“String Bone and musician/producer Jay Riehl, team up for the latest offering, a catchy tongue-in-cheek country-blues ditty great for dancin' in the kitchen while doing the dishes or the housework.”
About the song A Lot More Better
Sometimes we blurt sayings out without remembering the actual phrase and we get the words a bit mixed up. Well this song’s seed came out of a night on the town at their local pub, Foster’s Inn in Stratford Ontario where Barry was having a drink and chatting with friends.
Pub favourite, employee Chris V, had signed off for the night and was sitting at the bar when the conversation turned to the hockey playoffs. Knowing the Penguins were behind 3-1 in their first round series, Payne asked Chris how his Penguins were doing, to which Chris replied loudly and emphatically, “they gotta do a lot more better!”.
Well, Payne snickered knowingly and then snuck that little nugget into his phone’s notes app to use for inspiration at a later date.
A few weeks later he wrote the main lyrics to the song, but never finished it until a few years later in a planned writing session with friend Jay Riehl in early November 2020.
He pulled out his lyric book and flipped to the page and started to laugh while re-reading over his lyrics from three years earlier. At which point Jay was asking, “what’s so funny”. Payne read the lyrics out load to Jay and the two of them were in hysterics and decided they had to put the song together. Three hours later they had pretty much everything done.
By the time Payne arrived home from the studio, Jay had sent a rough mix with guitar, drums, bass, piano, Payne’s lead ghost vocals from the writing session, which also became the vocals on the record, and BGs.
Payne said, “After listening to the rough, we were like, we gotta put this out. This is a fun song”. Payne attempted to record new vocals, but they just didn’t capture that easy, lazy feel he got laying down the initial melody and spark of an idea on the first session, so they kept the original vocal track.
“Carey Blackwell laid the guitar down a few weeks later, we got it mastered by my friend George in Las Vegas and now it’s out there in the universe and will live whatever life it’s supposed to live”, Payne said.
Called Simple Love, this is a thought-provoking song about the world of over-consumption in a time where greed now rules the day. The simple things in life have been lost to TV ads and shopping malls to the detriment of the middle class and the underpaid working class. Overlords wreak havoc on the earth and the mental health of the population while we sit by and consume more than we could ever need which further feeds their insatiable greed. Co-produced and recorded with Barry's long-time music college friend George Leger III in Las Vegas, this is another look at what's really important during the holidays.
Two Stars Collide
String Bone ft Nathan McKay / Two Stars Collide
Technonaut Nathan McKay and folkie Barry James Payne didn’t seem to have a lot in common musically. Or did they?
McKay is an electronic musician, a Street Producer, or as he likes to call it, “a backpack producer.” He creates wherever he feels comfortable deploying the contents of his backpack—microphones, a variety of cables and cords, and a few different devices that he can attach to his DAW (recording studio in a box) on his laptop—in a restaurant, a park, a bar, a coffee shop, the cottage, the country... you get the idea.
Payne is the architect of Americana/Canadiana project String Bone and approaches things a little differently. Ever the brooding songwriter, he most often embraces solitude to craft deeply personal lyrics that tackle subjects ranging from difficult relationships to social injustice. Combining his thought provoking storytelling with classic melody and
production, Payne tends to labour until a song is complete before inviting other players in. The two couldn’t be further apart: Acoustic folkie creates alone; electronic musician relies on samples and loops to create amongst a room full of strangers. And yet...
When Payne and McKay found themselves working together in 2012 on the music lineup for a community festival in their hometown of Stratford, Ontario, they quickly developed a mutual respect for each other’s tastes, which ranged from folk, punk and rock to dance, electronic and drum&bass. Many conversations ensued over meals and meetings as they bonded over a combined 60-plus years of making, distributing and promoting music. Naturally, the topic of collaboration came up occasionally, but it took until now for that proposition to finally bear fruit.
They both say that their first session together was magic. Feeding off each other, the energy in the room was dynamic, light, fun, energetic and freeing. Within three hours they had given birth to their first song, “Two Stars Collide,” best described as a folk dance epic. The success of the first session quickly spawned another that was equalling compelling culminating in a Lana Del Rey-inspired dark ballad. More sessions followed and they realized they were closing in on something special - exploring this musical concept: “what if an alt.country artist went to a rave?”, yielding their own take on a Folk-Pop-Electronic hybrid.
To that end the duo are releasing three different mixes of Two Stars Collide, one with a focus on Folk-Pop, the second will be an electronic-dance mix and the third a guitar driven Alt.country jam. Can they all live in the same space? The way people are listening to all kinds of music today, Payne and McKay think they can.