The album was largely written at Lissie's Iowa farm during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic - a lonely time for the singer, who was still processing a recent breakup and only had her dog for company. It also served as a period of introspection that influenced the album's themes of hope and heartache. She told Americana Highways
"I think that I, like a lot of artists and people – it took me a good six months, and I didn't start writing until November of 2020. Because I just felt, not only my breakup, but just the pain in the world and the isolation, seeing other people's pain and politics - everything was just so, so intense. So I had to really spend a good six months just trying to take good care of myself and healing and getting perspective. But once I started writing in November, it was like I had some time to reflect on these stages of grief I found myself in. Carving Canyons
has got anger, sorrow, acceptance, hope - all the things. It's like I made the album over an entire arc of healing. That was afforded by the pandemic, really."