On my new album, “Homeless Songs”, there is a song called, “The Fall”. It is my favorite on the album. I hope when you hear it, you have your own Fall story playing like a movie in your mind, not mine. But for those of you curious to know where the song came from, this is my Fall story. And, it’s pretty personal. I’m glad we’re all friends.
In fairytales, kisses are magical. One kiss of true love transforms frogs into princes. It wakes the enchanted sleeper. It removes the curse of death. It takes an entire future that otherwise should have been filled with at least a bit of drama if not drudgery, and with the touch of the lips in that closing scene, it transforms everything into “happily ever after.”
I used to think my kiss did the opposite of all of those things. Because from the first guy I ever kissed, to the second to last, they all kind of disappeared shortly after we kissed. My lips held some sort of relationship killing curse. No matter how good everything seemed. One guy spent months winning me over and in the meantime became a very dear friend. When that relationship nuking kiss happened, I was devastated. In that case I couldn’t stop myself from calling him late one night weeks later and asking him what went wrong. He understood why I felt like I did, and yet had no answers. I know what you’re thinking. Honestly, I don’t think I was bad at kissing. I realize you will just have to take my word for it. I really think my problem was something else I couldn’t possibly understand at the time. Sometimes the relationship-killing-kiss-curse actually made me be the one to inexplicably disappear. And that made me feel rotten, too. I had issues. I wanted what I couldn’t have and ran from what I could. I tried to catch wild horses that I knew would bolt off into the sunset alone at the very moment they pleased. Strangely, I think I craved the pain of a broken heart. It was better than the numbness of having no love in my heart at all. I was kind of a mess. Maybe that glowed from me somehow. Maybe I didn’t love myself enough, and I expected someone else to do all of that for me. Maybe one kiss was as much of my burden as any man could bear. Maybe after that kiss, they looked up and saw the rest of the bricks falling over the ledge and they just had to run. Whatever it was, I seemed to have a curse. So as much as I loved the suspense before the perfect kiss, and how deeply I anticipated that magical moment that always utterly took my breath away, I also always kind of dreaded what would happen next.
That’s why I was kind of sad on May 18th, 2002 as I watched Joe Anderson drive away in his sleek, manly 1998 equipment box truck. It was my birthday. We were in Arizona on tour with Jericho Road. He was the sound guy. I was the opening act. After our Mesa show my mom invited the whole cast and crew over to her house for cake. After almost everyone left, before Joe climbed into that truck, right there under a huge Arizona sky filled with bright stars, with Rod Elwood innocently sitting patiently out of view in the passenger seat of the truck, Joe kissed me. Well, he claims I kissed him. Maybe I thought he was trying to kiss me when he only planned to kiss my cheek that night. Whatever. It happened, and it was magic. And then he drove away. And I knew I’d never really see him again. Which was going to be pretty awkward because we still had a lot of shows left and even after the tour he would still probably be the sound guy that my record label would hire to help me. Great. This was just great.
So the next day when he called, I already kind of knew what he was going to say. I was actually really impressed that he called me instead of just vanishing. Then I remembered that we were kind of on tour together and it might be easier for him to sweep it all under the rug by phone before we ended up being around everyone again in a few days. To my shock, though, that’s not what he was calling about at all. I was bewildered and euphoric when I realized that he wasn’t going anywhere. Well, he was actually going to drive really far away from me for a couple of days but that’s too complicated to explain and it was just for work. His heart stayed right with me. He broke the curse.
While we were dating, Joe told me he had never kissed anyone on New Year’s Eve. Something always happened that messed things up somehow before each big midnight bash. It was just kind of an interesting piece of trivia about his life. And really, when I thought about it, I realized that I also had never kissed anyone on New Year’s Eve. I know it’s silly, but I knew in my heart that if we kissed on New Year’s, we’d get married.
On December 31st of 2002, we kissed. That was the night we got engaged.
I was ready for the heartbreak conversation
I was ready for a “sorry, see you later.”
I was ready for some sad midnight telephone call.
I just wasn’t ready for the fall.
With every passing season I just keep falling. In all of the very best ways.
Listen to “The Fall”, my favorite song from my new album by clicking here:. The Fall I was in kind of a good mood today so I totally released my whole album several days early. Surprise! And enjoy!!!