Americana Highways is hosting this premiere of Grace Morrison ‘s song “Put the Bottle Down,” from her forthcoming album Daughter. The album was produced by Jon Evans at the Studio at Brick Hill, mastered by John Mailloux at Bongo Beach Productions with album photography by Corinna Raznikov and graphic design by Paula Mailloux.
“Put the Bottle Down” is Grace Morrison on vocals, background vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar, banjo, synth, and hand claps; Jon Evans on bass, guitar, background vocals, and B3; Matthias Bossi on drums, and Lloyd Maines on pedal steel, papoose, and dobro.
Americana Highways had a chance to chat with Grace Morrison briefly about the song. The song is pure country rock ‘n roll goodness, delving into the dark side with the irony of Morrison’s lilting vocals blending with musical swagger. The premiere appears just beneath the interview.
Americana Highways: What is this song about?
Grace Morrison: My hope is that anyone who has ever loved someone with an addiction issue will know exactly what this song is about. Loving someone with an addiction can be such a terribly isolating thing. One minute you’re angry because you’ve found yet another bottle of vodka hidden in the oven and you think, “THIS is it, I am done.” The next moment, there is that vulnerable person you love and you so desperately want to help them that you stay, to your own detriment, and try to put bandaids on their life. Alcoholism is a vortex that will suck in anybody close enough to touch it. There was a moment in my own experience with this that I realized in a way the “helping” was my addiction. I stayed in the same cycle of anger/frustration for so long it began to define me. There’s a line in the song “I tuck you in like a baby, take your shoes off, let you say this is the last time. This is the last time” — that sums it up for me. Sometimes being done is the best help you can give someone. Because at the end of the day, they have to pick themselves up before they can walk anywhere with you.
AH: Who/what were some influences when it came to writing the song?
GM: This song started as a noodle on the guitar. I had been living in singer-songwriter Taylor guitar land for god knows how long and figured I’d try some new colors to write with. So I picked up my old electric guitar.
Side note: it was my first guitar. I remember wanting it because Billie Joe Armstrong had one in the same color and I was fully invested in being a punk. Pretty sure my dad got a discount on it because nobody else wanted a seafoam green guitar. Playing that thing brought me back to the wonder I used to have when I held it.
So after playing through “She” a few times (underrated Green Day song in my opinion), I found that first little riff which turned into “Put the Bottle Down.”
I didn’t start with the intention of a drinking song, but something about the guitar riff led me that way. I was imagining myself playing it at a honky tonk, full band, badass rockstar facial expressions. Really sticking it to the person who caused the hurt I was singing about, ya know?
I’m sometimes frustrated with my voice because in my mind the vocals on this tune want to be a little gritty. Maybe not Janis Joplin gritty….more like Serenda Ryder gritty. Even if you can’t hear it in my voice…my soul’s pretty gritty.
AH: Any cool/funny/interesting stories from writing/recording this one?
GM: We had an absolute ball recording this song. Namely because I finally got to record my own electric guitar parts. Simple as the line is, we couldn’t get anybody else to play it quite right so that caused immense satisfaction for me. This is also the first song I had specific production notes for before heading to the studio. The little background affected “who put the bottle down” shoutout-all me. Haha! Hire me as a producer immediately! Jon Evans (my producer) also threw in what he calls “party moose,” he gets this really fabulous childlike rockstar look when he gets to riff on the guitar. That’s party moose!
But beyond all of that, this song was extremely cathartic to record. I’ve had these emotions percolating in me for a number of years, damn it feels good to get them out.