"Love Me Like You Did," the lead single off Bloomington, Ind.-based Americana band Nick Dittmeier and The Sawdusters' forthcoming album All Damn Day, features a lead character who totally gets what George Strait says to his ex in 1991's "You Know Me Better That."
Both songs are the country music equivalent of a drunken, late-night phone call to a former lover with an impeccable record collection to gripe about a new flame's less than cosmopolitan tastes.
Dittmeier, a wordsmith inspired more by Ernest Hemingway than Ernest Tubb, offers rich details about his leading man. "It's a story about a guy falling in love with a younger woman, but there are things he misses about a previous relationship," he says. "The narrator doesn't have the same history he had in a previous relationship and the age difference brings riffs in little stuff like cultural differences."
In this case, "cultural differences" mean the younger woman doesn't quite get the appeal of Townes Van Zandt, Shotgun Willie or Little Feat--just three decipherable influences on the Sawdusters' heartland rock riffage meets classic country storytelling approach. It's not just the story of a man narrow enough to judge his current partner for her musical taste, as his ex really does seem to better understand vices and strengths that have nothing to do with country and Western.
Dettmeier and bandmates JP Payton (guitar), Rev. Bob Rutherford (bass) and Mark Wayne Minnick (drums) tell such a vivid story on this and nine other album tracks that the singer finds himself reminding potential fans that he's not necessarily singing about his own experiences.
"I've been booed a few times, primarily by women, when giving the lead-in story to the song in a live setting," Dittmeier adds. "All I'm doing is explaining the story, not endorsing the action. It probably doesn't help that I start the banter with 'This song is about leaving my wife for a younger woman.' Which is correct as far as the story goes, but it's just that--a story."
All Damn Day, the follow-up to 2016's Midwest Heart/Southern Blues, arrives Oct. 26.