One Love

Album: Chasing Daylight (2003)


  • A single is very important to a professional songwriter. To have their song picked up by an artist and included on an album pays the rent; to have it released as a single pays for the fringe. This song was written by successful songwriters who were also recording artists, so it was included on a couple of big-name albums. Still it has never been released as a single. Singer/songwriter Billy Montana recalls how he initially hooked up with Henry Paul and Ken Block, founding members of the Outlaws and Sister Hazel, respectively, and wrote this song: "It's so funny, because there was a couple of Sister Hazel songs that I was completely in love with. One was 'Champagne High,' and then 'Change Your Mind.' And what was funny is that, in listening to 'Change Your Mind,' I always heard Henry Paul in Ken's vocal. I think they have a real similar vocal.
    I've known Henry for 11 years now. I made an album back in '95, and he called me one night out of the blue just to say that he really loved the album. It was a thrill for me, because I was a big fan. I was an Outlaws fan, I was a Henry Paul Band fan. And I love Blackhawk, too. So when he called, I was really, really touched that he did that. And then we ended up going to a Bruce Springsteen concert. He invited me, he had tickets to a Springsteen unplugged show, and so I went with him. And so we kind of hit it off on a personal level, as well as musical level. And so I've been writing with him and Dave Robbins. And we wrote 'One Love,' and Blackhawk recorded it for their Spirit Dancer album."
  • Ken Block and Henry Paul have often been told their singing voices sound alike, and even they recognize that fact. In the case of this song, they used it to their advantage to record two separate versions. Explains Billy, "Somehow their paths had crossed and Henry and Ken had talked about how people say that their voices sound a lot alike. And so Henry played him the acoustic version of 'One Love,' and Ken really dug it. And it wasn't like we all sat in the room and wrote it together. But Ken wanted to turn it into a Sister Hazel song, and so after Henry, Dave, and I had written it, Ken added a bridge, and then changed just a few things lyrically to make it work for Sister Hazel. It's one of my favorite cuts."
    Which version is better? Completely subjective. Blackhawk's version has "more mandolin on it, and it's slowed down a lot. The Blackhawk version doesn't rock as much as Sister Hazel," says Billy. "But they're both really good. But I play the song out almost every time I play, I play it out, and it's a favorite when I do the writer shows." And when he plays writer shows, by virtue of the fact that it's solo acoustic shows, he tends to play the softer Blackhawk version; but he does add in Ken's bridge, and "I think I try to use more of the rockin' attitude that Sister Hazel's recording has. But when I pitch the song to country acts, I still use the Sister Hazel version to pitch, usually. Because it's just got so much energy." (Read more in our interview with Billy Montana. We also spoke with Ken Block and Henry Paul.)


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