Jordan Davis Explains Origin of ‘Bat S—‘ Crazies Line in ‘Almost Maybes’
It should surprise no one that Jordan Davis is ready to speed life up once again. The Louisiana native and Top 40 radio leader in words per measure has truly enjoyed spending time at home with his family, especially after baby Eloise was born in November. But he's missing the shows and the rush of taking the stage to a room full of his fans.
“I miss my guys, man," Davis adds. "I haven’t seen my bass player and my drummer since golly, late February? Early March? We’ve been on the road the last three years so they’re almost more like family.”
The "Singles You Up" hitmaker is going a little stir-crazy, even as he says all the right things about caution and family time and embracing the sabbatical after three-plus years of running in the red. The just-released Jordan Davis EP is unexpected fruit from this time at home. He and producer Paul DiGiovanni finally had the time to cap the six-song set and ship it out to fans digitally. "Cool Anymore," a collaboration with Julia Michaels, was the first sample of new music in late 2019, but since then "Almost Maybes" has become the spotlight track. Like his biggest hits, the track is an exercise in word math. How much can he pour into a verse or chorus without watering a song down?
Credit Davis' R&B raising for this approach to songwriting. Usher was particularly important.
“Going back to one of my favorite albums of his, Confessions. You can probably see some of those correlations, kind of what he did when it came to lyric structure," Davis tells Taste of Country. "But also I was a huge fan of Jim Croce and John Prine. Those guys get a lot of words in those verses, too."
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One lyric in particular stands out on "Almost Maybes," a song Davis wrote with Hillary Lindsey and Jesse Frasure.
“From the didn’t work outs / The girls next door / And the bat s--t crazies / There wouldn’t be no you and me right now / If it weren’t for the almost maybes," he sings at the bridge.
“We got to that point where we said kind of everything," Davis says from his Nashville-area home with a chuckle. "We were nice and we were thankful to all the past relationships, and I remember Hillary getting to that all the ones that didn’t work out, the girls next door. And I was like ‘There’s a few bat s--t crazies in there, as well.’”
Lindsey lit up when she heard him say that and urged him to keep it in the song, censors be damned (the radio edit will change the line to "out there crazies").
"Detours" takes a softer approach, but is thematically similar to "Almost Maybes," Davis' very progressive take on Garth Brooks' "Unanswered Prayers." Dave Turnbull and Davis' older brother Jacob Davis helped him write this personal expression, a labor of love if there ever was one.
“I always say that song is who I was before I met Kristen, and the guy I was after I met Kristen," the singer says, referring to his wife of three years.
Kristen Davis isn't a credited songwriter, but her involvement helped push the song along. Beyond just being his muse, she would regularly ask for updates on "Detours," knowing her husband was leaving to write with his brother and Turnbull again. Some days he'd come home less finished with it than he was when he left. Eventually, after several re-writes, it became an easy love song that doesn't deviate from Davis' signature patter.
"I've always been told I put a lot of words in my songs, and I used to never think it was a problem until you have a 19-song setlist and you put 'Take It From Me,' 'Slow Dance in a Parking Lot' and 'Almost Maybes' back-to-back-to-back," he says. "That's a tough little 12 to 15 minute segment. You need to learn how to catch your breath."
Davis says he's hoping that's a problem he'll soon be faced with. If not for the coronavirus pandemic, he'd be on tour with Brad Paisley this summer.
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