SONG PREMIERE: Folk Singer Joe Kaplow Searches For Sense of Home With “I Said I Was Going And I Went”

joe kaplow

Some songs begin with the simplest, most fleeting of sentiments. In this case, Joe Kaplow realized how much he missed the sensation of using a knob to open a door.

The new single from the Santa Cruz, CA-based singer/songwriter, “I Said I Was Going and I Went”,  was born on the road. After two and a half months performing solo shows at music clubs, dive bars, honky tonks, and cafes across the entirety of the United States, Kaplow came to realize it was the actually the little things in life at home that he was missing — like the feeling of turning a doorknob. So, he pulled over in his van in Altamont Pass on the last day of his tour and wrote a song.

It’s a song in part about what is taken for granted. Using a toaster. Scrubbing his floor. Eating a meal not comprised of gas station snacks. And it’s about sorting through waves of feeling. The loneliness and exhaustion of rigorous travel. The satisfaction of coming home after a modestly successful tour while remembering the jarring life changes to which he’d be returning. Perhaps most importantly, though, it’s about searching for a sense of home — whether that’s on the road, in the house where he lives, or the farm in New Jersey where he grew up with his family.

Kaplow, who has long struggled with depression and loneliness as a result of injuries, long stints on the road, and living on the opposite side of the continent from his family, is nonetheless a master at finding catharsis in storytelling. Influenced by traditional American music and folk revival songwriters like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, “I Said I Was Going and I Went” is Kaplow’s way of taking stock of the journeys he’s been on and reminding himself to keep pursuing a sense of home.

Today Glide is offering an exclusive premiere of the song. The quiet and subtle acoustic guitar proves to be a fitting backdrop for Kaplow’s poignant, reflective lyrics. The song also captures his penchant for crafting vivid imagery while also casting an emotional spell on the listener. Kaplow builds momentum, gradually harmonizing and adding in layers of sound to add depth and power to his lyrics.  

Sharing his own perspective on the story behind the song, Kaplow has this to say:

“The inspiration that sparked ‘I Said’ moved me like a puppet. So much so that I had to pull over at the top of Altamont Pass, by the huge windmills, and write the song in the back of my van. It was late September, and I was on the home stretch of a 3 month summer tour of the US, feeling like Bilbo Baggins probably felt on his way home from the Lonely Mountain. I was strong yet exhausted, satisfied yet wistful, looking forward to being home, yet already missing the excitement of tour life. I was feeling a lot of things! Writing ‘I Said’ was like a remedy for feeling too much.

Of all the songs on the record, this one was the easiest to record. There were no struggles or hang-ups. The tape machine worked. The vocals and guitar were recorded in one pass, and it just had a quality right from the start. It created a space. The arrangement was clear, simple and came to me right way. Travis Gibbs blew me away (pun!) with the trombone part. Beautiful!”

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