Check out the new single from New York band The Sweet Things. ‘Ain’t Got Enough Room (In My Heart)’ is a bluesy country ballad about failed romance and broken relationships. The song steadily builds to it’s emotional climax with additional instrumentation and sweeping backing vocals from Dana Athens and bassist Sam Hariss carrying us along. On guitar, Tobin Dale heads for the cosmos with some brilliantly melodic solo work. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Dave Tierney’s performance is excellent, drawing the listener in with his low, understated voice sounding like an intimate conversation about his deepest feelings, but then rising all the more powerfully as the song progresses and those emotions come out. Hector Lopez beats out a powerful rhythm while the depth provided by the piano and organ from Rob Clores (The Black Crowes, Jesse Malin) and Dave Eggar’s (Paul Simon, Patti Smith, Pete Seeger) cello fill out the song.
The video was filmed on various locations around Montauk and those fleeting images of the sea and motels evoke feelings of nostalgia, but also solitude and loss as we see each of the band members alone in their own lonesome motel rooms. Tierney says of the video: “The video concept is definitely a bit inspired by the Rolling Stones song, ‘Memory Motel’, which makes a short cameo in this video.” For more information about the song and video, check out the Q & A below.
The single is the third taken from the brand new album ‘Brown Leather’, which dropped on 3rd June. Recorded at FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, where the likes of Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin made music, the Matt Chiaravalle-produced record is a powerful selection of well-crafted songs that show rootsy rock and roll is alive and well. The Sweet Things describe their sound as: “…twangin’ bangin’ country blues, bluesy country and Southern rock and roll.” And, with a touch of something cosmic and some soulful balladry occasionally thrown in, that’s about right. This is one to lose yourself in. Enjoy.
Q & A with Dave Tierney
‘Ain’t Got Enough Room (In My Heart)’ is a moving and sad rock ballad, with standout lyrics like: “Find another place to put all your stuff // Find another place ‘cause this one’s all filled up.” Can you tell us what inspired you to write this one?
Our producer Matt Chiaravalle actually came to me with most of the music for this one already written. He didn’t know where to take it, so I wrote some lyrics and started messing around with melodic ideas. The chord progression felt like it had a George Harrison kinda vibe to me, but I figure George Harrison already wrote enough George Harrison-style songs for the rest of human history, so I tried to take it in a different direction. I was listening to a lot of Waylon Jennings at the time, so I think I brought that kind of attitude into the song a little bit. This song was pretty much written in the studio; I remember at one point I wasn’t sure how to sing the vocals in the bridge section, so I just gave them the full Bob Dylan Nashville Skyline treatment, and I think that came out pretty cool.
Sonically, the song has the dream-like and wide-open feel of ballads by the Stones and Allman Bros Band. It also shines a light on the band’s new lead guitarist, Tobin Dale, whose guitar lines underline the song’s sadness. What are your feelings about how the song turned out?
I love Tobin’s playing on this song. He manages to communicate all the things you just can’t say with words. His playing is so evocative that often when I’m trying to think of video concepts, I’ll be listening to the song and his solo will come on and I can just see an image in my head that we can then build around. He must have really taken it personally when Stella McCartney’s dad said to take a sad song and make it better.
Congratulations on the video, which you directed with Scarlett Thiele, the actress and film director who has noteworthy credits at IMDb. How do you know Scarlett and how did the idea for the video come together?
Scarlett is my girlfriend. We met on Tinder, which is like a boring/lamer version of Grindr. We’ve been together for 3 years now, so if we didn’t start directing short films together the relationship would probably start to get stale. She’s seen all the right Italian and German Films, and I’ve seen all the right French and Czech films to make us both insufferable to talk to at parties, but I think that all cancels out well to make us a good directing team. We were looking for a way to visually express the themes of isolation, loneliness, and estrangement. Putting Sam, Tobin, and I all in the same place, but at the same time all completely by ourselves and not interacting with or even seeing each other felt like a compelling way to illustrate those ideas.
What inspired you to shoot the video mostly in a motel room out on Long Island? Montauk?
The video concept is definitely a bit inspired by the Rolling Stones song, ‘Memory Motel’, which makes a short cameo in this video. I actually went to Montauk for the first time about a year ago. I never realised how cool and kind of weird Montauk was, and the idea just kind of grew out of the experience of that trip. I also love that even though Montauk is over 100 miles away, it still feels very much like an extension of New York City. The place we went for breakfast on the last day of shooting had egg cream and potato pancakes on the menu.
At the end, you walk into the sea, as if resigned to the death of the romance. Can you tell us what that scene is meant to communicate and what was going through your mind when you actually shot it?
Don’t we all get the urge to just walk straight into the indifferent infinite embrace of the Atlantic Ocean from time to time? I did grow up real close to it though, so maybe that’s just me. Sam’s character rides off into the sunset, Tobin is magically transported away, and I decide to take some initiative and make a change. Our ancestors decided to leave the sea around 400 million years ago. Maybe that was a mistake. When we were filming that scene, I was thinking I would just keep walking until I didn’t feel safe and then I would come back to shore. But, it was like 40 something degrees that day, so my body went kind of numb and I got a bit hypnotized staring out past the waves and into the horizon. I almost forgot that I wasn’t really doing it for a second, but that’s probably just an expression of my superior acting abilities, or maybe because I read the Wikipedia entry about Stanislavski before we started filming.
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