Joy Williams and John Paul White of The Civil Wars wrote this song in the studio behind Williams' Nashville house on a warm summer day with the windows and doors open. She explained that it "is a sweet lament, of loss and the belief that you'll never be able to love anybody else again."
The song was inspired by one of the Letters of Note, which Williams found on Twitter. She explained: "(I) was struck by the title of a letter written by a famous physicist named Richard Feynman: 'I love my wife. My wife is dead.' A little over a year after her death, he wrote his wife a love letter and sealed it. It was written in 1946, and wasn't opened until after his death in 1988. He ended his note to his long-lost wife with 'Please excuse my not mailing this - but I don't know your new address.'"
When Williams and White were recording the song together, they could hear crows cawing in the background which Williams named Edgar, Allen and Poe. She said: "This recording and performance of the song is the first and only in existence, a work tape recorded simply on my iPhone."
"Piano Man" was inspired by Billy Joel's time playing at a piano bar in Los Angeles. The "real estate novelist" was a guy who always talked about writing a book, but spent all his spare time in the bar.