There’s no shortage of great music being made in Texas, by Texans: from slide guitars to 808s, from accordions to distortion pedals, the tapestry of Texas includes the traditions of George Strait, Pantera, UGK, At the Drive-In, and Freddy Fender. Today’s burgeoning artists are tomorrow’s legends, and on the Daily Post’s song premieres, artists explain why their latest tracks are worthy of your time and attention.
This week, Wichita Falls native (and current Austinite) Ali Holder brings us “Feel Alive,” a whiskey-soaked piece of sad country-influenced songwriting that recalls Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams. She has more like it on her six-song EP From My Veins Will Fall, out September 18—but first, she tells us about the song below.
Texas Monthly: Can you walk us through the songwriting process on this song?
Ali Holder: There are two different songwriting methods I’m prone to—one being very strategic, where I show up to write and hope the muse visits, and the other is more of a channeling. I am passionate and in the moment and if I don’t get it down, then it’s gone forever. This song was very much the latter. The words and the melody came at the same time. I just felt so much coursing through me from a visit to New York. It reminded me that I am alive and in my late twenties and that I need to do things every now and again that shake my paradigms.
TM: When did you know that this song was finished?
AH: It’s just an inherent feeling. I’m not one to over edit my songs. Perhaps it would be better if I did, but it doesn’t come natural to me. Having a structure helps. For instance, this song is: verse, half chorus, verse, full chorus, bridge, full chorus. It doesn’t need anymore, structure wise. I have been trying to write shorter songs that are most concentrated on one idea at a time. I felt as if I had made the points I wanted to in the story of the verses and the theme of the chorus.
TM: Is this the best song you’ve ever written?
AH: This is a loaded question! In my efforts toward growing as a songwriter, I am always hoping the next song will better than the last. I am still emotionally connected to this song, and still enjoy playing it so I think it’s on the short list for sure.
TM: What do you think people should be doing while they listen to this song?
AH: As long as people are finding a connection to it, it doesn’t really matter what they’re doing. If someone is consoled or if this song moves them, that’s all I can hope for.
TM: If you had to compare this song to a food, what food would that be?
AH: Whiskey and ginger ale.