Sometimes, a particular place can be a treasure trove of musical inspiration. Whenever you spend time there, or even just think about it, you come up with a great new idea for a song.

For me, one of those places is my parents’ mini farm in the outskirts of Hillsborough, NC. It’s a beautiful property: there’s pastures and trees, old farm buildings, a creek and two little ponds, and lots of wildlife. I spent many fall, winter, and spring breaks from college wandering the property, gathering ideas, and songwriting. Nowadays, I’m still a frequent visitor, and I wrote three out of four of my newest songs there.

Certain spots on the property directly inspired songs – I saw or experienced something there, then I wrote a song about it. Other spots just gave me a peaceful and distraction-free place to write about something totally unrelated.

In this month’s Monthly Music Video, I take you on a tour of a few of these inspirational places. I’ll tell you which song they inspired, and tell you more about the story behind the lyrics.



Wanna know more about the songs mentioned in the video? Here are some links to audio files, videos, and lyrics:

“First Kiss”

“Sally’s Song”

  • I don’t have a video or a recording with the cello part, but here’s the first rough demo of Sally’s song:

I came here skinny, patchy, and scrappy
With burrs and spider webs caught in my fur
I came here half-starved, freezing, and tired
Meowing my desperation at your door

You gave me canned tuna and I was grateful
You made me a bed in the back of the barn
And after some time you found me beautiful
You started to think that we could get along

That I’d come when you called
That strange sounding new name that’s not mine
That I’d sit in your lap or I’d sleep
Curled cozy and content at
The foot of your bed

But I’ve been handed down
Passed on like a present no one really wants to keep
So I’ve already learned
Not to trust the hand that feeds me

Now we’ve been spending so much time together
And I happily let you touch me sometimes
But you still can’t believe I startle so easy
Still can’t believe I won’t come any closer

I’ve been kicked, I’ve been caged
So I bolt at the first sound of stomping
Or the touch of two hands. I retreat
To a low, dark place with strong walls
And no easy way in

I may close my eyes and purr now
I may squirm with pleasure when you touch my cheek
But I’ve already learned
Not to trust the hand that loves me

So I keep my claws out
And I sharpen my teeth
But most importantly, I keep my legs strong
So I’m always ready to leave

“Swimming Pool”

“Garden Spider”

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

If you’re a fellow songwriter: is there a place that never stops giving you ideas? Or simply somewhere that gives you perfect songwriting environment? Tell me about it in the comments.

Or, if you’re music fan, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the video. What was your favorite place? Did any of the place and song combos surprise you?

Thank you so much for reading and watching!

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