on the original jay of the original signature. Progress dances around that tonic, but avoiding it, creates an excitement that is not completely resolved. “I’m a huge Babyface fan,” says Laird. “It looks like it might fit into that world.”

They took a fairly classic approach, creating conversational verses that emphasize the monotony and lack of opportunity in a one-stoplight town. They contrasted with the more optimistic, single chorus that embraced smaller forms of good-time escapism, including a “small sampin ‘, a sonic cup sampin”, another instance of “pickup tracks” otherwise creating a new spin clich. Image.

“It simply came to our notice then. That’s what he did, ”Laird says.“ Actually, my wife [Creative Nation co-founder/CEO Beth Laird], I understand that he was from Winchester. – Pour a little, some into a sonic cup. ‘ So if you pull up to a sonic on a Friday night and the kids are there, [they’re] It’s not just strawberry lime. “

Meanwhile, the line “You know exactly where my phone is / Call it” helped Ashton get a tip he chose from visiting the Cardi B Talent competition judge. “Someone was rapping, [and] He goes, ‘Where are your quotes?’ “Ashton remembers.” He likes, “Girls want quotes for Instagram captions.” And I was, ‘Ooooh, S-T.’ You have to think that way. ”

Garcia oversaw the basic music when they created the demo that day, mostly applying programmed elements around Layard’s original nylon-string guitar. “One of the things David really liked was the baseline of this song,” Layard said. “It’s not just the typical 808 base that many songs have now. It’s like a synth pit, which may be on Michael Jackson’s record.

Before it ends, the three writers have a rich harmony. “All ri-ight, all ri-ightSome of Garcia’s programming and background hook with nylon-string guitar that remained in the final recording. They sent the tracks to other Nashville musicians who added their own parts, including Derek Wells’ electric guitar solo and additional Brian Sutton acoustic elements. Aston requested Steel Guitar to provide an atmospheric sonic blanket and offset the track’s R&B trends.

Ashton sang it in the tour opening for Maren Morris in 2019 and Jordan Davis in 2020 and it stood out very clearly on the set. “My DM will meet every night, [asking], ‘What is the song “Pickup Truck”?’ “She is OK.

Originally, Interscope / MCA Nashville planned to release its first radio unit in early 2020, but COVID-19 complicated its ability to personally support it, with the label “Pickup Tracks” planning for a single unit until it was finally released on country radio. . 4 February PlayMPE. Mike Dungan Laird, president / CEO of Universal Music Group, asked if there were any changes he thought could help it win over programmers, and they remixed it without the guitar alone.

“Until now [my] On the radio tour, when I tell them the song is two minutes and 45 seconds long, they’re thrilled, “said Ashton. “And I like how it happens because you don’t get a break to think. It stops playing, and you go, ‘Oh, I have to play it again.’ “

Ashton restores the guitar solo when he plays it live, and he also retains that whole badu-ish, back-to-the-beat phrase, creating a challenge for the band. “My guitarist knows the rhythm. Be as stubborn as possible, ”he says. “You hold on tight and just let me dance.”

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