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"Inside the Box"


A few years ago, I heard that an artist who was notorious for recording drinking and party songs was looking for some new songs for an upcoming record and he was specific in saying that he didn't want any drinking songs.  I thought that was a bit strange considering his track record.  I mean, he built his career on those types of songs and I wondered if something had changed for him.  Maybe he had arrived at a different place in his life or just maybe he was slowing down a bit from the hard rocking lifestyle that he had been living for so long.  Whatever the case, it gave me an idea for this song, The Man My Momma Tried To Raise.  Unfortunately the song wasn't finished in time to pitch it to that particular artist, so I decided to put it on my own CD.


I can't tell you how many times I've played this and the audience thinks that it's about my own life.  So much so, I finally starting telling the story of where it came from.  This song doesn't reflect how I was raised or how I live or have lived my own life.  It's not about me at all… but the more I've played it and the more I've paid attention to my own writing, maybe it does have a little something to do with me after all.  I think that deep down, I've always wanted to live the kind of life that my mom and dad would be proud of. For the most part I think I've done that, but it's an everyday kinda thing.  I think we all strive to be the man that our mommas wanted us to be.  There's a special bond between moms and sons that can't hardly be described.  No matter how old I get, I'm still her baby boy.  I will say that since my own son arrived, I've kind of taken a back seat!  haha  


I don't drink as much as I used to drink back in my younger days, I don't stay out all night raising the kind of hell that I've been known to raise, Guess i'm finally coming round, finally slowing down even though I still feel younger than my age, it looks like I'm finally trying to be the man that my momma tried to raise...


I was never much of a drinker or "hell raiser" as the verse goes.  Not to say that I haven't had my moments, but at the core, that's not who I am or ever was. And I can't say I'm exactly slowing down either and I do feel younger than my age.  In my head, I'm still a lot younger than I am.  I think maybe it's because of a good number of younger friends who are also performers or in the entertainment industry.  Or maybe life is too short to be so serious?  That might be it! Haha


Well I made my peace with Jesus the day we laid momma in the ground, first time in years I'd stepped foot in that church outside of town, the preacher took me by the hand, told me about a man who's forgiveness would never ever fade, he said "boy don't you think it's time you tried to be the man your momma tried to raise"


Ok folks…my momma is still alive and well.  Matter of fact, she once said she didn't like this song because people would think she didn't raise me right and on top of that, people would think she was dead!  I reminded her that this song wasn't about me…didn't help. I still don't think she likes it!  haha


I've heard so many artists say "I grew up in the church…that's where I learned to sing."  I grew up in church too and my daddy taught me to sing the high harmonies.  He was a good harmony singer, good tenor and also a good musician.  Most anything I know about music came from him.  My parents also taught me about Jesus and the importance of having a relationship with Him and also staying in church.  And I have.  I couldn't imagine where I would be if it weren't for those conversations I had with my parents about Christ and the support I've had from the church.  It's not a perfect place by any stretch of the imagination, but it's helped keep me grounded and given me an outlook on life that I wouldn't trade for anything.  I could never imagine my life without my faith.  Forgiveness and relationship are beautiful things!


I've hurt my friends and hurt myself, put those who loved me through a living hell, never seemed to care at all when they were here, I'd blame everyone for my own mistakes, you could almost hear her poor heart break, but she never gave up on me, even through the hardest years


Who hasn't been there?  I've got plenty of regrets…things I can look back at and see where I made the wrong choice, where I hurt the people closest to me.  We've all had those moments. Can't change them. Can hopefully learn from them. And aren't moms like that?  Seems like moms never give up on their kids…even the bad ones! Actually, it's the ones that are hardest to love that are probably the most loved.  That's a good momma.


Now I'm older and I'm wiser, and my hair shows a shade of gray, there's not a day goes by I don't wish I could go back, try and undo a few mistakes, but I live with the regret of things I can't forget and all the words she'll never hear me say, like I'm sorry you never got to see the man you tried so hard to raise, oh I sure hope someday I'll finally be the man my momma tried to raise


Well, I'd like to think I'm older and wiser.  Definitely up for debate. And if anything, I think I'm losing more hair than what's turning gray.  Haha  You know, I don't know if there's too much I would change if I could go back.  There's a few things I'd be tempted to change, but I don't know if it would be wise.  Originally this line went a little like this...


there's not a day goes by I don't wish I could go back, try and undo a few mistakes, but in a way I'm glad I can't because it takes both the good and bad just to make me who I am today, and I'm doing my best, trying to be the man my momma tried to raise...


I think we all learn from our mistakes.  Or at least we should learn from our mistakes and I've always thought it's our imperfections that help make us perfect.  I don't know, that might not make much sense to you guys, but maybe you get where I'm coming from.


I've had so many people come up to me after a show and talk to me about this song and what it meant to them. One night a sweet lady and her friend came up with tears in her eyes and she told me about her son who had not spoken to her in years.  She told me how she prayed for him every night and desperately wanted to sit down with him and tell him how much she loved him.  After another show, this guy came up to me in the alley behind the venue, long hair, tattoos, big guy, scary guy that took me off guard.  He walked up and said, "that song about momma…that really hit me right here (beating on his chest). I just wanted to tell you that."  I never really know what to say in those instances. To write a song that really touches someone, as a writer it doesn't get much better.  That's the goods.

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