Good With Me

Good With Me

“I want all my songs to be anthemic and epic,” Eric Ethridge tells Apple Music. “I want people to picture hearing them in a stadium one day, and create a show that is fit for a stadium. That’s how I’ve modeled my career: If you build it, they will come.” When you’ve got ambitions like that, not even a global pandemic can get in your way: The Sarnia, Ontario-born chiropractor-turned-country-singer and his wife (fellow Canada-to-Nashville expat Kalsey Kulyk) have been driving across North America throughout 2020 to stage socially distant performances on their van's roof. And inside the van is the mobile recording studio that Ethridge installed to finish up his debut album, Good With Me. While Ethridge first caught the ears of country fans with his 2018 tearjearker “If You Met Me First,” Good With Me more vigorously chases those stadium dreams with a collection of uplifting, banjo-plucking heartland sing-alongs that court a wider audience by weaving in trap beats, classic-rock guitar solos, and modern alternative energy. Even when he's pining for the one that got away on “Dream Girl” or sifting through the wreckage of a broken relationship on “No Good Love,” Good With Me radiates a feel-good spirit that will be felt in the last row of the bleachers. “Because 2020 has been such a crazy year,” he says, “I really wanted songs that are upbeat, fun, and make people want to dance—because I don't know if people need any more reasons to be sad right now.” Here, Ethridge gives us his track-by-track battle plan for big-field domination. Dream Girl “'Dream Girl' really encapsulated the sound that I wanted to go for on this record—the production is very clean, it's very slick, it's hard-hitting, but it's also got a great feel to it. This was sort of a serendipitous song for me, because I had the idea for a song called 'Dream Girl' for months and months and nobody wanted to write it with me. And it wasn't until three or four months later, I got an email with a subject line that said, 'Song for Eric: Dream Girl,' and I was like, 'Weird—I've had that song idea for a while.' And sure enough, it was written by Dan + Shay, who had just released '10,000 Hours' with Justin Bieber, and I was like, 'I absolutely love this song—we need to record this, like, yesterday.'” Mess With Me “When we produced the demo of this song, I didn't know if we were going to keep that hip-hop vibe in there at all. But when it came to doing the full production, the producers loved it and the label loved it. Country music is so wide open these days, where it's taking influence from hip-hop and R&B. And I personally love that style—like, when Sam Hunt came out with his first record, I loved some of those production elements that went into what he did. So this was my way of trying to show my versatility as an artist and as a singer and a songwriter, and try to make something for everybody. Some people that are just getting into country music may not relate to the heartbreak songs, but would relate to something like 'Mess With Me,' if they come from a pop or R&B background.” Waves “Lyrically, this is very much in the country lane—every lyric and image alludes to the title, which is a very popular technique in country music. But sonically, it's more epic-sounding. That's a good way to describe what I'm trying to achieve with my sound.” Kiss Me Goodbye “When we wrote this one, I had just been listening to that WALK THE MOON song 'Shut Up and Dance.' I love that guitar riff and the vibe of that song, and I was like, 'Let's turn that energy into a country song.' And I feel like we did a pretty good job of that!” Good With Me “This song was pitched to me by a guy that I write with in Nashville, and ever since he sent it over, I just loved it. When I went in to pick songs with my publishing team and record label, this was the unanimous one—everybody liked the feel of it. Again, I wanted to give people something that was lighthearted and would make people want to dance and make them happy. Every time I hear it, I just want to get up and dance.” Sad Songs “Music has a lot of different functions in people's lives. Some people listen to sad music as a catharsis, as an emotional purge—they want to hear something that relates to how they're feeling. But then other people are like, 'I don't want to listen to sad songs anymore, because they remind me of you,' which is also something that everybody has probably felt at some point in their life. So I think this is a super relatable song.” No Good Love “We were looking for one more song for the record, and my wife was going through some songs she had written during the start of the pandemic. She was just listening to them on her phone, and I was in the other room and I heard the work tape for this—it was just her and her acoustic guitar—and I was like, 'What's that?' And she was like, 'I dunno, it's just a song I wrote, like last week.' I sent it to the label later that day, and it was unanimous—everybody loved the song, and they didn't even hear my voice on the song until the record was produced. We're so happy with how the song came out. In country music, heartbreak and love is something that a lot of people write about. With this particular song, it focuses on one of the stages of love: The couple in this scenario broke up, and this person is at the stage where they're coming to terms with that, and they're sort of okay with it. They're reflecting back on it and realizing it wasn't meant to be.” Out of My League “At least a good 60 or 70 percent of the record reflects what's going on in my life. I had just gotten married, so I was writing love songs every day. And I would always say to my wife, 'Honey, you're way out of my league.' And she would be like, 'Oh, shut up, whatever!' And I'm like, 'No, seriously, I'm punching above my weight class here.' I love the production on this song. It’s got a cool dance vibe to it, but it's also a self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek-type song. I feel like it could put a smile on someone's face and they'll send it to their partner and say, 'Hey, this song made me think of you—you're way out of my league!'” Miss Me “When we were working on the first half of the record, we needed a sad song. And my wife is just an incredible writer, so she sat down for 45 minutes and pumped this song out by herself. I would consider this the follow-up to 'If You Met Me First.' It really gets inside the head of a person who is heartbroken and has been left by the person that they love. It's the mind game that people play when they go through a breakup, which is essentially ‘I'm too proud to come crawling back to you and I don't want you back, but I just want to hear you say you miss me.’”

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