Numbered Doors

Numbered Doors – Release Date September 23, 2014
It’s fair to say that songwriters spend a good amount of time in motel rooms.  We arrive late - after a show.  We stare into the trunks of our rental cars wondering what we can safely leave out there in the parking lot and how many instruments we can carry up the stairs without making two trips.  We always bring the guitar of course – because motel rooms were made for songwriting.  
A lot of songs have been written in motel rooms.  Of course we know we are there to get some sleep before driving to the next gig.  But it’s sometimes hard for a songwriter’s mind to find rest in that room.  Think of all the stories that started or ended in that room.  Think of all the feelings given into and the ones ignored.  All the gossip that room could spit out about all the strangers that have come through.  Ourselves included.   The love made, the promises, the lies, the turning points and last hopes, the prayers. 
Makes you want to write a song – doesn’t it?
If Lorraine and Massachusetts were personal records – Numbered Doors is more inspired by those lingering stories.  Stories of people I know and characters that I - and my co-writers - have invented.  Stories of people I can identify with and people I don’t understand at all. 
March 12 & 13, 2014 Mark Erelli and I booked some studio time to make an EP of 4 or 5 new songs that I wanted to get out.  We decided we would sit side by side at Chris Rivals Middleville studios. We would play them and sing them. Together and alone.  Just like we do for almost all my shows.  Two days seemed like enough time to get it done.  But we got all 5 songs that first day.  I was driving to the studio the second day figuring Mark would suggest some overdubs or we’d start mixing when he called me to say – “why don’t we just record 5 more songs and call this thing a record?” And so we did.
Numbered Doors – song by song
Written by Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Jesse Walker
Published by Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI), Warner Tamerlane Publishing Corp (BMI), Songs of Crazy Girl Music (BMI), Better Boat Music (BMI)
I wrote this with Liz Rose and Jesse Walker at 11 o’clock one night in Nashville.  I think it was the third song of the day.  Inspired by another song that Liz and Jesse had started.  They played the song for me and the verse line “all the time I’ve wasted on you” was all I could think about after I heard it.  “Let’s write that!” I said and here it is.  Written by three day-weary and wine-drunk women – all defenseless when it comes to a song – who will all pick writing another one over sleeping any day of the week.
Written by Lori McKenna
Published by Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI)
It’s fair to say that Numbered Doors is a story song.  I don’t know how to really explain where that story came from – other than to tell you – it was not from me.  I tried rather hard to avoid writing it in fact.  As much as I love sad songs – sometimes even I draw the line.  I spent three days cleaning my kitchen trying to ignore that simple little melody.  When I finally gave in – it only took about an hour.  The song is always smarter than me – it always seems to know what it wants to say and I just have to get it as right as I can.  This song haunted me.  So, once the other 9 songs were recorded and held up next to one another, Numbered Doors was the song that seemed to link them together. 
Written by Dean Fields and Lori McKenna
Published by Toe the Line Music (BMI), Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI)
Dean Fields is a good friend and great songwriter.  When he’s traveling through the Northeast to do his shows he often leaves time to write a song or two with me.  Dean mentioned this title and I loved it right away.  Everyone loves a good cheating song – throwing the friendship in there was icing on the cake for me. 
Written by Lori McKenna
Published by Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI)
I like to think of this song as a prayer.  And I do believe it – that we are not meant to be alone.  Yet we all feel lonely sometimes – don’t we?  This song started with a chord progression that I always fall back on and a mumble in my dining room while I watched dinner cook on the stove.  Sometimes those songs have to write themselves.  I remember yelling to my husband, “is this too simple” – and he said “maybe, but keep on going”.  I didn’t burn dinner that night – but it was close. 
Written by Lori McKenna
Published by Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI)
My iPhone notes are full of song titles – some are good – some are terrible.  Some titles are typed in the middle of the night when I’m half asleep  – some are typed discreetly during a conversation with a friend that I should be paying better attention to – and somtimes I have my kids type them while I’m driving.  My 13-year old daughter doesn’t even blink when I hand her my phone and say “type ALL A WOMAN WANTS into my notepad”.  She knows what’s happening in my head.
Written by Drew Kennedy and Lori McKenna
Published by Thumbs Down Music (BMI), Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI)
This song started early one morning – the 2nd day of a two-day writing run with the incredible Drew Kennedy.  The first verse seemed to throw itself at me and then I hit a wall and didn’t understand what it wanted.  Drew came in – and mentioned that he wanted to write a song called “Rose Of Jericho”.  And somehow those two separate thoughts found one another and seemed to get along pretty well.  Drew cut this song beautifully on his record “Wide Listener” released September 2013.
Written by Ben Fields and Lori McKenna
Published by Sleepless Light (BMI), Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI)
I only met Ben Fields about 30 minutes before we started writing this song.  He came in with a piece of a song that hit on that part of love that I am always interested in – the tough part.  On top of that it felt like a good-ole country song.  We pushed and pulled at it until it shaped into the story it became.  I love the characters in this song.  I see them so clearly in my head and I feel for them.  These two could be the before or the after of a lot of love stories. 
Written by Lori McKenna
Published by Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI)
This song started with the question – WHAT IS A GOOD MARRIAGE?  There are probably a million different answers to that question and this is mine. My favorite love songs are the ones that tell the whole story – the un-pretty and the beautiful parts.
Written by Brandy Clark and Lori McKenna
Published by House of Sea Gayle Music (ASCAP), Highway 508 Songs (ASCAP), Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI)
I arrived early and sat in the Mel Tillis writing room at Universal Publishing in Nashville one morning anxiously waiting for Brandy Clark and watching her live videos on you tube. This song was inspired by a story she was telling while introducing one of her brilliant songs.  Brandy and I both know this woman – but to each of us it’s someone different.  
Written by Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose
Published by Hillarodyrathbone Music (ASCAP), Songs of Universal Inc (BMI), Hoodie Songs (BMI), Warner Tamerlane Publishing Corp (BMI), Songs of Crazy Girl Music (BMI)
I am very blessed to be part of a writing group called LOVE JUNKIES.  The three of us hold up in Liz Rose’s house and write songs for 3 or 4 days at a time.  We start early in the morning writing in pajamas while drinking coffee and end late at night in blue jeans while drinking red wine.  This song came over coffee one morning.  I was kidding around playing a G chord and complaining “the dog is barking, the coffee is cold, and I didn’t sleep last night”… that’s all Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey need to start a beautifully-sad-yet-somehow-hopeful-country-song. 
Numbered Doors – Produced by Mark Erelli
Recorded by Chris Rival @ Middleville Studios
Mixed by Chris Rival and Mark Erelli
Mastered by Dave McNair
Artwork by Mark Erelli
Design by Mary Hooper @ Milkglass Creative
Hoodie Records / Liz Rose Music