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Ragland Set to Release New Album “Guardian” on September 2nd

Ragland Guardian Cover Art

Ragland are proud to announce their fourth album “Guardian” on September 2nd.  The ten-track album was recorded in Tahlequah, OK, produced and mixed/mastered by Hank Early.  Ragland has released three tracks off the album titled “I Think I Love You Too Much”, “Better To Be Lonely”, and their latest “What Happened Mama”.  Before the album’s release, the band is scheduled to release a fourth single featuring Sunny Sweeney titled “Throwing My Life Away”.

 

“Guardian” is available for pre-save at https://presave.io/t/guardian/

Ragland are currently on tour in support of the upcoming album.  Ragland’s tour schedule can be found below:

To prepare the audience for the album’s release, Ragland has shared with Music City Memo the inspiration and stories behind the songs selected for the album. 

 

  1. Go Back to Bed San Antonio

 

One morning we were driving through San Antonio at around 5AM and we were surprised that there was already traffic backed up to get onto the highway. From where we are from there usually isn’t traffic at all, let alone at 5AM. Sam was driving and he just casually said, “Damn, go back to bed San Antonio.” I loved that line. I immediately knew I wanted to put it into a song.

 

Later that day we were on the beach and Sam started to play the guitar line that you hear consistently throughout the song. I kind of just took the guitar from him and expanded on it. I wrote the first half of the song that day.

 

The first Covid lockdown hit while we were on the road during that same tour we were already on. We drove through San Antonio around the same time in the morning on our way home and the roads were almost completely empty. It was really eerie. I ended up writing the second verse with inspiration from the gossip we were hearing about how the pandemic was going to play out.

 

So in the first half we’re asking them to go back to bed and just chill the hell out. Then in the second verse we’re telling them they better just go home and get comfortable there because this illness is sparing no one. I thought it was interesting that the line worked for both concepts.

 

  1. I Think I Love You Too Much

 

I don’t even remember writing this song. I do remember Sam and I standing in the kitchen after a really rough patch in our lives, and just realizing that I was giving so much to him that it was destroying me.

 

Our daughter Ali, who was 4 at the time, used to always say “I love you too much!”. I kind of realized when she said that one day that that’s how I felt. Like I just loved Sam too damn much. That’s obviously not possible or true, but I needed to find a balance in between who I was personally, and who I was as a wife. I had kind of lost myself in just giving myself to everyone else for a while.

 

I knew that no matter how badly Sam hurt me, I would still stick around. That’s not healthy. I was completely dependent on him, and I think it was really screwing us both over. You can’t expect someone to be everything for you or you are going to be let down 100% of the time.

 

It’s easy to interpret this song as a classic break up song, but it’s really just a matter-of-fact description of how my heart and mind were operating at that time in my life.

 

  1. What Happened Mama

 

This is another one that I don’t really have a recollection of the time and place of it’s origin. I was going through a really rough patch in the relationship with my mom. Growing up we had always been best friends and inseparable. I was a new mom, and at the same time she was in a very abusive relationship that kept her isolated from friends and family.

 

I felt abandoned and extremely lonely. I had no one to call to ask simple things like, “Is this medicine safe to give to a 5 year old?”. Or “how do you make homemade gravy?”. And I also had no one to vent to. I felt like Ali was lacking a Grandma, and I felt like I was lacking support.

 

I didn’t know how it had all fallen apart so fast, so this song was my way of putting that emotion out there.

 

Sam spent 12 years in foster care and never had an understanding of why his biological mother left things the way she did. They’ve had a few instances where they talked or spent time together in his adult years, but it never worked out they way he had hoped. I couldn’t seem to write a good second verse for this song so I asked for his help. I knew if anyone could relate, it would be him. He pretty much finished the song for me.

 

  1. Couch Surfing

 

We left Stillwater one morning after a gig and I was feeling pretty down on myself. I felt like my music career was going nowhere. I felt like I wasn’t even talented enough for that to be an option. I was in between homes. We were sleeping on couches and bumming food wherever we could.

 

I truly felt like the only thing I was good at was living a really rough lifestyle. It seemed like I could find a good sofa to sleep on no matter where I was, but I couldn’t make money or catch a break. I’d never written a song with this vibe before. It just kinda came out in a ten minute time frame. I climbed into the back seat of our car and wrote this while Same was driving us to our next destination.

 

  1. Throwing My Life Away

 

I truly feel like this song is very self explanatory. I wrote this song about being a women in the music industry, but I feel like a lot of women in positions of power can relate to it. We are never taken seriously or given respect no matter what we do. There’s never a happy medium and there’s never a right way to act. Somehow we are ridiculed no matter what we do.

 

This was actually written with the song I’m Still a Guy by Brad Paisley in mind. I used to love that song, but the older I got I just rolled my eyes at it. There’s so many ways to be a man. And there’s also a lot of perks to being a man. That song just started to annoy me. I’m over here struggling to stay alive and you’re complaining that you have to hold a purse for your woman? Get outta here.

 

I spent a few days on this one. I didn’t give myself much room to write the words, so I had to be very specific with the ones I chose. I’m probably most proud of the lyrics of this song than any song I’ve ever written.

 

Having Sunny on this song is literally a dream come true. There was no one more perfect to have on this song and I’m still in shock that she said yes to it.

 

  1. Better to Be Lonely

 

For some reason I come up with a lot of song ideas in the shower. I had been playing with the phrase ‘better to be lonely’ for a long time. Years, actually. One night I came up with the melody while I was washing my hair, and then finished writing it as soon as I got out of the shower. The song sounds romantically inspired, but really, most of the inspiration came from platonic relationships.

 

  1. Guardian

 

During the first Covid shut down, Sam and I got a call about a 4 year old little girl named Ali who needed parents-to put it plainly. She had ended up with my aunt for a couple of weeks, but my aunt was in bad health, so she was trying to find somewhere for her to go. My aunt asked us if we wanted to try her out and we said yes. Her biological family really wanted her to have the chance to have young parents that could be fully invested in her in a way that they couldn’t.

 

Sam grew up and aged out of foster care so it had always been our plan to foster to adopt someday. We weren’t having any luck starting a family, and we figured we would have more time during the lockdown than we ever would to be able to get to know her. It wasn’t our plan to start that journey at that time, but Ali had other plans.

 

So she came over for a trial run and then she never actually left. We then started the long process of becoming certified foster parents. I wrote Guardian the first time that I ever signed paperwork that said “parent or guardian sign here”.

 

I was like ‘What the fuck am I doing?”. I was in love, but terrified. The song, in my eyes, plainly states the fears you go through when loving a child that could be taken away at any moment. It also holds the words on what it’s like to become a parent out of nowhere and have no clue what you’re doing. I was grabbing at air trying to find something to hold on to that would make the experience feel safe and steady for her and for us.

 

From the beginning we decided we were just going to love her like she was ours until she couldn’t be anymore. We just wanted her to stay as long as she could, but we didn’t know what that would look like on a day to day basis.

 

Pretty soon it started to feel like she was always meant to be ours no matter what. We were fighting to keep her with us and keep her safe. It was a long and terrifying battle that we are all still healing from.

Eventually, after 19 long months of intense labor, she legally became a Ragland.

 

  1. I’m Not Mad

 

There was a brief time in 2020 that Ragland went on a hiatus. I was too tired to put my everything into something that continuously wrecked me. The relationships I had built through music were gone, my love for music had fizzled out, and I was just fucking exhausted from traveling constantly.

 

Sam went ahead and continued touring and I stayed home with the kid. I got a “real job” and played a lot more local shows. I was trying to play music in a way that felt more comfortable to me and didn’t have any actual stakes attached to it.

 

Truth is, Sam and I don’t do well when we’re apart for too long. At one point, I drove all the way to Nebraska to go play a shitty gig in the same town he was in so I could see him for one night. When I was 11 minutes away from where he was, the lyrics of this song came to me. I recorded the melody onto a voice memo in my phone and then finished it on my acoustic the next day when I was alone again.

 

We were fighting a lot because we were straight up tired of being away from each other. I was mad that he wasn’t home and I was taking it out on him.

 

The chorus of this song is just me crying out how I felt. I didn’t think it needed any more words than exactly what I was feeling. It’s just a rare, love song. The kind I don’t usually write.

 

  1. Remember Me

 

I’m a songwriter. That’s pretty obvious. So when a songwriter died during Covid and I had no idea who he was, but literally everyone else did, I was surprised.

 

I got to thinking that if I didn’t know who that guy was, then no one is going to know who I am when I die. I’m just going to be forgotten.

 

I was in the car coming home from somewhere and I decided to listen to some of the songs that guy had written. When I got home I was about to bust open with this song. I wrote it in about the same time it takes to sing it through one time.

 

  1. Guns in the House

 

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life. I didn’t have the best childhood and I’m sure that’s why.

 

Every once in a while I start to feel really messed up. At one point I was starting to feel that way and had absolutely nothing and no one to blame it on. I realized in that moment that I needed to seek out help. I was miserable and trying to gain the courage to off myself. I didn’t want to be here anymore. My career and my family were suffering for no reason. And so was I.

 

I booked a doctors appointment and they confirmed that ‘yes ma’am, you are sad’. Sam came with me and they established him as my “safe person”. They let him know I need to be taken to the hospital if I get too bad and they told him not to keep any guns in the house. I was also prescribed some antidepressants.

 

I wrote this song as soon as I got home from the appointment that day.