How I Turn Inspiration into a Song

Photo by John A. Stevens: instagram:  @TheBreakingShell

Photo by John A. Stevens: instagram: @TheBreakingShell

The Oh These Urban Fences… pre-sale begins next week, so I’m reflecting on where these songs came from and what they mean to me. Music comes from a mysterious place. Though the songs represent one thing to me, it doesn’t mean there might not be a completely different meaning for someone else.

This record is The Paisley Fields’ first studio EP, and I am proud of the way this music turned out. Some of you may have heard these songs at our live shows, but this post lends a little insight about what the songs mean personally.

1. “My Best Years” 

The pain of a break up is universal. It is a loss, not only of the other person, but a part of yourself. Heartbreak doesn’t occur only when a romantic relationship dissolves. We can experience similar pain when relationships we have with friends, family members, coworkers, or classmates, end. This particular song is about the end of a relationship between two men, but the song can resonate with anyone who has had their heart broken. 

2. “Brooklyn Rodeo”

Oh These Urban Fences… is the title of this album and also a line from “Brooklyn Rodeo.” The song is a staple of our live shows, and we play it nearly every time we have a show. It’s a song about getting out on the road and playing to a new crowd every night. It’s also about embracing the bohemian in you that wants to pull up your roots and move from town to town. “Making your great escape” is about finding your true passion in life and beating all obstacles to accomplish it.

3. “Highway One”

Two summers ago, on a west coast tour, we drove through the Mojave Desert. I’ll never forget that powerful landscape. This song lives there. It is the dust devils, the Joshua trees, the dilapidated truck stops, the trailer parks, the 24 hour strip joints and the twinkling, neon signs. If you listen carefully, you might hear the whisper of Gram Parsons’ ghost.  

4. “How Low”

When The Paisley Fields released our first music video, we received some attention through blogs and social media. The video portrays a gay couple falling in love and getting engaged. (Watch the video here: ) Along with all the positive attention and support for the song, there was also some negative backlash. People I had never met said some terrible things about me. Instead of wallowing, I put it into a song. “How Low” is that song.

5. “Butterflies”

This marks the only completely autobiographical song on Oh These Urban Fences... I knew from a young age that I was attracted to guys. In middle school, I had a crush on a male classmate. The summer before ninth grade, we spent many days and nights together. We snuck onto church rooftops. We hid in cornfields and baseball fields to smoke weed. He was my first kiss with a boy. “Butterflies” is about him, me and that summer.


The places and the people around us may change, but what moves and inspires us doesn’t have to. We should hold strong to the passions we felt while we are young. We should cherish them, and let them grow with us. Maybe yours will grow into a song, like mine did.

In many ways, I’m still the kid growing up in the middle of nowhere. My life is certainly different, but the core of who I am is the same. I can hear that in these songs.

Maybe you will hear it in these songs too. If you enjoy the music, please share it with your friends.

The Paisley Fields are holding a free raffle, and it’s easy to enter. The winner will receive a limited edition copy of Oh These Urban Fences… on CD, along with a t-shirt, a shot glass and a bandana. To enter send your name and mailing address to before September 30th. We will choose the winner on September 30th, so get your entries in now!

Cover art for The Paisley Fields  Oh These Urban Fences...  by Julia McGinley. Design by Derek Bishop

Cover art for The Paisley Fields Oh These Urban Fences... by Julia McGinley. Design by Derek Bishop

The pre-sale begins October 2nd at and through our iTunes store: .