The making of Brad Cox’s third album was a technological feat. With COVID preventing the singer-songwriter from leaving his home in Central Queensland to attend the recording sessions in Nashville, Cox spent night after night on Zoom watching the musicians record, his iPad taking an audio feed straight off the recording desk. “From memory, the sessions started at 11pm [Queensland time] and went through till 9am,” he tells Apple Music. “There were some long nights sitting in the dark, drinking by myself! Brandon [Hood, producer] and his team made it feel as close as anyone could to me sitting in a chair next to him. I’m very thankful for that.” Once the music was completed, Cox recorded his vocals at a Queensland recording studio. Featuring co-writes with some of Nashville’s most acclaimed songwriters, including Jeremy Bussey (“One Like You”), Jordan Walker (“How Bout We Don’t,” “Beau in the Back”), and Adam Craig (“Now She Ain’t,” “How Bout We Don’t,” “Beau in the Back”), Acres’ 17 songs merge Cox’s authentic mix of country music and rock ’n’ roll with his pop songwriting sensibilities and love of storytelling. Here, he talks Apple Music through a selection of Acres’ highlights. “Beer and Fishin’” “Pretty self-explanatory. I like beer and I like fishing, so we wrote a song about it. The steel guitar at the start sets the tone, and then it’s four-on-the-floor straight off the bat, there’s no fuckin’ around, the album’s on.” “Now She Ain’t” “It’s not specifically about my partner, but I think most people who have had a bit of heartbreak, it gets tiring, and people get burned out and they try and work on themselves and all the clichés. This one was inspired from my partner not having to do that anymore. [She] found the one and it all worked out in the end.” “One Like You” “I was on Zoom with [co-writers Anthony Smith and Jeremy Bussey], and Anthony pulled out one of his good opening lines: ‘This ain’t the first time that I’ve had to go find the whiskey to help me get through.’ And I was like, ‘Everyone, put your ideas away. That’s the one, let’s write that.’” “Them Things” “It’s the same kind of concept as ‘Beer and Fishin’,’ it’s a fun song. With those two songs I’ve gone, ‘Right, think about what the festival crowd is going to sing off this next album. You need some fun shit, man, that’s who your crowd are. They love you for your authenticity, but when they’re drunk at a festival, what are they going to sing to?’ And the idea came out of all the stuff that I did as a teenager or in my early twenties, going to a festival and headbutting the concrete with my mates.” “Old Time’s Sake” “[Co-writer] Brice Long is the quintessential tall, skinny American cowboy. He has the energy of a guy who tips his hat to the girls and asks the party of the girl if he can dance with her. This one is about running into an old flame, and now that you have that picture of Brice, it’s definitely that kind of song—a little bit sexy but very respectful.” “Acres” “This was written during COVID, and it was after we’d bought a bit of land [in Central Queensland]. And I’m so disgustingly in love with the place and the cows that I own. And that’s why it’s the title track. It’s made me realize that to do what I want to do with music, I need to enjoy this place, the relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s so autobiographical.” “Wildfires” (feat. Ian Moss) “A bunch of years ago I spent a bit of time going to work as a rural contractor to make some more money. I started to notice a bit of a pattern in remote little towns of no young people, three out of four pubs had closed, 20 percent of shops on the main street had ‘For Lease’ signs in them; almost the demise of little towns. It’s not a specific story, it’s more of an attitude and an observation.” “Memories and Whiskey” “It’s a reflection on heartbreak. I’m pretty good at writing heartbreak songs! It’s a really beautiful song.” “Letter Home” “A very dear friend of mine in Brisbane bought a house, a very beautiful old Queenslander that needed a lot of work. It was a labor of love over 15 years. He [only] had a little bit of concrete left to pour before he was finished, and the house burned to the ground. I felt so gutted. This was probably the only song on the record where something happened and I had to go and sit down and get this out. I wrote it in 10 minutes. The only thing I could think to do is tell the house how I feel. That’s what the song’s about. It's a letter to an inanimate object.” “Old Skoolin’” “The big pop number! I think we’re losing a bit of…I don’t know if chivalry is the right word, because we don’t live in a world where that’s probably accepted anymore, but people being nice to each other. Opening a door for a lady is a gesture of respect, not misogynistic. And I was raised that way. And I think we’re losing a little bit of that, because people have decided there’s a different meaning behind it other than just being a nice person. So it’s a bit of a nod to that.”

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