Coming off a critically acclaimed record like Temptation, seeing myself change as a young woman, and identifying as someone learning what it takes to make art, stand out, seeking and finding true individualism had changed me. I was no longer interested in the way Nashville did things and I had tasted the world outside of that view. I had gained respect outside of Nashville but had also been given respect from Nashville. I was seen to them as not quite one of them, but not discarded by them, and an always invited, welcomed outsider.
So the time had come to discuss with my current partners a new record, how to approach it and what we were setting out to do. By this time, the guys had decided to open a label. It wouldn’t be in Los Angeles but back in Nashville where I was so anxious to leave. I knew in my heart what was going to happen. I could feel it. They leased a big historic building on Music Row, staffed it with all of the powers to be, hired Brent Maher to run it, Jim Mazza was the CEO, and it goes down the list from there. They wanted to sign me and make a record with Brent again, but they had succumbed to the Nashville rash. They told me they wanted me to record something they could get on the dreaded, country radio. And they wanted to establish themselves as a “cool” alternative label in Nashville. And anybody who knows Nashville knows that alternative is not a word they care to understand or embrace. Nashville’s alternative crowd consists of Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakum, k.d. lang and yes, I fell in there somewhere. But if it’s hard to convince the country radio boys to play it, you’re fucked. You might as well be singing to the cows in the pasture sipping on homemade moonshine getting tight alone. They will take a dollar bill quicker than something that might conjure thought, principle, or artistry. The alternative bunch has the respect of Nashville but they will never be given a membership card.
Oh GOD I thought. I just had an outsider dream of a critically acclaimed cool ass record with TEMPTATION and these clowns wanted a “hit” on country radio. It was a dud from the beginning. Well, that’s harsh. I don’t make duds. I make good records no matter what, but that’s not the point. The record was a miss because I was stuck on my “swing” success and wanted to continue it, and they did not. I played along, tried to keep my record as cool as I could, but it got away from me. They simply would not allow me to cut what I wanted to cut, so we made a mish-mash studio record. It’s not terrible, there are good songs on it but it was not the record I wanted to make. They spent a lot of money on it, paid for a tour, tour buses, but it wasn’t me. It wasn’t going to work. I wanted out and they were going to get me out. I was starting to put notches on my belt and they all were named a record label. If I didn’t have a place to go in Los Angeles, then I would head north to NYC. I told them I would not make any more Nashville records. Since Mercury was still distributing what they were now calling Magnatone Records, I asked them to take my contract to Danny Goldberg in New York and allow me to move forward and do something else. They reluctantly agreed, knowing they would own any next record I made anywhere, anyway. I met with Danny, and he told me he felt I had something to say, to get busy and write some songs. So that’s what I did. I started writing songs.