Rochester

  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • The closing track of Mat Kearney's fourth album, Young Love, finds the folk-rock singer-songwriter paying homage to his father. Kearney revealed, "It's this very folk song that I wrote about my dad. My grandpa ran an illegal gambling ring in Rochester, New York out of a cigar shop, and my father lived through that. Then, he became a lawyer, went into the army, followed Pink Floyd through Europe and moved to Hawaii where he met my mother."

    The song deals with the abuse Kearney's dad and his family suffered. "It was really, really hard," Mat said about writing such an intimate song. "It's not hard for me to be vulnerable on some levels, but it's risky. There's the whole other world outside of just creating a song of who it affects and how it affects them that is the hard part, sometimes. But those are songs where you're that vulnerable and you're that open.

    You also want to feel fair, because when a song's that literal and you're talking about abuse and stuff like that, you don't want to dramatize stuff just for the sake of a song. I wanted to just tell the truth and be fair. That was an interesting exercise for me. I've never really written a song that literal about people that close to me." (here's our full Mat Kearney interview.)
  • Bruce Sprinsteen, and in particular his 1982 Nebraska album, was a big influence on this song. Springsteen recorded that album at his home on a small tape recorder, and the final product contains very stark, unadorned songs that tell stories of struggle.

    "When I sat down I was thinking through the mind of Springsteen," Kearney said. "I don't do that tons, but it was fun. On that record, I really set out to write songs that were within an arm's reach of me story-wise, and I actually sat down and said, 'I'm not going to write songs.' That was my M.O. It was: we're not writing songs, I'm going to tell stories. So when I sat down, I was messing with chords, and I started messing with my dad's story."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Danny KortchmarSongwriter Interviews

Danny played guitar on Sweet Baby James, Tapestry, and Running On Empty. He also co-wrote many hit songs, including "Dirty Laundry," "Sunset Grill" and "Tender Is The Night."

Thomas DolbySongwriter Interviews

He wrote "She Blinded Me With Science" so he could direct a video about a home for deranged scientists.

Jimmy JamSongwriter Interviews

The powerhouse producer behind Janet Jackson's hits talks about his Boyz II Men ballads and regrouping The Time.

Best Band LogosSong Writing

Queen, Phish and The Stones are among our picks for the best band logos. Here are their histories and a design analysis from an expert.

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.