Nashville-based singer-songwriter Ron Pope experienced quite the life change in April 2018 when he and his wife Blair welcomed their first daughter, Francesca Mae Pope. Fatherhood challenged Pope to reconsider his own past failures and successes in songs written as life lessons for his daughter, as heard on upcoming album Bone Structure, out March 6.
New songs Pope wrote with baby Francesca in mind include "My Wildest Dreams," shared today via Wide Open Country as a bare bones music video (different from the previously unveiled and totally adorable animated version). In it, smooth-voiced, Bruce Springsteen-loving Pope reveals his sensitive side while telling his daughter that "I spoke in riddles and in rhymes, but my time with you has taught me to simplify."
Pope struggled creatively early in Francesca's life before he began turning personal stories about a childhood spent near Atlanta and the sordid experiences of a touring musician into the morality tales he'd want his daughter to learn if, God forbid, something happened to her parents.
"In the first few months after she was born, I couldn't write any songs," Pope says. "This is a pretty serious anomaly in my life because I write about three songs a week without fail, and I've done it since I was about 13 or so. It was pretty jarring, to say the least. It's one of the most overwhelming, life-altering things to have a child, but in the first few months, it didn't seem so crazy to me. It wasn't crazy that I couldn't sit down and create. But after a while, I started to get nervous, so I decided to do the most basic thing I could think of, which was to write a song about what I'm doing now--This experience of being a new parent."
After a few duds, Pope's attempts as summing up fatherhood and fear allowed him to stop feeling like "my songwriting muscle had atrophied."
"At this moment, I was the most emotional I had been in my life, and I'm already a fairly emotional person," he adds. "I was crying watching car commercials or crying walking through the Murder Kroger. With the first handful of songs I wrote during that period, they were too syrupy. They didn't feel honest. They didn't feel quite right. When I landed on this song, I thought 'this is what it feels like in this initial period of being a father.'"
Of course, listeners beyond new dads --or daughters of unapologetic softies-- can find ample reasons to connect with not just "My Wildest Dreams" but also previously shared album cuts "Practice What I Preach" and "Take the Edge Off."
Ron Pope 2020 Tour Dates:
Jan. 22 - Minneapolis, Minn. - Fine Line
Jan. 24 - Denver, Col. - Bluebird Theater
Jan 25 - Salt Lake City, Utah - In the Venue
Jan. 27 - Seattle, Wash. - Neumos
Jan. 28 - Portland, Or. - Aladdin Theater
Jan. 30 - San Francisco, Cal. - Great American Music Hall
Jan. 31 - Los Angeles, Cal. - Teragram Ballroom
Feb. 1 - Phoenix, Ariz. - Crescent Ballroom
Feb. 3 - Houston, Tex. - Bronze Peacock
Feb. 5 - Austin, Tex. - 3Ten at ACL
Feb. 6 - Dallas, Tex. - Granada
Feb. 8 - Atlanta, Ga. - Terminal West
April 17 - London, UK - Union Chapel
April 18 - Manchester, UK - The Stoller Hall
April 19 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Melkweg
April 21 - Cologne, Germany - Kulturkirche Köln
April 23 - Göteborg, Sweden - Pustervik
April 24 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Hotel Cecil
April 25 - Stockholm, Sweden - Södra Teatern
April 27 - Oslo, Norway - Parkteatret Scene