Pierce Pettis – That Kind of LoveThat Kind of Love on the Compass label. "I think this album is more song-centered," says Pierce Pettis about his ninth release. "We were far more focused on making the album about the songs rather than the other way around. Each track feels quite unique to me and stands solidly on its own."
That Kind of Love was four years in the making. Having the advantage of time on his side allowed Pettis’ songs the room to grow and mature while he played them live. "I think that sets this album apart from my previous ones," he says. "I’m hoping the listeners will notice the difference."
The timeframe also assisted Pettis with song selection. "The intervening four years pushed some songs to the surface over time, while others fell back . . . sort of a ‘survival of the fittest.’ So the songs that ended up on the album pretty much chose themselves," he explains.
Pettis’ albums, like his live shows, are peppered with judiciously selected cover arrangements as well. And many of those cover tracks are given their trials out on the road, before making the cut or not. For instance, Pettis worked on the arrangement for 3esse Winchester’s "Talk Memphis" for over a year before even playing it live. "And then when I did start playing the song," say Pettis, "it got smoother, more relaxed, more confident over time." Both that track and "Nothing But the Wind" written by the late Mark Heard had strong associations for Pettis. "Both (Winchester and Heard) are heroes to me," he admits. "Not just as songwriters, but as human beings."
Two of the self-penned tracks that mean the most to Pettis are "I Am Nothing" and "Farewell". The first, he explains, "was inspired by Don Dunaway, a superb singer/songwriter who has labored in obscurity at a small tourist bar in Florida for over 30 years. The second is the story of my great, great, great grandmother and is dedicated to my mother and my daughter."
One additional track that Pettis is particularly happy to see on this record is "To Dance", a song he co-wrote with an old college friend, Greta Larson. "This is a song I’d had for many years and always believed was very special. Yet, for the longest time, I couldn’t seem to convince anyone else of it’s worth. That’s probably because I hadn’t come up with an arrangement that could really get the song across. When I finally did, I tried it out live at the Bluebird in Nashville (sharing a writer’s night with Buddy Monlock, Darrell Scott, and Tim O’Brien @ three of the best!) and it brought the house down. That’s when I knew it was time to record it."
That Kind of Love features many guest artists who have appeared on Pettis’ past recordings. Stuart Duncan (fiddle, banjo), Andrea Zonn (background vocals, strings), Reese Wynans (Hammond B3), Phil Madeira (Hammond B3, accordion), Kenny Malone (drums, percussion), Byron House (bowed acoustic bass), and Garry West (electric bass) who also produced the album. West, co-owner of Compass Records, also brought in some artists who were new to Pettis’ music: local singer-songwriters Katie Herzig and Jeremy Lister (backing vocals), Rob McNelley (lead and slide guitar), Todd Phillips (acoustic bass) and Russ Pahl (pedal steel, electric guitar).
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