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Story Behind The Song: “Alone With You”

Story Behind The Song: “Alone With You”

Jake Owens’ “Alone With You,” written by Shane McAnally, J.T. Harding and Cathy Lee Gravitt, started out with a very clever line that ended up being dropped from the song.

The original song idea was something about not running with scissors – which sounded interesting in the songwriter’s notebook, but because the singer just didn’t feel comfortable singing it, ended up being removed from the song.

So as a songwriter, what can the writing of the song teach you?

This song’s a great example of: (1) how your original idea can change dramatically by the time it’s cut and released for radio, and (2) how the people in a room for a co-write can evolve the lyric.

 

The Original Inspiration

 

Shane McAnally’s song idea came from an Augusten Burroughs book titled, Running With Scissors. His idea was to use the image as a metaphor for being in a relationship that was bad for you. The line they ended up with that included that image was: “You’ve got me running with scissors down the hall / And I know it could kill me if I fall.”   The hook line was “I can’t be alone with you.”

Because Jake Owen didn’t really connect with the scissors line, he asked for a few options,. The replacement lines? “You’ve got me out on the edge every time you call / And I know it would kill me if I fall.”

A great piece of advice from Shane McAnally from writing this song:  “Sometimes, you do have to lose a great or overly clever line in the best interest of the song. The song is king. We just try not to get in the way of the story. Luckily, Jake’s instincts saved us from overwriting a story that was simple and needed to stay that way.”

 

 

The Writing Process

 

The lead lick on the guitar started first, then one of the co-writers just started singing words off the top of their head around romance problems they were experienced, or had experienced.

The differentiator in the song lyric? Having a female in the room!

At the end of the co-write session, according to J.T. Harding, “Catt Gravitt said she felt we were tiptoeing around the sexiness of the song’s situation. She literally stood up and loudly said, ‘I’m a woman! I want to feel this!’ More detailed lyrics emerged like, ‘Don’t put your hand up my shirt and tell me it’s okay.’ When that was written, I knew we had something special.”

What a great example of how details can start to shift the emotional connection of a song!

 

Alone With You

 

VERSE

I don’t see you laugh.
You don’t call me back,
But you kiss me when you’re drunk.
I don’t know your friends.
Don’t know where you’ve been.
Why are you the one I want?

CHORUS

Don’t put your lips up to my mouth and tell me you can’t stay.
Don’t slip your hand under my shirt and tell me it’s okay.
Don’t say it doesn’t mater ’cause it’s gonna matter to me.
I can’t be alone with.
You’ve got me out on the edge every time you call,
And I know it would kill me if I fall.
I can’t be alone with you.

VERSE

Please don’t chain that door.
I can’t win this war.
Your body’s like a pill I shouldn’t take

CHORUS

Don’t put your lips up to my mouth and tell me you can’t stay.
Don’t slip your hand under my shirt and tell me it’s okay.
Don’t say it doesn’t mater ’cause it’s gonna matter to me.
I can’t be alone with.
You’ve got me out on the edge every time you call.
And I know it would kill me if I fall.
I can’t be alone with you.

Don’t put your lips up to my mouth and tell me you can’t stay.
Don’t slip your hand under my shirt and tell me it’s okay.
Don’t say you’re gonna love me ’cause you know you’re gonna love me and leave.
I can’t be alone with.
You’ve got me out on the edge every time you call.
And I know it would kill me if I fall.
I can’t be alone with you.

OUTRO

I don’t see you laugh.
You don’t call me back.
But you kiss me when you’re drunk.

 

 

the bootThis story is adapted from an interview originally appearing on TheBoot.com. For more country music stories, the latest country music news, and stories behind some of country music’s greatest hits past and present, please visit their site.





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