Honey To a Bear
I was dating a guy and he said to me “your kisses are like honey to a bear.” I told him I was going to write a song with that as a lyric. He said okay but I don’t think he really believed me. A couple days later I sent him the song and he was kind of like “okay, wow.” I think I impressed myself a little bit too. Other than those initial words spoken to me, the rest was pure imagination. It reminds me of all the country girls I have grown up around, including myself, who are soft and sweet on the inside but tough as hell on the outside. I giggle at the third verse where she shoves her and gloves her because she doesn’t share! Country girls are loyal as hell. And don’t mess around when it comes to their man! Hands off! It’s just an overall fun, whimsical little song that I hope makes other people giggle, too.
Lost WIth You
There’s so much speculation about who a love song is written about, especially a really sexy one, and I love having the secret of the songwriter! Really, it’s pretty funny because there’s no mystery man involved here. I don’t think I was even dating anyone at the time I wrote it, just spending a lot of time on the beach with my son. But I think I was lonely. All the images of the sand and sun, wind in our hair and just being lazy and in love. I imagine a couple on a really intimate, relaxing beach vacation, just wanting to spend alone time with each other and reconnect. Enmesh themselves in each other’s presence. Honeymoon playlist please!
This song was written at a time when I was living in a cold northeastern climate and was really missing home. I grew up in South Florida and attended high school in a small town where the major industry is sugarcane. It was around a high school reunion that I once again was not going to be able to attend, and I kept thinking in images of all these relationships from high school,friends, boyfriends, etc.. And a lot of those people are still living in that small town. I moved on and they stayed behind and it didn’t feel right. I missed them. And I also missed my youth and that time in my life that was filled with hope and optimism, I think we can all relate to that feeling. My favorite line is “they’re still raisin’ cane there on Friday night, them Okeechobee boys still looking for a fight.” It’s a great line because it can either be about the big Friday night parties we went to, where it wasn’t unusual for a fight to break out. But more commonly that line is associated with Friday night lights high school football, the rival team of Okeechobee coming to play. I have many fond memories of both the football games and the parties after. It was a great time and that town is full of good, hard working people that I have tremendous respect for.
This is a super personal song that I don’t even like to have to go back over, honestly. It was a super painful time full of heartache and disappointment. My heart was really broken and I felt like I had been cut down to the bone. Like there was nothing left of me. I sat down cross legged on my living room floor with my guitar, and the chorus came out first. I wasn’t even sure if it were a chorus or a verse, then I worked on it a little more and decided it was a chorus. Then I worked up the first verse. I just sang the first verse and two repeating choruses to my producer and he liked it so much he asked me to write a second verse. I hated even going back into those emotions honestly and wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, but it was like he put in an order to the universe. I wrote the second verse quickly one night over a year after it had been started. We ended up liking the second verse more than the first, which is rare. I am super proud of that song because it’s as real as it gets. I hope it’s one of those sad songs that people love because it resonates, although I don’t wish that kind of heartache on anyone. That song's about shutting the door permanently on a relationship. Knowing that when someone finally gets around to missing you, it’ll be too late, you’ll have moved on.
Well, this song is obviously about my hard working father. He had the sawmill on our family property so I grew up throwing slabs off that sawmill and understanding hard work. He was not just a sawmill operator during my formative years but he was a logger lumberman. So he not only milled the logs, he went back into the swamp to get them. My father was born without fingers on his right hand, so his choice of work was quite amazing. He did more with one good hand than most people do with two. It was a tremendously dangerous job, especially the logging part. My father usually had an employee that he’d take logging, but when he didn’t he would take us along for safety. My mother homeschooled us anyway so she would spread a blanket on a clearing near the logging trail. We could hear my father’s chainsaw, hundreds of feet back in the swamp, cutting the tree. When the chainsaw cut off, we would all stop talking and wait for the tree to fall. It really was a hell of a fall! Once the tree fell, we remained nervously quiet waiting for my father’s chainsaw to start up again, because that’s how we knew he was okay. There was a million things that could have gone wrong for my father in that scenario. As I write this tears come to my eyes. What a hard life my father had really. He was an amazing person. And everyone that knew him knew he loved his family and to be back in that swamp more than anything. He used to say to me that nothing is more beautiful in the natural world than a cypress tree standing in water. I think of him whenever I see that.
Dreams of Yesterday
This is another song about nostalgia for childhood. It’s images of family life, friendships and love interests during my formative years. This is a song that was started five or six years before it was finished. I had a first verse and part of the chorus but couldn’t finish it until the right experiences had come into my life. The chorus was inspired by a close childhood friend who spoke to me about a vacation she had taken to the beach. She had rented a bicycle and watched the sun go down, thinking of yesterday and how much her life had changed since we were kids. I felt the same way. So I had this image of her watching the sun go down and all these other images that I pieced together. The bridge is really one of my favorite parts of the entire album. “Was it really as good as I remember? I know there’s days that I forgot. Sometimes the only thing I know for sure is you were there and now you’re not.” That is a nod to all the people I have lost in my life, not just my dad and close family members but friends from high school and beyond. They were definitely there and they will always be, in our memories and in our hearts.
Sun And The Moon
This song was written during COVID shutdown. I was going through a difficult time in my life anyway, in the midst of a long and miserable divorce. I was honestly going crazy being trapped in my house, left to constantly strategize on ways to get home to Florida! I started studying astrology of all things, finally getting my chart done and understanding the placements of my sun, moon, rising signs, etc.. It was so interesting and really explained a lot of my personality to me. So this song started as all this interesting information was ruminating in my brain about the sun and the moon and the stars. It was total stream of consciousness that I wrote very quickly, so quickly that I was relieved it even made sense. How it came to be kind of a universal anthem for unconditional love and the circle of life is a total mystery to me. Another total mystery is how I could be writing about marriage and deep commitment when I was in the midst of a miserable divorce. That’s how I know it was channeled, divinely sent, and I am so grateful that I was able to write my own lesson. We need to live fearlessly, forever optimistic about what the future holds for us. When I finally got home to Florida I had a renewed appreciation for this song, and how good things can come out of hard times.
I just love this song! I had been spending a lot of time with my son at Dania beach, near Fort Lauderdale. Dania is right by Port Everglades where the cruise ships come in, and also by the airport where the planes come in. We sat and watched planes and ships coming and going and I just started writing this dreamy little love song. I did have a past love interest in mind, and I wondered how he was doing. I didn’t have the title until one evening I saw a woman with a beachbag that had “Sunkissed” embroidered on it. I thought “that’s the name of my song!” Once I had that title, I constructed it pretty quickly, in one evening I think. I think it’s unique because it’s carefree yet intense. I love the images of melting into one, kissing like the sun, etc.. It’s just fun to sing and perform, and I hope people will include it on their beach playlist, cause it deserves a spot!
Peace And HappIness
This song is the baby of this album. I wrote it last, quickly, during a period of renewed optimism in relationships. Love really is a kind of a gamble, equal parts wisdom and intuition, and you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there. When you are newly single after a long relationship, you tend to get advice from people that is well intentioned but sometimes unwanted. Only you can know who is right for you. No one else. So it’s a song about taking control and getting in the driver’s seat. Sometimes you have to fight for your peace and happiness and only you will know when you’ve found what you’re looking for.
Free SpIrIt Love Song
Besides the Sun and the Moon this is one of the most channeled songs on the album. I really don’t understand how it came to me but it came in waves, the melody first and the words filled in around it. I met a free spirit online. He was a love interest. It was long distance and never went anywhere. But he inspired me because he had had a hard life, with a lot of disappointments, especially in his love life. But he had worked hard and had done well for himself and hadn’t given up on love. He had also worked at becoming his true self, hoping to attract the right person. This song is about getting into that beautiful relationship with the person who truly gets us, perhaps after many past relationships that left us unfulfilled. It’s about finding love a little later in life. You’re a little tattered and bruised but you’re still able to love. When it came time to give this song a title, nothing stuck. None of the lyrics sounded like a title, so I realized therein lies the personality of the song. It can’t be put into a box. The song itself is a free spirit.
I'm Just An Old Chunk Of Coal
This is the only cover on Sawmiller’s Daughter. It’s here because it was my father’s favorite non-gospel song. We grew up listening to this song over and over. Of course John Anderson, who is a Florida boy, made it famous. My father was the son of a minister and church was a big part of his life. The lines about shaking everybody's hand and brightening someone's day spoke directly to my dad in church terms. He was raised with the understanding that we are all diamonds in God’s eyes, and that what we work on in this world is only strengthening our relationship with God and becoming our true diamond selves. My father loved the way Billy Jo Shaver explained the concept of universal love in simple, honest lyrics. I remember my father saying these were the kind of songs he wanted to write. I When Billy Jo died last year, my sister and I felt like we’d lost a family member. When we went to Muscle Shoals to record this album, this song was the only song that was done in one take, the first take, with no overdubs. My producer was pretty amazed. I told him I should know how to sing that song by now, I have been singing it since I was a little girl.
Well, I definitely got my country songwriter street cred out of this song, and still kept my sense of humor. This is a song all about the end of a long, bitter divorce when I was trying to get out of Western New York and get home to Florida. I had been fighting for my happiness and control over my own life from a very controlling person. Legal maneuverings had gone on for over a year and a half and at the very end, my soon to be ex husband did exactly what I knew he would do, he put out all the stops to keep me from leaving. I left town with a frozen bank account and a restraining order against me leaving the state, all of which was soon reversed by my lawyer. But he made it dramatic right up to the end. It’s a long story but when my lawyer told me to leave, I left quickly and late at night. I drove almost straight through. When I got across the Florida line near Jacksonville, I cried tears of joy. The bridge is also a great ending to the album. “Wrong all along, sad when it’s true. Ya find out that the songs ain’t about you. I’m moving on new things to say, and you’ve always been selfish that way.” It’s just keeping with the mystery of the who and what the songs are about. It’s not always what you think.