Kristen Barkuloo: Halfway to Tennessee

Kristen Barkuloo: Halfway to Tennessee
Title: Halfway to Tennessee
Label: CD Baby

Kristen was heavily involved during the production of Halfway to Tennessee. With vocals professionally recorded at Studio 812 in her hometown of Lynn Haven, Florida, and instrumentation recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, Kristen was an integral part of the entire process. From identifying which instruments to use in each song and assisting with mixing of the resulting tracks, to singing lead vocals and working with background vocalists for just the right sound, Kristen immersed herself in the entire process. 'I didn't have to create a sound for her. She already knew that. That was the uniqueness about Kristen Barkuloo. Kristen was very young and knew already what she wanted it to be. All I was was a vehicle to try and help her get what she wanted. That's a neat - a very neat thing to see happen in an artist that young.' -Calvin Gann, Producer Kristen has played the piano for years, and has always loved to write. But things suddenly changed when she was 15, when she picked up a guitar for the first time. All of the elements came together and she began songwriting. The first song that she recorded, "Sit on the Pier Alone," was written when she was 15, and the remaining 10 songs on the album were written when she was 16. Here is Kristen's back story for the songs of "Halfway to Tennessee"... I'M NOT THAT CRAZY ANYMORE Everyone's a little bit crazy, right? This was one of the first songs that I wrote for the album, and was subsequently one of the first songs recorded and put onto the album. Essentially, it's about that moment of realization when you find that the person that you want to be with isn't necessarily the best for you. I had begun writing the tune and a few lines of the song while I was in history class (no offense to the teacher). Originally, in the very first draft of the song, it was much sadder and slower; but as I continued writing, I decided that it should be more happy-go-lucky and optimistic. HALFWAY TO TENNESSEE Even though this is the title song of the album, it was one of the last ones written and recorded. I had begun writing Halfway to Tennessee a few weeks before actually visiting the state, and wound up finishing it on the road just as we were driving into Memphis. While Florida is my home, and always will be, Tennessee (and especially Nashville!) is one of my favorite places. Basically this song is about the contrast between two situations: a couple that decides to go to Tennessee to be with each other, and a young girl (also known as yours truly) who decides to go to Tennessee for the love of her music. BACK TO FROSTPROOF Everyone has a place that feels like their safe zone; a place to go that feels like home, one that they can go to when they need comfort or something familiar. The small town of Frostproof, Florida is one of those places for me. It's the town where my grandmother grew up, and where some of my family still lives. Going back to this town reminds me of where I came from; it's a wonderful, humbling experience and I love it every time I go Back to Frostproof. SIT ON THE PIER ALONE SOPA, as we affectionately call it, was written a few weeks before my 16th birthday about a couple that I knew; one of them was moving away to go to college and the other was staying at home. This song was a major milestone for me because it was the very first song that I recorded in the studio. Hearing the track to this song was also the first time that I had heard the full instrumentation of a song that I had written. Basically, this is the song that started it all; it was an incredible process to record it and mold it into the song that you hear today. SO FAR GONE I wasn't planning on writing this song, but when I did, I wrote it in about half an hour. Sometimes there are those moments when creativity just kind of pours out of you, and then you step back and realize that you have a new song. That was the kind of experience that I had while writing this song. My hope is that people will be able to connect with the emotion and the experience that I was going through while writing this. COLD OUTSIDE TONIGHT This song was one of the most fun songs to record in the studio. Hearing the track for the first time was an incredible experience - I was so excited about the way that the dobro and piano worked together to produce a sad, yet powerful, melody to match the theme of the lyrics. Singing it with the tracks was really one of the most extraordinary parts; it felt like all of the elements had come together to really express the emotion that I felt while writing the song. TILL THE PHONE RINGS People tend to ask me what this song is about, because without the background story, it might not make much sense. Frilly dresses? Limousines? What on earth is this song talking about? Well, since, you asked... The song is about prom. Actually, the song is about NOT going to prom. Never having much interest in school dances anyway, I wound up sitting at home on the nights of both junior and senior prom. This song was written when I was sixteen on the evening of junior prom, sitting on my bedroom floor in my sweatpants, shortly after I had made the decision to boycott school dances for good. I'll never forget looking down and seeing my guitar and songwriting notebook, sitting next to my jar of ice cream and my chick-flick movie case, and realizing that I would much rather be at home writing music anyway. MIDNIGHT PRAYER Even though this song was the easiest to write, it was about the hardest subject. I could hear the song in my head - it was like it was already in existence and I just had to write it down. I wrote it after hearing that my school friend, Madison Hair, had been in a very serious car accident and was in the hospital. After she passed away I hadn't planned on showing it to anyone, simply because it was so personal and, living in a small town, I knew that everyone would immediately recognize the storyline. But one day, I played it for my parents on a whim, and they suggested that I add it to my album because it was so moving to them. With it now on my album, all of the proceeds from downloads of this song are donated to the Madison Hair Memorial Scholarship, in honor of Madison. WHERE THE ROAD RUNS Alright, honesty time. I wrote this song in the middle of taking a certain standardized test (don't try this at home, kids) because I had a huge crush on the guy sitting next to me. Having recently gotten my license, I loved to write songs about roads, cars, and driving in general, as you could probably tell by the title of the song. And, yes, I still did well on the test. Thank you for asking. SEAGULL AND THE SKY We decided to include this song on the CD at the last minute, just to add something different to the mix. I had written it a few months beforehand, but hadn't seriously considered showing it to many people simply because it was much slower than my usual songs. When I recorded it, I was so glad that I did; I hope that it adds a softer aspect of music to the CD. RUNAWAY This song came about after I visited New York City for the first time. I had gone with my high school drama club for a week. Seeing all of the famous places and skyscrapers was mind blowing; it was unlike anywhere I had ever been before. But even though I had an incredible time, I'm really not much of a city girl. Runaway was kind of a reaction to being in such an unbelievable place. (Fun fact! When we recorded it, the song was called A Little Earth and You, but we changed the title to Runaway shortly before releasing the album.)

1.1 I'm Not That Crazy Anymore
1.2 Halfway to Tennessee
1.3 Sit on the Pier Alone
1.4 Back to Frostproof
1.5 So Far Gone
1.6 Cold Outside Tonight
1.7 Till the Phone Rings
1.8 Midnight Prayer
1.9 Where the Road Runs
1.10 Seagull and the Sky
1.11 Runaway (A Little Earth and You)

Kristen Barkuloo: Halfway to Tennessee

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