Americana musician Lyman Ellerman gives C&I a first listen to his new track, “Because of You.”
It’s a truism in country music that heartbreak inspires the best songs. Folk Americana artist Lyman Ellerman knows the emotional power of tapping into that, which is evident on his melancholy new track, “Because of You,” off his upcoming album I Wish I Was a Train, available August 10.
"[‘Because of You’] is about lost love,” Ellerman says. “When someone exits a relationship and what it can do to the other person. Loneliness, and the feeling that the world is happening around you but without you. Being surrounded by people and still feeling like you’re the only one there. Where it’s hard to feel anything at all except heartache — to the point of not even recognizing the sunshine on your face. This song is about the tragedy of one person no longer feeling the love the other person feels.”
The song fuels that sense of gloomy solitude with a limited, but no less effective, number of instruments, indulging just the right amount of sorrow. Led by bluesy guitar, lethargic bass, meager percussion, and Ellerman’s crooning vocals, the track barrels right at the heart.
“I sat on this song for about six or seven years,” Ellerman says. “Nearly every time we started to record in earnest I’d be hacking away at this one, trying to throw it in the mix. We just weren’t getting it, unfortunately. There’s something about your mood, however, that can change a person’s ability to hear and perceive different ideas. When we had already cut a few tracks for this record, I brought it back out again.”
The mood of the songs they’d already cut, he explains, allowed a different approach.
“First thing we agreed on was that brushy, swirly snare. That pretty much set the mood — dim and smoky! The upright bass just seemed to be the next logical step. Jason began by playing some subtle background electric guitar parts and I just didn’t think it needed any more instrumentation. My best recollection is that Jason didn’t really think it needed a solo, per se, but I asked him to oblige. He took a couple days of working over the solo with just a spacious guitar — Telecaster, I believe — and ... I think it just put the song on a different level of emotion. It was a great feeling to finally get this one committed to history.”
With “Because of You” finally recorded and now premiering here with C&I, Ellerman reflects on another music truism: “You can’t fight with a song. As I’ve said before, sometimes you’ve just got to wait for it to show you the way.”
Get an exclusive first listen to Ellerman’s “Because of You,” below.
For more on Lyman Ellerman and his upcoming album, visit his website. Photography: Courtesy Anthony Scarlati.