The Ballad of Big Meanie

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Big Meanie was a real guy, and this is a true story. When I was growing up I raised chickens, and we actually had one wicked sour rooster who would put his head down, ruffle his feathers up, and chase us kids around the yard like a tracer missile.  On the occasion that Big Meanie caught us, he would jump up, throw his feet forward, and rake his razor-spurs down the backs of our legs.  The friggin guy was brutal.

It's also true the only one in the family brave enough to stand up to this feathered tyrant was my father. He would come outside with his big rubber boots on and grab Big Meanie, dodging the flailing razor-spurs, and toss him back in the chicken coop, where he'd go plot his revenge for tomorrow.  This was a memory I had mostly forgotten about until one late night writing session for my upcoming album, Can-Am.  All of a sudden, Big Meanie and all his terrorism came flooding back to me, and before I knew it I had the whole song written. I had this one finished and ready to be taken to the studio after only about thirty minutes of writing. I guess those years of repressed terror finally found their cathartic release.

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Artwork by Carlorozy Clemente, Manila, Phillipines

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I started playing The Ballad of Big Meanie around Nashville, and it quickly became a staple of my live sets.  I developed an electric version of the song with a couple of my best friends in town, Ridge Banks and Micah Nortrup.  When I got ready to cut the song at Hidden Creek Music in Nashville, I had these two cats join me. We cut Micah's drums and Ridge's acoustic guitar both on the very first take, and all the energy and magic was there from the first note. We didn't even bother doing any more takes, that was it.  I cut my guitar and bass over the top and ran the vocals, and we had a track that sizzled more than Nashville Hot Chicken on a July day.

-David

Photo by Austin Dellamano, Lighthouse Studio, Nashville, TN