Next Year's Girl: The Influences Playlist

I write a lot of songs based on my life and my feelings. But you know what inspires me the most to write? Other music. Great music. If I hear a new album or artist that I can’t get enough of, I get this feeling in my core telling me, “I need to write RIGHT NOW!” Of course, this can also happen with songs and records that I’ve known for years. One day, something will just hit me slightly differently than it normally does, and I’m off to the races.

I am an Apple music subscriber. I enjoy checking the “For You” tab each day to see what kind of playlists Apple’s algorithms think I would enjoy. I’ve been seeing a bunch lately that artists themselves are putting together of their biggest influences. So I decided to create an “influences” playlist of my own, just for fun. These are the songs, sounds, and artists who inspired me to write Next Year’s Girl.

Some of them are very direct influences – I covered “For What It’s Worth,” so naturally, the original version by Buffalo Springfield was highly influential to me. I wrote “Next Year’s Girl” as a sort of sequel to “This Year’s Girl” by Elvis Costello. Kacey Musgraves’ ballad “It Is What It Is” tells a “friends with benefits” story, and in my song “Going Through the Motions,” I play devil’s advocate to her laissez-faire attitude.

Other songs and artists were referenced during the recording process. “Long Time Gone” by the Dixie Chicks helped us to re-imagine the groove of “Perfect,” which was giving us some problems in the studio. I don’t know how many time I said to various band members, “play it like the Stones would play country.” And a general mantra of mine at all times is What Would Tom Petty Do?

Of course, there are about a zillion other songs, records, and artists who have had huge amounts of influence on me, but these are the songs that I was listening to, getting excited about, and talking about during the making of Next Year’s Girl. So without further ado and in no particular order… Happy listening!


1.     Stockholm – Jason Isbell

2.     Tangerine – Led Zeppelin

3.     It Is What It Is – Kacey Musgraves

4.     Country Honk – The Rolling Stones

5.     This Year’s Girl – Elvis Costello

6.     And Your Bird Can Sing – The Beatles

7.     The Mercury – The Turnpike Troubadours

8.      Railroads – Holly Williams

9.     Wildflowers – Tom Petty

10.  Like a Rock – Jennifer Nettles

11.  All the Time – Elizabeth Cook

12.  My Songbird – Emmylou Harris

13.  For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

14.  Long Time Gone – The Dixie Chicks

Link to playlist on Apple Music:

Posted on March 18, 2016 .