It’s no secret that the bedrock of Nashville is its community of working musicians, those hard-touring, lean-living artists who struggle and strive to have their music heard, often without any record-label support. Instead, they rely on their fellow players, teaming up for joint tours, local showcases and recording sessions. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and one that is on display on The Day We Lost the War, the new album from Nashville singer-songwriter Zach Schmidt.
The record, released today, features some of Schmidt’s closest musical pals, including the buzzed-about Aaron Lee Tasjan and vocalist-songwriter Kayla Schureman, from Schmidt’s native Pittsburgh. Tasjan plays guitar throughout the album, and on “Dear Memphis,” Schmidt and Schureman trade verses. The song is a love letter inspired by Schmidt’s encounter with a Texas rancher. (Listen to the track below.)
“Tom was a cattle rancher and had been for most of his life. He told me this story about how he was working in Mexico and his wife was living in Memphis at the time with some family. He would write her letters everyday and at the end of every letter he would say, ‘Sincerely, I love you,'” Schmidt says. “I wanted ‘Dear Memphis’ to reflect a letter back and forth, just like the story Tom told me. I got my longtime friend Kayla Schureman to sing with me, to represent letters being exchanged. A few months later I had the chance to go work for Tom on his Texas ranch and, thankfully, he enjoyed the song.”
Schmidt’s album The Day We Lost the War is out now. He’ll return to the road next month for an East Coast tour.