All of Your Stones

All of Your Stones

When The Steel Woods wrote and recorded All of Your Stones, the cult favorite Nashville-based band had no idea of the circumstances under which they’d release the album. Their guitarist and principal songwriter, Jason “Rowdy” Cope, died unexpectedly at the age of 42, just months before its scheduled release, shrouding the LP in a fog of grief. Despite their tragic loss, the remaining members were determined to release the music, which has taken on new meaning. “This was [Rowdy’s] record,” vocalist and guitarist Wes Bayliss tells Apple Music. “Because there’s so much on there about him being maybe in a dark place and just coming out on top.” Sonically, the album builds on the gritty Southern rock of the band’s earlier releases, channeling classic acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd (whom they cover, alongside guest Ashley Monroe, on “I Need You”) and featuring the kind of heavy country music that’s tailor-made for a jam-packed dive bar. Below, Bayliss walks Apple Music through several of All of Your Stones’ key tracks. Out of the Blue “It’s a song about waking up and realizing that you didn’t know that you were ever going to come out of the blue. But it’s all about just getting better and whatever your struggles might be, or your issues, coming out of a dark time or a dark place. That’s one that I talked to Rowdy about when we were in the studio, about making a couple changes. I wrote a verse and a bridge, and he said, ‘Well, I liked that, but this is my song right now.’ I understood right away what he meant. And then, I went on to say that this was his record, because there’s so much on there about him being in a dark place and just coming out on top. So, I think that the song sets the tone for the whole record.” Ole Pal “I’ve said a couple of times that all my best friends from my childhood and whatnot are still alive, and I wasn’t writing about any one person in particular. And so, it’s crazy how that just came out. And then, suddenly, it does have such a place on the record now. When I initially started writing the song, we had been watching The Wonder Years on the bus. So, Winnie Cooper’s older brother goes to war, and he doesn’t come home. And Kevin really, really thought he was the man and looked up to him. And so, that was really who was on my mind in the beginning of writing that song.” I Need You (feat. Ashley Monroe) “That may be my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd song, for whatever reason. I’ve been covering that since I was 16, just over and over in every band I ever played in. So, I guess I wasn’t tired of it yet. And that happened to be the one that, when Ashley comes out and she comes to a show, and we ask her to get up, that’s just what we did the first time that she ever came to see us. And that’s what we continued to do. So, when the question came up to get Ashley on the record, that was a no-brainer.” Run on Ahead “Before I lived in Nashville, I lived around Mobile for, I don’t know, five or seven or eight years or something. And I played and gigged around there and got to know Ross [Newell] pretty well. And I’ve always looked up to him as a writer. In the last few years, I’ve always said I need to write a song for my kids. And so, anytime I start down that road, I stop myself and go, ‘Man, what are you doing? You’re not writing that song, or you’re writing too close to that song.’ I just gave it up and called Ross. I was like, ‘Hey man, I’m cutting your song. I’m not asking you; I’m telling you.’ And so, yeah, I’ve loved it since I first heard it. I made a comment the other day that we’re not as close as we used to be, mainly because I’m still mad at him that he wrote that, and I didn’t.” All of Your Stones “Rowdy brought this one to me. And I kind of listened to it, like paying attention and trying to listen. But it wasn’t until we got to talking and looking at it later that I was really diving into the song. How many people right now need to have a song to keep them going, or to say, ‘Look at what I’ve done with all that’s been done to me,’ or whatnot. And it’s not a pity party in any way. It’s a song about perseverance and overcoming all the obstacles that might be put in your way—and picking up the rocks that are thrown and doing something with them.”

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