by Ali Sperry

How it all began...

Was just reflecting on the birth of this record...or really, the initial seed of it. Flashback to a year ago--right around my birthday I wrote the song Highest Hill. I hadn't been writing a ton at the time and this song was one of those miracles of songwriting where an idea occurs to you and then the whole song just unveils itself easily and with little effort. I remember writing the first few bits of it--the idea for the first verse and the chorus--in my notes app during an Erin Rae show at the Basement East. It was after a conversation I had with Jamie about confidence and my desire to change old habits of being timid or shy in my approach to life, this deep urge to make a shift within myself. I finished the rest of the song in an afternoon sitting on the porch alone. It felt like I said exactly what I wanted to say with the song, which is the most satisfying thing. 

For my birthday present that year, Jamie gave me a day in the studio with Joe Pisapia. This is a big gift. Joe is a dear friend and also a most revered producer and genius musician. I had a few other songs at the time that I liked, but I knew that Highest Hill was the one that we needed to do there. Joe and Jamie and I dug in and let the song unfold. Kristin and Lauren joined us for some lady harmonies and Kristin added some signature Doc fiddle on at the end. The fully realized song had emerged and I was in love with it. 

So clearly, it couldn't stop there. That song felt symbolic. In the way it was written, what it said, how it came to life. It was the beginning of something--a new sound, a new statement, something that I needed to express. I like to think of it as the cornerstone for the rest of the house that is "Crooked Feelings". It was the first conscious step of the new journey. I love that it's the last song on the record. Full circle. 

"So I'm leaving on a journey today, taking all these memories and years, there are things I've been meaning to say, in a voice unshackled by fears..."