Kentucky-based singer-songwriter Fate McAfee began his music career busking on the streets of Austin, Denver, New Orleans and Nashville, where he became a keen observer of the human condition. The stories he witnessed helped shape the songs on his forthcoming album Diesel Palomino (out on March 1).
But the album's title track, which Wide Open Country is premiering today, draws heavily from McAfee's own life.
McAfee says the song was in many ways inspired by his father, a poet and war photographer.
"The song began with the chorus melody, I was driving around one day and started humming it to myself. I asked a friend what they thought of it, worried that it was too similar to something else. They told me that it sounded like lots of other songs, which motivated me to write the verses in a style that could only be from my perspective," McAfee tells Wide Open Country. "I had been thinking for a while about my father and his effect on my life, and how I hadn't acknowledged the ways in which I was carrying his pain. My inability to reconcile how his detrimental habits led to his passing had disaffected my personal relationships, and I felt as though I would repeat the pattern if I didn't address it. It is a very personal song, but I think there are universal themes of self-awareness and perseverance that stem from the long-term effects of tragedy and loss."
McAfee says the song quickly became a cornerstone of the album.
"The title track, in many ways, helped the album come together as a whole. I didn't have a name in mind for the record at that point, but after writing 'Diesel Palomino,' I realized it was going to be the heart of the album," McAfee says. "I wanted to arrange the other songs around it in a way so that it became a pivot point emotionally; to have the songs preceding it building up the theme and intensity, and the ones following it to be a type of respite or consolation."
Listen to "Diesel Palomino" below:
For more information on Fate McAfee, visit here.