Photo by matt mccaughan

Photo by matt mccaughan

Years ago in Sweden at a festival, Megafaun was touring with Nick Sanborn as our bassist and he wanted us to meet his friend Amelia.  She and I were fast friends and eventually she moved to Durham. It never fails, once she opens up her mouth to sing, the vibrations shake me to my childhood.  I still have a memory of recording Southland Mission in Asheville, NC. All the musicians were staying in a rented house together. It was a really special time, made all the better by the camaraderie we built in just a few days.  One night, we stayed up in the living room after a long day of tracking and passed around both a bottle of wine and a guitar, trading tunes. Amelia, after a few rounds of listening and casually joining in on a harmony, said she had a song.  The next next 3 minutes of her unaccompanied voice singing a lullaby in a soft lilting flutter, sent every grown boy in that room off to bed with misty eyes and a grateful heart.
Now that we’ve been performing together for a few years, I knew it was time to write something together. I went to her house one fall morning and we shared a pot of tea in her kitchen and talked about adulting in the modern world.  We talked about the struggle of being in a relationship on the road and the problem of staying present for your partner. At one point, I actually said the phrase “I feel like I’m Miles Away” and she lit up and opened her notebook and wrote it down.  I had some chords ready to accompany and the first verse of the song was finished within 5 minutes. It was a great experience for me. Not only did I leave with a finished song, I left with a renewed vigor for exploring the gifts of my community of friends.  So much talent around me. So much beauty being created everyday. This is how I stay positive in this hostile world.
The version of “Miles Away” on the record isn’t the version we initially wrote.  The band rehearsed an upbeat Motown version and while recording in the live room together, Brad Cook our producer, suggested we just try an acoustic downtempo version.  We were at a point in the studio process where we were feeling good and trying new things. We did just two takes of a slow version and moved on. We didn’t think much of it at the time, but when we listened back a few days later to all the tracks we has laid down, it was obvious that the slow version was making the record.  The only things we added to the live take were Amelia’s voice, a triangle and a slide guitar part.
All of the parts Amelia added to the record were done in just under an hour.  That includes the one take she did of the “Miles Away” outro, which is just masterful to me.  I was sitting two feet from her when she sang it with tears streaming down my cheeks. Her voice is so powerful.  
I’m really thankful for this aspect of the record.  We really made this together in a room. What you hear is how we actually played the song that day.  The sonic space seemed so full with the quartet that I could only add one more element beyond voices to each song.  That made choosing who would guest on a given track easy. I got to write songs that showcase my friends’ strengths and sit back and watch their magic unfold.
This song is for my wife Heather.  She always jokes that I make Amelia sing all the songs for and about her.  It’s true so far.

MILES AWAY

by PHIL COOK & AMELIA MEATH

Miles Away

I Was Miles Away

I Was Miles Away

I Know I’m Next To You Babe

But I Was Miles Away

 

What Did You Say?

What Did You Say?

What Did You Say,

I Wasn’t LIstening Babe

I Was Miles Away

 

I Know You’re Waiting

(When’ll You Come Back Home?)

Where I Wanna Be

(You’ve Been Away So Long)

I Know You’re Ready

(I’m Always On My Own)

You Know I Wanna Be

 

Drifting Away

You’re Always Drifting Away

Drifting Away

Calling Your Name

But You Keep Drifting Away

 

Ain’t It A Shame?

Ain’t It A Shame?

Ain’t It A Shame

The Way I Kiss Your Face

And Yet We’re Miles Away

 

I’m out here Waiting

(When’ll Ya Come Back Home?)

Where could you be

(I Been Away too long)

You’re always running

(You’re Always On Your Own)

Won’t You Stay With Me
 

BRIDGE (octaves)

Where was I going?
Where have I gone?
Where did I get to?
Left the light turned on.
I didn’t mean to
Wanted to stay
But I just wandered
Miles away

 

Miles Away

I Was Miles Away

I Was Miles Away

I Know I’m Next To You Babe

But I Was Miles Away

 

I’m Out Here Waiting

(When’ll Ya Come Back Home?)

Where could you be

(I Been Away too long)

You’re Always Running

(You’re Always On Your Own)

Come stand by me

 

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