This song began with me scribbling down the phrase ‘forty acres deep’ one day.
On a map, forty acres are flat. But when you come from my rural roughneck background, “forty acres deep” connotes being in debt to the bank, being isolated, being in a position where you’ve committed to something so deeply you can’t escape it.
I wrote the earliest drafts of this song using a Telecaster and a fuzzbox/overdrive pedal. I was trying to learn power chords and write a rock song. I had this vision of a man driving to the center of a farm field and pitching a diamond ring into the wheat. It got to where there were something like fifteen verses. I worked on it for a while and let it go. Mainly because it just didn’t feel right, me trying to sing in a rock style.
A few years later, my friend Evan Middlesworth shared a riff and rhythm track he’d recorded and wondered if I had any lyrics to fit it. I immediately thought of “Forty Acres Deep.” I slashed and burned the lyrics, cut them back to the bare unforgiving bones of the story. Then instead of trying to sing like someone I’m not, I just went with the darkness, and sang in the mind of yet another farmer losing yet another farm, and–even more importantly–the price paid behind the scenes by the rest of the family.
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