AMA: “What Inspired the song ‘Back to the Beginning’?”

As I write this, it’s snowing big flakes here in Nashville. It reminds me of the snow I imagined when I wrote “Back to the Beginning.” Tsiaro, a listener in Madagascar asked me what the inspiration for that song was, so I think now’s a great time to answer.  

Hi Aaron ! I’m Tsiaro from Madagascar and I listen to your songs! My question is: Did you have anything in mind when you wrote “Back to the Beginning” and if yes, can you explain the context?

Hi Tsiaro – 

Thanks for listening to my songs. Speaking of, many songs aren’t just mine. I write quite a few with other people. I wrote “Back to the Beginning” with my friend Eric Knutson. 

Before we wrote the song we were talking about his growing up in Alaska. I grew up in Minnesota, and there’s a lot of similarities between the two. The cold, the conifers, the reserved culture. So the scenes and imagery are inspired by our respective childhood memories. The relational elements are mostly made up, but loosely based on our own experiences both as fathers and as sons.

People have written to me a lot about this song. One person went so far as to tell me she didn’t think it sounded finished. She even sent me a final verse she wrote as a suggestion! I kindly declined, but thanked her for being so thoughtful. For me, I like that it doesn’t resolve. If it did, it might remove that longing feeling the song gives you. A bit of ache in the chest. As listeners we relate to wanting to go back to the beginning. We tell ourselves we’d do some things differently, we wouldn’t take certain things for granted. But we also know life doesn’t work that way, so we do the best we can moving forward. But the ache still lingers. 

Thanks for asking, Tsiaro.


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