Many years ago, I used to walk the crumbling streets of Detroit. ‘Round the corner, down the alley, and circling back to the avenue, my tattered off-brand converse flapped down the streets of broken infrastructure to the rhythm of a bluesy soundtrack blaring from my headphones. It was the only genre that I could (on a musical level) relate my situation to- it’s desperation and sorrows, coupled with heartfelt arrangements and the perfect whiny tinge seemed to mirror my surroundings and make sense of the environment I grew up in. As such, Blues has always held a special place in my heart and, as you might be able to guess, I’m pretty picky (and snobbish) about my blues. BB King will always reign supreme in my book, which is also dabbled with Tom Waits, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Billie Holiday, to name a few. Sure, in modern instances, I’m a big fan of The Black Keys, but I still found a sizable hole in my heart- a blank page in my books of blues favorites that nobody could seem to properly fill. On the night that would have been my reconciliation that such a page would be forever left unfilled, my ears were introduced to the irresistible croonings of Zachary Kibbee. I kid you not when I tell you now that everything changed. I can generally drone on and on over albums, pointing out their significance and flaws; their intricacies and lulls. But, upon first listen, the only thing I was capable was flinging myself across my room, scrambling for a pen so I could finally fill the slot in with a scrawled inscription: “Zach Kibbee – Songs From the Mud (2016).”
Today, we have the uttermost excitement and pleasure to present to you the official track-by-track of Kibbee’s Songs From the Mud, which details not only the meaning behind each track, but the explanation behind the album title! As always, each track is embedded to better your listening and viewing pleasure. Sit back, pour yourself a glass of bourbon, and read on! Enjoy!
Let’s start with the album’s title, “Songs From The Mud.” From early on in my musical journey, I had a fondness for the blues and blues-based music. They themes of sorrow, wanting, devotion and guilt had a way of drawing me in, creating stories that you didn’t only see but could feel emotionally. A dirty, gritty “mud-like” music that is filled with heart-break and longing, I felt that many could relate to the stories behind the songs. When I started writing music for my first solo album I went back to those concepts and what came out was Songs From The Mud- songs that depict the pains and emotions of the blues.
“End Of Days”
“End Of Days,” the end of the world; a dystopian future where everything is broken and in chaos and ruins. The song itself is about more than just that. It’s about survival, having the courage to move forward even when times are tough.
“See Right Through You”
We’ve all been in that relationship where you feel like you are chasing someone, right? And that person plays it coy and nonchalant, but you know they like you, too. That’s what “See Right Through You” is about; the torment of dealing with someone who won’t get out of their own way and do what they really want to do.
“All Tied Up”
“All Tied Up” is about the hold that women can have on men, where they’ve seduced them like sirens and control them like puppets. In this instance the male character might be okay with it, having gotten used to the shackles that bind him.
“Pull Me Off This Train”
“Pull Me Off This Train” is a sad song. It’s about being stuck in a relationship that just isn’t working but just won’t end. It’s about wanting to get out of a situation or relationship before it becomes so bad that it will cause permanent damage. One or both sides has mentally checked out, but the train keeps rolling down the tracks.
“What Did I Ever Do?”
Sometimes I’ve found myself looking back at past relationships and wondering what I did exactly that made that girl say or do the things she did, and sometimes I can see what I did wrong that drove a woman mad, but “What Did I Ever Do?” isn’t about that, really. It’s about trying to find my mistakes but not being able to, and just wanting to know what I did to cause such a tremendous reaction.
“Your Own Way”
Living in LA, I see a lot of this kind of girl. The kind of girl that thinks her looks are going to take her places, that the small amount of attention she’s getting at the bars and clubs actually means something. Shallow, petty, often dumb and annoying, these girls think that they can get whatever they want, like it’s owed to them. That’s what “Your Own Way” is about. It’s about not letting these types of girls dictate your life.
“I Can’t Be Your Man”
“I Can’t Be Your Man” is a story about a man who’s actions and poor choices have left him broken and unable to fend for himself, and more importantly, his lady. Whether it’s a drinking habit, unfaithful behavior or other desires he just can’t get his life together enough to sustain a healthy relationship, as much as he’d like to. It’s also about the indecisiveness of our modern culture, especially in the dating world. I’ve dealt with this myself, wanting to do right by a girl but not being able to offer her what she deserves.
“Little Clocks” was actually the first song I wrote for this new solo concept/project about 3 years ago, in the early part of 2013. The song itself is about never giving up. Even when you’ve been beaten down by time and other outside forces, you just have to keep trudging along, believing in yourself and your art. But more importantly it helped shape my musical style and paved the way for a lot of music I would write over the next 3 years.
“I’m A Man”
“I’m A Man” has a special place in my heart. I was raised by a single mother who worked a ton to make sure that my sisters and I didn’t go without. And this song is about how she raised me to work hard and be strong because I was in charge of how my life would turn out. She taught me that I had to make my own way, it’s wasn’t going to be served to me on a silver platter. She is such a strong person with a good heart, and she did such a wonderful job of raising us by herself.
“Gone” is about being dumped, essentially. It’’s about having your heart broken by someone who treated you poorly to begin with. And even though they’re now gone, the pain is still festering inside you, crushing your soul and leaving you empty inside. It’s almost like howling at the moon in sorrow.
“Cruel Mistress” is not unlike “All Tied Up” thematically. It’s about the seductive powers that women hold over men. And sometimes these women treat you wrong, but they still maintain their status as Goddesses in our eyes, like they can do no wrong. We’re powerless to them.
If you’ve ever had your heart ripped out of your chest by someone then you probably understand this song. If you’ve ever been betrayed by someone then you probably understand this song. If you’ve ever been driven to the brink of insanity by someone then you probably understand this song. “Haunted” is about all of that: heartbreak, betrayal and near insanity to the point where it’s all you can think about. It’s in your head and you might rather be dead than be haunted by it any longer.
About Zachary Kibbee
Zachary Kibbee is a Los Angeles native who is influenced by a variety of genres. Picking up a guitar for his first time at age 14, Zachary quickly adapted to the 12-bar blues and set his sights high. Three years later, he experienced a definitive moment as his blues band opened up for the legendary BB King at the Abbot Kinney Music Festival in Venice, California. As his sound changed, his band hit the road and toured the West Coast and mid-West territories. His experiences taught him that he had to go solo to recapture the classic blues progressions of his earlier years. Zachary Kibbee is now rockin’ under his own name and brings a charging and seductive swagger back to the classic genre.
His 4-track EP Little Clocks is available now for download on iTunes. The lead track “My Own Two Feet” was featured in a nation-wide Microsoft Surface Pro 3 campaign. Several of his other songs have been featured in a variety of programming from feature films, various advertisements, and popular television programs including Secrets & Lies, Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Hemlock Grove, House Of Lies, Graceland, and several more. Zachary’s hit song, “My Own Two Feet”, will also be heard as the end title song to the upcoming Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville film, ‘Skiptrace’.
Zachary Kibbee’s debut full-length album Songs From The Mud is out now! As of May 3rd, 2016.