|(Irene Kelley/Claire Lynch)
I had the privilege of meeting Claire when I was working on a record project for MCA in 1989. I had been such a fan for years and she was coming to the studio to sing on the record. I couldn’t have been more excited if Elvis were coming.We have since become good friends and co-writers. On the day we wrote “Highway”, it was my turn to drive to Claire’s house in Hazel Green, Alabama. I had lots of inspiration out there on I- 65 South!
|If I Had Any Strength At All|
|(Irene Kelley/Mark Irwin)
Mark and I have written tons of songs through the years. We’ve tried many different styles but we always come back to what we love and what works for us. A simple country song about love and loss with a clean and steady groove.
Scotty put some wonderful guitar work on this one and it reminded me of something Emmy Lou and Gram Parsons would have recorded. I wanted to get a “Hot Band” alum to put a magical harmony part on this song and that’s exactly what Rodney Crowell did. It’s a real thrill for me to have him on this record!
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|Cold All The Time|
| ( Irene Kelley/Bill Anderson)
When you live in Nashville, you see celebrities everywhere. But I wasn’t expecting to meet Bill Anderson at 8 a.m. in front of the Hermitage, Tn. post office. What else could I say but, “it’s great to meet you and would like to write a song with me”?! We got together several weeks later and we were tossing ideas around. I told Bill about a tour of New England I had just come back from during which I caught a terrible case of the “flu”. I said the only thing I remember was feeling cold all the time. Bill lit up and said, “There’s our song”. It wasn’t too hard to draw from personal experience or to trust the direction of a country music legend.
|Somebody Let The Water In|
|(Irene Kelley/Billy Crane)
Trisha Yearwood invited me to open one of her shows again and this time to kick off her tour in the city of New Orleans. I had heard about the city being below sea level and they have to bury folks above ground, pile up sand bags and constantly battle the threat of flooding. The nightlife was also something to see. Being from a small town in PA, I was ready to go. After the show, to a standing room only crowd, I ventured down Bourbon Street. It was really fun until I saw two prostitutes about my daughters’ ages. I thought, “Maybe they need to let the water IN”! Billy Crane knew what I was talking about and he brought in the biblical reference to Noah’s Ark in the second verse and much more.
I really do hope they invite me back to “Naw-lins”. The food is awesome!
|(Irene Kelley/Billy Smith)
Billy came over to my house one morning with his 4-string guitar, a really haunting chord progression and the line “fly through me like thunderbird”. When he shared this much with me he was almost embarrassed and said he wasn’t really sure what he meant. And I said “Billy, I know exactly what you mean!...so what does that say about me”? We both laughed and 2 hours later we had our song.
Billy and I also wrote “Never Lookin Back” from my first record, “Simple Path”. The title of that record is found in the lyric. “Thunderbird” is the perfect title for this album as I have always been drawn to Native American’s spirituality and their reverence for nature and its natural order.
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|My Sun And Moon|
| (Irene Kelley/Lisa Aschmann)
When my first daughter Justyna, was born I thought, “Oh, so this is how it’s done”! Wrong! Two years later along came Sara Jean and she blew me out of the water. These two were as different as night and day and they are the center of my world. I started to refer to them as “my sun and moon”. Lisa being an astrophysicist, a songwriter and more importantly a mom, who else could I write this with!
|Big Girl Now|
| (Irene Kelley/Bernie/Nelson)
After 15 years of co-writing, Bernie knew to save this idea for me. I had a melody I was being haunted by so… We both knew this would be an epic tale and I drew from a lot of personal experiences; the bike, the bad boy and baking stuff from my mom’s recipes. She always had her hands full with me and now its payback time with my two teens! Bernie suggested the ‘ring-around-the rosy’ on the demo and I was so endeared to it that it appears on this record. Claire and I had a blast doing the little girls voices and giggled like school girls between takes.
|Burn Down The House|
| ( Irene Kelley/Rand Bishop)
I find lots of song ideas from books. In particular, “The Love of Your Life” talks of the extremes of feeling cold and alone to jumping into a relationship and ‘burning down the house’. A great big “ah ha”! and a cool little chord progression had Rand & I off and running with metaphors of passion found and the fear of its power. With a sultry tear in his voice, Jon Randall makes this track a stand out!
|Might Unbreak My Heart|
|(Irene Kelley/ Trent Summar)
I arrived at Trent’s that morning with a melody and he had the title. After realizing I was living the story, the lyrics came easily and straight from the heart.
|Comin’ Back From The Moon|
| (Irene Kelley)
Well, what goes up must come down and boy oh boy can it smart! I thought, “What would Steve Earle do”?
| ( Irene Kelley/Billy Yates)
Billy and I were deciding on what to write about and he made the comment that he would really like to write something real. I reluctantly took out half a chorus of “I Pray” and said, “This one may be a bit too real”. He loved it so we dug into it in. Billy remained a pal and a pro as I went through several Kleenex’s. This is the story of my struggle with the aftermath of divorce. In the wee hours of the morning, the only hope is God.