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Subconscious soundtrack: One of JD Nash’s new singles ‘comes from a dream,’ songwriter says

JD Nash has released several new singles since the beginning of 2021. (Courtesy of Isla Porras)

JD Nash dreams music.

Songs sometimes come to him as a soundtrack when he sleeps. The New Mexico alternative folk/alternative country musician blends reality with metaphors to create his work. “Shock Therapy” is a prime example of Nash’s songwriting style.

“The song, it comes from a dream,” Nash said. “Sometimes when I have dreams, I have really vivid dreams. I can hear a soundtrack to it, or I’ll wake up and remember the ideas of it and be able to write something and put it to music. And so this was a song just came out very quickly after a dream. It was kind of just a very vivid dream about making mistakes and, you know, continually kind of just being in a rut and making those mistakes over and over again.”

“Someone Special” is Nash’s take on a track that may have been included in an ’80s movie. The song was written with Albuquerque recording engineer, producer and songwriter John Paz.

“(I) just kind of had an idea in my head, like, I want to write a retro song that kind of resembles the songs you would hear in, like, an ’80s movie scene, like, where they’re at a party and you kind of have a guy or girl that kind of just wandering around the party confused and dazed, trying to find themselves,” Nash said. “… There’s montage scenes that are that are in my head when I think of it. And it had to have a saxophone part. This song, in particular, was actually produced by my friend Edgar Wonder. And he found this sax player who tied everything together. I just channeled in some vibes and a scene of somebody searching for someone special.”

The song “Cali Comfort” was inspired by the chill California vibe and a free spirit named Kelly whom Nash met about 10 years ago while on tour with his former band, We Were Born As Ghosts. Musically, Nash channeled the Rolling Stones for the song.

“Just one day in California, outside of LA, we’re just wandering around, and I just ran into somebody, and her name was Kelly, and I just kind of hung out with her for a little bit,” Nash said. “And she was very free-spirited. And I was kind of channeling this idea of a free-spirited person that’s willing to kind of run and travel across the world and give up everything versus somebody like (me). I have a very rigid personality when it comes to home. … Everybody loves California. It’s beautiful. It’s got great weather, but for me, you know, Albuquerque is home, and I can always travel and go to other places if I want. So, yeah, it’s kind of about this person I hung out with but also personifying California a little bit. Like a little free-spirited and full of sunshine and good weather.”

Another experience on tour influenced the lyrics in the song “Dreamcatcher.” The song features a slide guitar line, and the melody has a hint of Led Zeppelin.

“The themes are really about just, I don’t know, kind of some struggles in my 20s,” Nash said. “I feel like I have a lot of friends that deal with drugs and alcohol as musicians, depression. So that’s kind of like my take on navigating through all of that. And being able to kind of flip over, I guess, turn a new leaf over and see things from a different point of view, learning to see things more positive.”

In “Dreamcatcher,” Nash mixes ideas of metaphor with actual events. The lyrics “And when the road melts the rubber straight through, it’s time to slow down just for a little bit” are derived from an experience in Oklahoma City in 2011 when Nash was on tour with the band Rawrr and the tires on the band’s trailer began to melt.

“When we got to Oklahoma City, I think it was, like, 105 degrees with 90% humidity,” he said. “It was just miserable. And so the heat plus the humidity was causing our trailer tires (to melt). The tread was sticking to the to the blacktop. I mean, we seriously tried everything we could. We had to get to the next city, where we could get a cheaper tire place. We were driving at night only. And we had duct-taped the tires. On the trailer, we come to find out they were non-radial tires. I learned the difference between radial and nonradial tires, and nonradial, they’re not good for high temperatures.”

Nash’s new singles were mixed and mastered by Chris Common and produced by Wonder. Jon Paz served as recording engineer. The singles are available on various platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify and Nash’s YouTube channel.

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