Behind the Lyrics: Georgia Nevada & Emma Moore - Saving Grace
In this series of ‘Behind the lyrics’ I’ll be taking a closer look at what makes certain songs have the ability to take us deeper than just enjoying the bop! I’ll be looking at a wide range of country music artists, from Billboard toppers to the undiscovered and unsigned. I’ll uncover the story between the lines and highlight where the lyrics are special, unique or generally making me say “I wish I’d written that!”.
Georgia Nevada & Emma Moore - Saving Grace
This month I’ve taken a look at a very recent new duet from the powerhouse combo that is Georgia Nevada and Emma Moore.
The press release blurb says “Together, Nevada and Moore have created a celebratory soundscape of female friendship, mirroring their own experiences of fun, support, and the kind of honesty you can only ever get from a best friend (or unforgiving mirror!).” I fully support that, this is a straight talking, tell it how it is song, and it’s good to celebrate these songs. With its immediately sing-a-long anthemic chorus, this song delivers.
We don’t need to wait for the chorus because we are told the summary of the song in the opening line
“Bar room bar stool confessional booth”
The whole song is right there in a neatly packaged lyric. I can see the place, and we can imagine the conversation. Do we get to hear the gossip? Well let’s see.
I had the opportunity to ask Georgia and Emma about their writing process and how the idea came about. Within the lyrics sent to me they unwittingly revealed something very important about their process, but you will have to read to the end to see me reveal it!
The first half of Verse 1 is acapella, and we are treated to a strong alliterations with “Bar… bar…booth” and “secrets, sharing” Brave when singing that with all those plosive and ‘s’ sounds hitting the mic.
We are then treated to a very tasty guitar riff which punctuates the song a couple more times later. I’ll let you know now too, that there is a blistering guitar solo after the second Chorus. I’m really glad to hear these coming back into our songs again. Not a moment too soon in my opinion.
The second half of verse 1 continues with the alliteration theme with “spillin’... sippin’... tickin’ ”. The classic country trick of dropping the ‘G’.
The chorus summarises their great friendship where no topic is off limits, and “punches are pulled”. They have really hit the mark to capture a “comfortable, accountable kind of friendship” in their words.
Nice use of repeating phrases to round off each half of the chorus with the title neatly sitting at the end:
“From the cradle to the grave
My sounding board and saving grace”
Classic punchline title, as I like to call it. That shows confidence that you don’t always need more and more different lyrics; repetition is helpful for the listener to learn the song quickly and make the whole thing catchy.
One of the early things I noticed was that verse 1 and 2 are quite different in their approaches. Verse 1 is very literal and Verse 2 is more image and metaphor based.
They did admit to me that they struggled with what is known as “Verse 2 hell”. This is a common issue for a lot of songwriters, in that you write a killer Verse 1 and then Verse 2 becomes a mountain to climb, because you are unsure how to top what you've already got. That said, I think the song works really well with the two styles. .
By Verse 2 we already understand the setting of the bar, so the use of some clever observational lines and interesting metaphors totally works. Her companion is compared to black coffee, further expanding with a play on words with “filter”. I love the references to fluorescent lighting (great observational lyric), exposing the visual truth, exactly what their unheard conversation is doing as they are sitting on their bar stools.
Let’s step away from the lyric to discuss how it was written. Georgia told me that it began as a zoom conversation, and from what I can gather ended as a writing session in person which I was reliably informed was fuelled with a little coffee and whiskey, especially in solving the Verse 2 construction!
They also said they made a conscious effort to not write the lyrics with all the juicy details, which actually leaves us to imagine the real conversation! Our version of the details is as wild or as tame as our own minds decide.
I asked how they went about crafting the lyrics:
“We listed a bunch of ideas, with phrases, words & feelings we felt related to female friendships. Emma is very literal in her songwriting whereas Georgia is more metaphorical. Finding the balance between these two styles was a really interesting creative process.”
Now if you remember I discovered something about the lyrics, which I think could be an exclusive (remember Scarlet River PR broke this story!)
Their first lyric was not perfect
That’s right, you heard me! Well of course it wasn’t, no lyric ever is. How do I know?
Georgia kindly sent me the lyrics, but on listening to the song on Spotify I noticed that the last line had changed from:
“Before I make it there myself” to the improved “I could not admit myself”
Let this be a lesson to all inspiring lyric writers. The perfect lines you hear on the record probably did not magically fall from the sky or the writer's mouths without edit. As they say you don’t write a song, you rewrite a song.
Hugh has over 20 years experience as a songwriter and creative collaborator. Personally mentored by Kinks frontman Ray Davies, and a year at the London Songwriting Academy. Find out more here.
Bar room bar stool confessional booth
Holding secrets, sharing truths
I’m your front row, first in line
Call me up in the middle of the night
Tea spilin’ whiskey sippin’
Never notice the clock tickin’
He said, she said everywhere
Unfiltered thoughts devil-may-care
We share home truths and punches pulled
Play the lines and take no fools
From the cradle to the grave
My sounding board and saving grace.
We take turns as Judge and Jury
Instigators, blameless parties
From the cradle to the grave
My sounding board and saving grace.
My morning pick up, like black coffee
Filter me when the devil’s got me
Thinkin’, twistin’ all the bad things
‘Bout the world and all its sins
More real than fluorescent lighting
Dressing room truth there’s no hiding
You reflect what I suspect
I could not admit myself