Teddy and I got together in his Barrio East recording studio in Nashville with the idea of trying a modern version of the primitive Appalachian sound that Teddy had helped create on the soundtrack. Well, as songwriting is not an exact science, we were not getting anywhere at first and decided to take a break for some air. Teddy’s studio shares the same parking lot with the amazing Blackbird Studio complex and we walked over to take a look inside.
Scott Phillips from Blackbird gave us the tour and we ended up in one of their state of the art mix rooms. We sat down and Scott played a studio master recording of “Billy Jean” from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and “Day in the Life “ from the Beatles Abbey Road. Hearing those amazing records in that environment was mind blowing. We walked out and knew we needed to set the bar quite a bit higher.
“Lets try to do that,” we said to each other. I remembered that Michael had once told me the Hall and Oates song “I Can’t Go For That “ was a major inspiration for the groove on “Billy Jean.” I thought, “why not return the favor?” Then I came up with an acoustic guitar riff with a similar feel.
That was the spark that got us going. Teddy came up with a cool banjo riff and by the end of the day the idea had evolved into an Americana anthem. The power of the track called for a powerful lyric. We began to work on the words using themes of brotherhood and strength combined with the bond of blood and family.
Teddy recorded the first version and played all the electric guitars and banjo. A week or so later we booked a studio at Blackbird and brought in the great bass/drum team of Michael Rhodes and Chad Cromwell along with extraordinary fiddler Luke Bulla to overdub. Later that same night, Bekka Bramlett came in and we did background vocals.”
- John Oates
“Stand Strong” will be available on iTunes Mar. 12 and will be featured on the ESPN 2 telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide race from Bristol, TN on March, 16.