Why I Used the F-Word in a Song When I've Always Been Such a Clean Artist

Below is an email thread between me and a fan who was upset after hearing the f-word in my song "Hello, Lou" off the album Passages. He graciously said I could post our email exchange as I thought it might be helpful for others who had the same concerns. 

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Thanks for reading, 

Love, 

   Aaron

P.S. For more posts like this and other things I think you'll find relevant, join the Aaron Espe Loves You Club. 

When I was growing up my family didn’t own a TV, so one year my dad rented one for the Winter Olympics.

We got it from Frank’s TV and Repair. It looked like the kind science teachers would wheel into classrooms on days when they showed videos about corral reefs.

I don’t really remember watching the Olympics so much as I remember having a TV. Because honestly, it was kind of unbelievable. We were a family known for not having a TV. In a small town, that kind of thing is attached to your identity. Kids would make fun or ask questions like, Have you ever seen a movie?

Looking back, I wonder what sort of sales gymnastics my dad had to perform in order to persuade my mom to let a TV in the house. I’m pretty sure she was anti-TV because she was anti-worldly influence. With the Olympics, she let every country right into her own living room.

Actually, technically speaking, the TV was in the dining room, propped up on a wooden chair facing the living room. My guess is that my mom didn’t want to rearrange the furniture. Didn’t want to let that TV get too comfy. Didn’t want us thinking there was a chance we’d transition from a TV-renting family to a TV-owning one.

 (Espe and Moline kids watching TV. Not exact replica of situation, but you get the idea.)

(Espe and Moline kids watching TV. Not exact replica of situation, but you get the idea.)

All this reminds me that the Olympics isn’t just about athletes achieving seemingly impossible feats. To me it’s also about regular folks like my dad doing some pretty impressive stunts themselves. I mean, the odds were pretty much zero that the 1980 US ice hockey team would beat the Soviet Union.

But they did.

And to get a TV past my mom and into her own living room (slash dining room), the odds for my dad were pretty much the same.

But he did.

 

Thanks for reading,

Love,

   Aaron

P.S. Join the Aaron Espe Loves You Club for more posts like this and other goodies. 

Part of My Plan

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One day I found myself writing a song with Phillip Phillips and Tim Bruns, two guys whose work I’ve always admired. 

It’s an unspoken rule in Nashville cowriting that if you’re the new person, you’d better bring a decent idea to the table (it’s terrifying). I decided to lay my heart on the line with an idea I really cared about. A song about my wife that I initially thought I’d try to finish myself.

After nervously strumming my Silvertone acoustic and singing what little I had, I waited for what I’ve come to learn a lot of us songwriters wait for — laughter. Or something along the lines of, “That’s terrible…you SUCK!” (More on songwriter insecurity at a later date.)

Well, thankfully Tim and Phillip didn’t mock me. They even resonated with the idea. The thought that, often times the only “true north” we have, if we’re lucky, is a partner in life. A witness to your everyday, and you a witness to theirs.  

I’m glad I didn’t hold on to this fragment for myself, because over the next few hours (lunch break at Mitchell’s Deli) Phillip and Tim helped build it into something more complete and beautiful then it ever could have been.

On top of that, it would never have been sung and delivered the way Phillip does so perfectly on his new album Collateral.  

The song? It’s called “Part of My Plan.” Thank you, Phillip and Tim for helping put this one down on paper. And, Phillip, thanks for showing this one to the world and (side note) giving me the honor of producing it in my humble backyard studio, Crowd Goes Mild.

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Phillip at Crowd Goes Mild.jpg

Love, 

Aaron

P.S. Join the Aaron Espe Loves You Club for more posts like this and other goodies.