“Tyler, Texas” was born on the outdoor patio of Pinewood Social, a trendy cocktails and bowling hangout overlooking the Cumberland River, just southeast of downtown Nashville.
It was August, hot, muggy. Maybe 9pm or so. My friend, country music journalist, Annie Reuter, and I were just sitting down after catching a few songs at the famed Ryman Auditorium, when our young waitress stepped up.
“Hey guys,” she said, somewhat detached. “My name is Tiffany. I’ll be your server tonight. What can I get you?”
We ordered a few oddly-named, wildly-colored umbrella drinks, and resumed chatting. Annie moved to Nashville from New York City nearly a decade prior with nary a friend or job prospect in sight. In the intervening years, she’d made Music City her home, and spent time with all of the genre’s biggest stars, and written for all of the top outlets.
The road to Heaven is paved with a song.
I made small talk with our young waitress when she returned with our drinks.
“So where are you from, Tiffany?”
“Tyler, Texas,” she said, straightfaced.
“Tiffani from Tyler, Texas!?” I asked incredulously. “That’s too good. The alliteration!”
“Huh, I never really thought of it,” she said.
“He’s totally going to write a song about you,” Annie deadpanned.
At 2:25 pm the next day, the demo was recorded on my phone.
It was a hymn, of sorts, to anyone who’d left home to find out who they really are. Which is pretty much anyone I’ve ever known or loved. It’s the Hero’s Journey: Odysseus, Pippin, Luke Sywalker. It’s Annie, Tiffani, and me.
A few days later at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, the guys and I decided we should start with “Tiffani.”
“We’re starting off with Tiffani from Tyler, Texas,” guitarist Will McFarlane said. “God bless her.”
Within an hour, we had a keeper take, complete with drums, bass, rhythm and lead guitars.
Over the course of the next three months, aided and abetted by engineer and guitarist, Jeff Berner, cellist, Patrick Riley, and singer, Casey Shea, we assembled 2:28 of pure, alternative country pop.