The song “All Out” was written sometime after 2011 but before 2013. The lyrics in the 3rd verse is my clue that I was already a dad but I wouldn’t have left out my daughter so I know it was before she was born.
It came at a time when I wasn’t doing a lot musically: just getting better at recording music in our little two bedroom condo in Old Irving / Mayfair neighborhood and digging deep into the catalogs of The Band and John Prine. I was already way into Steve Goodman but was sneaking closer to the pure country songwriter sound that Prine was famous for. It was also around the time I took a John Fahey class at Old Town School of Folk, which I highly recommend.
Anyway, I probably hadn’t written anything new in two years before “All Out” and I went back into a songwriting hibernation again for a few years after this. But I did manage to knock this one out. Life was pretty busy with a newborn and focusing on some career stuff left little time for music.
The basic gist of the lyric was describing the relative thrifty pace of life we were living but always making time and setting aside money for date nights. I think this was the prevailing marriage advice I heard anyway. Once you have a kid, you still have to find time for each other. Before we were parents, we very much enjoyed going out and painting the town. Nights at Paddy Mac’s on Pulaski or Brisku’s Bistro in Albany Park. Naturally then, that was our way of reconnecting with our married life before parenting. Reflecting on that sentiment, I’m still a fan of going out on the town and living a little wild. I hope I never outgrow it.
In times like these when money’s tight
we do the best we can
we eat at home read books for fun
and stuff money in a can
but now and then we spend a little
to break the old routine
and i take my lady downtown
to see what’s to be seen
when… I…bring my girl to town we go all out
we eat like kings, and dance and sing
and laugh and scream and shout
we party like our money’s never running out
cause when I bring my girl to town we go all out
Now what we do is most unwise
or so I’ve been told
For the man who saves his pennies first
will soon find he has gold
but if trading all life’s pleasures
saves me a measly pile of green
well, I’d rather treat my lady right
and parade her on the scene … cause when I …
This one was definitely written on that old Martin D-16 with my best Prine style strumming. Probably listening to a lot of “Spanish Pipedream” (which the band would later cover in the Sessions at West 54th style) and “Please Don’t Bury Me.” There was probably some In Spite of Ourselves spirit in it even if it’s a little faster and younger sounding than that record.
Despite having written this around 2012, I only had a rinky dinky solo demo of it.
That is, until 2018 when the Miles Maxwell band recorded the version you hear released on Nov 17, 2023. The band had played the song steadily at most gigs and knocked it out at a blistering pace.
I’ve had the song mostly in the bag since then. I finally decided to release it because there was nothing else to add. To sum it up, I think it’s a fun and simple little tune with a message I can still get behind. Enjoy!
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