SongWire — Can't Get Over You

Can’t Get Over You — Featuring Trysh Hill & Danny Stevens (vocals). Written by Davis Branch, George Irwin & Katie Pappas. Produced by Casey Henderson at Westwood Studios George Irwin at SongWire Studios in Nashville, TN.

Inspiration & Writing Process

“Can’t Get Over You” is a song that has taken a bit of a journey since Davis Branch, Katie Pappas and I got together in Davis’ basement with his dog, Reagan (not credited), to write one morning. The process always gets started a little differently: we might pitch song titles to each other, someone might start playing a progression or a riff that inspires someone else to start improvising lyrics, or someone might have a first line ready to go. Or one of the writers may be in the midst of experiencing some strong feelings that we talk about and shape into a song.

In this case, we pitched titles, but none resonated with the three of us, so I started looking for a groove on the guitar, and everyone vibed when I started playing the main progression for this song. It had kind of a heartbreak tone to it, so based on that feeling, we brainstormed more titles and settled on “Can’t Stay Over You.” Now, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice is a little different from “Can’t Get Over You”—and maybe more interesting—but “Can’t Get Over You” is the hook that made sense for this song in the end.

We talked about a break-up story, and the feeling of wondering what your ex is up to, and that lead to a first verse that we ended up cutting from this version of the song: I been wonderin’ / where you been / I been askin’ / all your friends / They all say you been movin’ on / Give it up, man, she’s already gone, alright?

We then wrote the chorus (more or less as-is) and another verse, which we made the first verse when we decided to make the song a duet.

Of course there were other bad or misfitting lyrics that we considered during the process, and in the interest of showing a little more of that writing process, here are some discarded or edited lines. This hurts me to share, btw, but share it I will so you know we don’t just spit out gold all the time. 😉

Can we try this again, a fresh start
Go back to when we were friends, we were two hearts…

LAME

I’m just a face you used to love, I’m just a heart you’re letting go of, tonight
I’m just a face you used to know, I’m just a heart you’re letting go, I know…

OUT OF CHARACTER / DIDN’T FIT

I was blindsided, so in love
Couldn’t see where you were coming from
You asked for some time but it hurt so much

NOT A STRONG ENOUGH PORTRAYAL OF A WOMAN.

We wanted to write a modern, strong female character who isn’t just waiting around for her ex to come home, so in the second verse, So blindsided by what you said / I’m not ready to talk just yet, she’s sticking up for herself while still allowing for some hope in the song.

About the Recording

THE ACOUSTIC VERSION
This recording is the result of a humongous, asynchronous collaboration. Katie really pushed us to demo this one, and on Davis’ suggestion, I recruited our artist and co-writer friends Danny Stevens and Trysh Hill to sing. After a quick rehearsal, we got together with engineer Casey Henderson at Westwood Studios, where I tracked a couple acoustic guitars and then Danny and Trysh laid down some killer vocals. They were fun to work with and really gracious about me asking them to get into character and to “just sing it right!” (j/k).

So then Casey sent me those tracks, which sounded like this:

FLESHED-OUT TRACK
I then took the acoustic tracks and fleshed them out in Logic X with the programmed bass and synths that Davis had started during the writing session, and added some drums with the Logic Drummer. At that point, it sounded like a decent sketch of a song, but I knew it needed something else. So I added live electric guitar and reworked the drums, but I still couldn’t get the mix to pop.

THE MODERN TWIST
That’s when I sent what I had to my longtime friend KoolBreeze and asked if he might want to contribute a beat. He sent back a remix sketch and a beat stem. I chopped the beat stem (a track of just the electronic drums) into a few loops, and incorporated those along with some of his filter ideas into my final mix, finally replaced the programmed bass with a live bass track, and dug into the arrangement. I think it worked.

Can’t Get Over You (G. Irwin, D. Branch, K. Pappas)