Song Premiere: Spafford “Ain’t That Wrong”

April 30, 2018

Photo credit: Jay Stevens

On Friday, May 4, Spafford will release the follow-up to their debut self-titled studio record. For Amusement Only blends fan-favorites such as “Ain’t That Wrong,” “Leave the Light On” and “Mind’s Unchained,” with new tunes, including “Fuel” and “When It Falls.” As we noted in our recent profile of the group, “Spafford is one of the jam scene’s hottest prospects, touring with Umphrey’s McGee last winter, rocking festival stages coast to coast and laying down exciting, intricate performances that spawn impassioned analyses by fans.”

Today we premiere “Ain’t That Wrong” from For Amusement Only, which is now available for pre-order.

Spafford guitarist/vocalist Brian Moss reflects, “I grew up hearing stories about the old jazz clubs in cities like Chicago, New Orleans and NYC. I fantasized about what it would be like living in those places 80 years ago and often thought about what musicians I would encounter and how I would meet them. Ultimately, I wondered what it would be like to be part of a community, fearlessly searching together through sonic exploration to reach limitless ways of expressing feelings in this world that words simply do not justify. I can’t even imagine the fun they had, to be back at the beginning stages of electric microphones and instruments! How many people were involved with this and how many more enjoyed listening to these new sounds? Where did they all go? They went to the recording studios and to the clubs. And it was there where they set the rules for this new found method of recording, performance and the future of music.

“Fast forward to our session at I.V. Labs, in Chicago, Summer 2017 when we recorded For Amusement Only. It’s 8pm. Now, the band was currently working on ‘Ain’t that Wrong’ and we were messing around with the direction of the ‘jam section’ and how it would play out in a studio format. Since it was so short in comparison to our live versions, we wanted to pack a punch to the section by letting it peak quickly but not let it feel rushed and out of place with the rest of the song – because, that’s what we do as a band; we tend to shorten our songs for our albums so we can fit more songs on a CD. Please note, most of this album was cut live and there were obvious overdubs. So needless to say, we were open to ideas.

“Ok, so sometimes I like to step outside and get some fresh air and gather my thoughts about whatever song we are working on. The front door of I.V. Labs is located on a main road surrounded by townhouses. (I remember one building, in particular, that was covered in thousands of spiders. Yuck!) While I stood there on the dimmed front step looking up at the sky wondering how crazy it is that we are on a tiny planet floating in the middle of somewhere in space…I casually noticed a few neighbors who were walking around the neighborhood. As I thought about heading inside my vision quickly snapped towards a man who was walking towards me with his dog at his side. I looked down at the dog and it was the kind of pup that you just had to pet. Now, usually, I’m not ‘that guy,’ but I was missing my cat at home. So, I proceeded to ask this complete stranger if my stranger hands could pet his happy and eager stranger dog. With a smile, he said, ‘Sure!’ Then we all started smiling.

“Looking at the door to the studio, he asks, ‘Whatcha doing in there?” I stated that it was a recording studio and that we were a band. He said, “Yeah, I know. I’m a musician and I’ve recorded here a whole bunch. I live right there,” and points to the building next door. ‘I meant to ask what are you recording?’

We spent the next five minutes catching up and I came to find out he plays the saxophone in one of the funkiest groups in town. So, I ran inside quickly and found our engineer Shane. Though time spent in a studio is valuable, I figured we could give this dude a shot and it might sound good. If not, then we wouldn’t need to use it and we can find another approach. So I stumbled my way through explaining what just happened to me outside, ‘Hey Shane, there’s this guy and his dog outside. I just met him and he says he plays the sax and I think he should take a pass on “Ain’t that Wrong,”’ assuring we could only give him three takes.

With an encouraging wink, it was obvious that Shane blessed the idea. So I darted to the front door, blew past the kitchen, the pinball machine and the lobby. Jason [Singer], and his dog Dewey were standing there and I yelled, ‘Grab your horn, my dude!’

“In five minutes he was back. Three takes later and after another 5,000 high-fives and ‘hell yeahs,’ we knew we found what we were looking for.

“The process we put into this album was unlike any other we had done before. We really tried to seize the essence of Chicago in our work. We ate the city’s food and breathed its air. We drank its water and pissed in its toilets. We are one. The band immersed itself into the local culture, and with a little help from the canine angels or fate or whatever you wanna call it, we’ve got great stories of how that has influenced the album. The only way we could top ourselves was by putting a local musician on a track. So thank you, Dewey and Jason!”