Nicholas Mudd grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, surrounded by horse country and lush farmland, and Mudd found himself immersed in country, southern rock, and traditional folk music. It was evident from a young age that he had inherited his grandfather’s musical interests. Leonard Mudd, now 95, always had a collection of guitars, mandolins, fiddles, dulcimers, and banjos sprinkled around his home, and still manages to make music from time to time.
His first proper studio recordings make up his eponymous debut album and draw on inspirations such as an epic motorcycle trip across country, criss-crossing state lines and camping out to save money it was a pilgrimage, if you will, from Lexington to Los Angeles taking in Memphis on the way. It’s this taste for adventure and roving out that informs his album. And no more so than on ‘Sailing Song‘.
Nicholas Mudd spins a fine tale of the song’s conception and the wild tale it embodies: “I started writing this song a couple of years ago, on a boat actually. I was pretty heavily into sailing at the time (I have a little sailboat in Marina del Rey named Afterlife). I was listening to a lot of nautically themed folky rock ’n’ roll at the time – Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers, stuff like that – And I wanted to write a ballad in that style. The story follows a broken-hearted guy with an old boat who decides, “Fuck it, I’m just gonna take off and see where I end up.” In hindsight, it’s a bit of an allegory of my life at that time. Anyway, the dude catches a nice wind off Ensenada, stops in at Catalina Island, and then rides her all the way to Hawaii. He meets a girl there and settles in for a bit, but eventually, as wanderers are prone to do, he takes off again looking for whatever it is he’s looking for. He has a real bitchin’ hell of a time, survives some big squalls with massive waves ( I’ve seen mountains on the sea) and big lightning storms ( I’ve seen fire in the sky), but eventually makes it down to Cape Horn. The crux of his journey then, as he’s sailing around the most perilous spit of water on Earth. The weather clears up, the sea calms, and the steadfast Southern Cross looks down on him from the heavens. And in that clarifying moment, he realizes that he’s already found, and already abandoned, a person and a place where he’d been happy. So rather than heading out across the Atlantic, he tacks North and heads back toward the girl he left in Hawaii, vowing that if he makes it he’ll never leave again.”