I’ve been working with Kezia for a few years and it’s been incredible to see her getting recognition as an artist – regular plays on Radio 2, headlining festival stages and generally earning her reputation as genuinely one of the UK’s top Country music acts.

Kezia writes the bulk of her songs on her own, but this was written with me, almost my accident, and it’s had quite an interesting gestation, so here are the five stages it went through.

1 Just a Semi-Drunken Bass Jam

The track had humble beginnings. I was playing bass after a couple of drinks, and trying to come up with a bassline for something else with my phone recording on Voice Notes.

On this clip you can hear me playing jamming a Beatles-ish bassline and then suddenly hitting on the chords for what would become Whiskey Over Ice and then then reverting back again. It sounded good enough to keep and develop.

2 A Laid-Back Country Instrumental

I started working on a track, building around the bassline, adding drums, acoustic guitar, piano and even played some “faux pedal steel” guitar – which was actually me playing four separate bending guitar parts on one string each.

I was aiming for a seventies-sounding Country/Folk Rock track, reminiscent of Neil Young’s Harvest album.

At this point the song was called Driving to the Country. I had in mind for this to be a library track but it was a little too boring on its own so….

3 Melody and Lyrics

I occasionally work with Kezia on library music as she is brilliant at writing to briefs. I send her music and she writes lyrics and melodies. We started on a Country-style album and this was one of the tracks I gave her.

But when she turned up to sing the rough demos, she asked if she could keep this one for herself. After hearing it, I couldn’t agree more – the potential was incredible.

This is the rough demo with the vocal she sang in one take, with her lyrics in her hand. The song is still a lot slower and slightly too high, but she completely transformed the song. When a melody is this good, the next job is to get the music to match it in terms of quality.

4 A Full Version

We brought the key down from F to E, and sped the song up for more energy. I re-recorded all the rhythm guitars, bass, drums, piano and percussion and Kezia recruited her touring guitarist Luke Thomas to play some fine lead guitar.

We then did a few vocal sessions over September and October 2022, but could never quite get the right vocal feel for the song. Kezia was struggling with a lingering cold and that chorus is exceptionally high to sing!

In November, she came to the studio in the middle of her tour after her voice had warmed up. We ditched the posh microphones and she just held an SM57 and belted it out in the middle of the room. Job done!

We just needed to mix it.

5 Mix and Master

I did do a mix (the track above was it) but it wasn’t quite the sound that Kezia wanted, which was something a little less British and vibey, and more Nashville and slick.

Sometimes, when you’re producing something over a long period of time, you can get too close and familiar with the track. A fresh pair of mixing ears can do the trick.

However, I was cautious, as there have been some songs that have been mixed badly in the past. In fact, Kezia sent me the final mix on Christmas Eve and I couldn’t listen to it in case it ruined my Christmas!

In the end, it turned out great.

It was released last week and immediately got added to a couple of Spotify playlists. It’s also an absolute corker live. Here it is: