We Danced Anyway
Some people aren’t aware that there were two versions of the album ‘Did I Shave My Legs For This?’ There’s the original version (the first version) that I co-produced with Jimmy Bowen who signed me to Capitol Records. It was very different from the current version that you guys are familiar with, since it was only released in Europe around ’94. The production was very different and very much more pop-centric… Lots of lush orchestration and beautiful instrumentation. The European version contains about half the songs that are on the current version here in America. Pretty wild, huh?
I had been writing for a couple of years for Bowen and was determined to record & produce my own songs, which he was supportive of & a large reason why he signed me in the first place. It was a very exciting experience. After recording at Emerald Studios in Nashville, I got to live in the UK for a brief period of time, in the flats next to Abbey Road Studios, where we mastered the project. I approached Bowen about touring overseas before the US, so I could hone my skills and work out any kinks in my performances before being on home turf. He encouraged me to propose this to Charles Koppelman, who was the head of everything ‘Capitol’ at the time, so I did. Mr. K actually thought it was a great idea, hence giving us the green light to go that route. After that, and a few regional promotional visits with a dear Capitol International rep…I flew over solo, with just my guitar & a suitcase, was picked up by ‘Ian, the tour manager’ & whisked to a London rehearsal hall. From there, the full tour ensued with an all British band in the UK (with Jimmy Nail) and a few other European markets. I was in my mid/late 20’s & had busted booty for a decade to finally get there & it was exciting! For me, it was the wild frontier!
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, the subject song for this week’s blog, ‘We Danced Anyway’, was not on that original album. Nearing the end of this UK experience, Capitol let Bowen go, a few different label heads flailed around the company, leaving my album project up in the air, and I was actually dropped from the label….for about a day….literally. I went to the head of the EMI company in the UK, especially after spending investing so much time with them over there, to explain what was happening & how devastated I was. After all the years of writing, waiting, and the large investment that I was liable for, I offered to move to UK and move forward with the UK division. They put pressure on the Nashville guys, since ‘country’ was not their forte at the time…or even roots music of any kind at that time…& my record was more of a pop/Americana album, so they pressured Capitol Nashville to keep me. After seeing one of the videos I had done for the UK, Scott Hendricks (who had taken the reigns at Capitol) saw something unique in me & relented, on the basis that we would record some new songs. I reluctantly agreed. He also wanted to bring in a different co-producer, so we brought Chris Farren on board to help with some new tracks & to help match new mixes of old ones. We were on an extensive & sometimes heated, song search to get his back on track. I was adamant that ANY outside material we found, if any…would HAVE to be unique & different from the norm at the time & something that I had ‘lived.’ It was unheard of & against the grain back then for a new artist, especially a female, to both write & co-produce her own music! But, I stuck to my guns. (I could write a book about that whole process from that album to the one you know today, but I’ll save that for another time!) 🙂
After being presented song after song that felt cliché and unauthentic to me, I found two songs, that if I didn’t write them, I wished I would have & they felt like they just ‘fit’ me & my life.
They were penned by Matraca Berg (& Randy Scruggs/Gary Harrison), who I was a fan of.
I LOVED them & presented them to the label. Those 2 songs were ‘We Danced Anyway’ & ‘Strawberry Wine’.
And, let me tell you….they were very ‘alt’ for mid/late 90’s radio. VERY artistic & wonderful. Strawberry Wine had already been passed on by a couple of the major females at the time! But again, I stood firm as an artist & wanting a sound that stood out &….with Capitol’s support, voila! We finished the ‘Did I Shave My a Legs For This?’ album you know today! What an amazing journey of teamwork & some of the strongest lessons of my life, that are still being lived out. And, I am so very grateful for ALL of it!
So….’We Danced Anyway’ lyrically is really about being in the moment & soaking it up. It’s about enjoying the rhythm of what’s happening, in spite of being able to understand it at times. It’s about letting go of control so that you don’t miss the beautiful….the simple….the Blessings!
I am still learning how to live like this……learning to ‘Dance Anyway’. And God has proven to be faithful in reiterating & resonating the same beautiful message. Don’t “miss the forest for the trees”. Don’t worry about tomorrow when He knows you intimately & what you need (Matthew 6:25-33). Through Christ we are given the freedom to lighten up & love & laugh…..to enjoy where we’re at, in spite of what we don’t understand…..to keep the Faith!
Just like the journey of this song…..diligence & a deep commitment to integrity, authenticity & perseverance are key in knowing who you are & where you’re headed. Every single day I ask God about those things. Take the time to LEARN who God created you to be & what He wants you to do & be willing to dance your way through it. He LOVES you & He’s an amazing partner!
Have a Blessed week!