Song: One Drink, One Smoke, One Song
Written by: JonEmery Dodds
Music Arranged by: JonEmery Dodds, Dan Sisson, Monty DeVita & James Blaylock
Players: JonEmery: Vocal, Acoustic Guitar
Dan Sisson: Electric Guitars, E-Bow
Monty DeVita: Bass
James Blaylok: Drums
Tatiana McPhee: Vocals
Engineered by: Mark Stein
Mixed by: Lance Jackman
Mastered by: Gary Fiori
The story of being heartbroken has been the topic of countless poems and songs forever. Its a fevered balance of feeling broken & unbreakable all at once. “One Drink, One Smoke, One Drink” delivers that on the surface, but the story behind the song I have kept close to the chest…
At the time when JE&HB was getting up & running, I had literally just started to write music to my lyrics. I knew 3 chords. G-D-C. I had 100 songs written in a variation of those chords. When approaching players, I would give them a 70 page lyric book of my songs, with a list of other songs that were the musical inspiration. After almost a year of me playing on my own, with practically the same three chords, my first lead player came to me, wanting to help form “The Heartbroken.” He asked me to bring my 5 best songs to the rehearsal. I did, and though nervous as hell, the guys loved what I was aiming for. They were all willing and patient enough to help get me where I wanted to go. After a few more rehearsals, the band was teaching me new chords & chord structures along with basic theory. With every new technique, chord or structure, I wrote 5-10 new songs. I was a machine!
As the year went on, we were building a solid set, a following & booking shows anywhere, anytime. The lead player, was also in another, quite lucrative, band, and the busier we got, the more unavailable he started to become. The “other” band was a jam band, and he was able to express himself, musically. I was a songwriter in the sense, I wrote mostly words, not music. His frustrations were becoming more and more apparent. It wasn’t the music he enjoyed playing, nor was he comfortable playing it. It was fast, loud, unpredictable with the tongue-in-cheek lyrics that were fairly “inappropriate” at times. There was never any animosity about it though. He was Canadian, so the worst it ever got between us, was him apologizing about not wanting to play with us anymore. So, I wrote a song to try and keep him around.
At that time, I had recently been introduced to the “Am” chord. I felt it was what I needed to create a musical bed for the lead player to jam on, plus set the tone for the lyrics. There weren’t many words. It didn’t need many. Only two verses.
My personal life was a bit turbulent. Not only was I desperate to keep our lead player, my love life was fairly unstable and something I have steered clear of talking about for years. The lyrical inspiration stems from the point of view of someone about me. Well, two someone’s about me. For a brief, and I’ll-advised time, I was torn between two women. One was a long term relationship where neither one of us had the communication skills to work through our problems. The other, was a medium term relationship that had everything going for it except for my selfish inability to move on from the former. Individually, we loved each other immensely.
The first verse is about how I would beg & crawl back to the 1st woman during times of uncertainty. Selfishly, I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t work things out. The other relationship was working out so well. “What was I doing wrong!?” (outside of seeing someone else). “Well you told me, you were dying to see me again. I agreed to meet you, with much trepidation. You never showed, but I didn’t wait that long”
The second verse is the 2nd woman rightfully becoming fed up with my cruelty and uncertainty. She had given me everything I wanted. Communication, patience and unconditional, undying love. “Why is this even an issue!?” “I have played these games, too often to believe. No matter the excuse, you know I’m gonna leave. I have waited once, for too long. So from now on.”
In the end, the lead player left anyway, the women suffered heart break and betrayal due to my lack of respect for them, and I have a song to remind me of it all. Buh…
Over the years, One Drink, One Smoke , One Song continued to be a vehicle for lead players to express themselves. It is a song to balance the equilibrium of “the band”. To allow expression beyond my own. In its variations, it’s had slide, pedal steel, dobro, mandolin, a baritone guitar, even an E-Bow & musical saw! It’s also resonates as a reminder of how fragile the heart is, and is a reference of how important it is to be considerate of another person’s love. To not be led by selfishness at the expense of others.
Thanks for reading and thanks to Dan Sisson for the request.