Dallas singer/songwriter Ronnie Fauss took the long way around the barn when it came to developing his career as a musician—he was already a father with an established job in the Dallas business sector when he started taking songwriting seriously. But now that he’s embraced music, he’s got something to say. 

“I’ve always written songs,” he admits. “As far back as third grade, I was writing about the little girl in pigtails down the street who broke my heart. I’ve had piles of notebooks in my closet, but I wasn’t doing anything with them. But I went through some pretty significant things over the last few years—some pleasant and some unpleasant—and I felt like those experiences actually gave me something worthwhile to say.” 

Fauss is saying his piece with an album on Normaltown Records—an imprint of New West Records, the label that Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, and Kris Kristofferson all call home—that’s out in November. And while he’s had a lot to say as a songwriter, you can also get a glimpse of Fauss as an interpreter below, in his rendition of Phosphorescent’s 2013 single, “Song For Zula.” That song is a sad tale of love and escaped zoo gorillas, and Fauss strips away the electronic sounds to find its country heart. 

“I’ve been a big Phosphorescent fan for a few years. I discovered them when they released the Willie Nelson tribute album To Willie,” Fauss explains. “‘Song For Zula’ was probably my favorite song of 2013. After a while I started hearing different things you could do with it—I started having all these ideas about different tempos, instrumentations, a different interlude, etc.  So I brought it to the table when we started working on this new record.” To take a listen to exactly what Fauss brought to the table, play “Song For Zula” below: 

(photo courtesy Ronnie Fauss)