Track By Tracks: Micah Walk - Among The Stars (2021)

1. In The Dark:

In the Dark is about not realizing that you’re dealing with things like sadness or depression until you realize that it’s impacting those you love. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds pretty darn sad. But it’s actually a rocker! And that’s thanks to Sadler Vaden’s production. This is the song he changed the most. My demo version sounded more relaxed and light-hearted (think “Two of Us” by The Beatles). He suggested several chord changes and even some melody changes, which I could tell right away would serve the subject matter well and make it a better song overall. Then he and the band made it rock.

2. Stay With Me:

Stay With Me is about the uncertainties involved with people you love being obligated to potentially put themselves at risk during something like, you know, a pandemic. We were right in the thick of lockdowns when I wrote this song. With life being turned upside down all of a sudden, and performances – work – essentially disappearing, I was already starting to struggle a bit with mental health and self-worth. On top of that, my wife worked in a hospital. And things were so uncertain in the early stages of the pandemic, I worried a lot about her having to put herself at risk. “Stay with Me” just sort of fell out. 

3. Among The Stars:

Among the Stars is about perspective, love and empathy. This song makes me imagine heaven like a DMV sort of place. In the first line, “complaints” refers to prayers. It’s by far my favorite song on the album, which I guess is why it’s the title track.

4. Shades Of Blue:

Shades of Blue is essentially about divorce. But more generally, any difficult separation - maybe from a person, indoctrination, toxic belief, or just a bad idea – and how, after a while, even though life can feel like various shades of blue, it’s still more beautiful and hard to imagine it any other way. This song definitely makes me think of split couples I know, but also about my former life as a very religious person, and how that feels like a lifetime ago.  

5. Last Of Your Kind:

Last of Your Kind …I actually started writing this just after the events in Charlottesville in 2017. I know I was naïve, but I honestly didn’t know the evil spirit of white supremacy was so alive and well. It sort of felt like it had been on its deathbed and then was unfortunately revived by those willing to disregard the best of American values in exchange for the support of the worst of us.

6. Supernatural Disasters:

Supernatural Disasters is a sort of a tongue-in-cheek song about strange ideas regarding weather. I guess it’s inspired by the types of claims that involve supernatural forces causing natural disasters to punish all of us for how and who some of us love. This is another tune that Sadler made rock harder than I imagined it would, and I love it.

7. Pennies On The Dollar:

Pennies on the Dollar is about being an honest victim of circumstance in a world that seems to be designed to work well for some, but not for all. I wrote this song in my car after listening to a particularly moving episode of “This American Life.” It was a story about a single woman and her kids trying to do everything right, literally working as hard as they could – multiple jobs plus school – and not being able to overcome the challenges in a system that just didn’t seem to be designed to work for them in the first place.

8. Grace:

Grace is sort of about how some groups of people who don’t appear to have any desire to actually act with grace somehow take over ownership of the concept. I’ve developed a Humanistic outlook and out of the ten songs on this album, that theme is probably most clear in this one. This song almost didn’t make the cut, but I’m so glad it did. Sadler’s production gives it a real Jackson Browne vibe, and I’m more than OK with that.

9. Fire Away:

Fire Away is about being misunderstood. It’s surprising and frustrating when you open up to someone – even worse, someone you love – about who you are and they flat out tell you they don’t believe you, or never seem to have any interest in learning more about your point of view.

10. High On The High Road:

High on the High Road is about claiming to be taking the high road while vilifying or stigmatizing those who don’t share an ideology or dogma. It’s funny/sad/amazing that some people think they’re doing the right thing by being abusive toward those who don’t share their beliefs.

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