Whiskey Bend is Nicole Shoffstall and Jim Niemann. We write our own lyrics and compose our own music. All of our recording for our first album has been done in a basement studio utilizing the Presonus Studio One 3 digital audio workstation program. The acoustic guitars are Martins, and our microphones are Sennheiser and AKG. So any anomalies you hear are likely Jim’s human error.
The first song on our first album is one we wrote after we chose the stage name Whiskey Bend. You may notice a penchant in our songs referring to grandpa’s or dad’s, and Whiskey Bend is no exception. We both realize the roots of who we are today are planted deep in our family heritage. Whiskey Bend was written as a result of a nostalgic talk about our dads over a couple of beers one night at practice. You may notice the first line of the song refers to the Weastern Slopes of the Tennessee hills. The original verse was the Eastern Slopes, but in the fall of 2015, Jim noticed a dance bar called Whiskey Bend on the Western slopes of the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. We tried putting Western in, but we had been singing eastern so long it often came out Weastern, so we figured to just go with it.
Whiskey Bend is a nod to the origins of NASCAR from the bootlegging days.
Two things happen when we practice or play live. We have fun making music, and we drink beer. We take turns bringing off the wall specialty beer to practice. One night one of us forgot whose turn it was, so we both brought beer, which of course we drank, and decidedly had enough beer.
The song is a reflection of true life events of us and unnamed friends, mixed with our goofy imaginations. It’s left up to the listener to decide which is which.
(the friends are unnamed to protect the innocent, not so innocent, and a few reputations)
Blue Skies and Warm Summer Nights
Jim originally wrote this song when he was 18, in the summer of 1977, while in the band Driftwood. The band recorded one album, which was on 8 track only. The original version of this song is somewhat different than the version you hear now. It was a bit more of a downer about a lost love. Jim revised the song in 2011 and keeping only the first verse and refrain of the original song, changed the lyrics to reflect and respect the price many of our soldiers and their families pay to keep us free.
Women Need a Reason
Nicole took Jim’s rough draft of lyrics, and polished them into this sassy song. Jim was messing around on the piano one night and put together a pentatonic chord progression then reversed it, and the lyrics seemed to fit. The song evolved up until the day of recording as little touches were added. The “oh Yeah” at the end was a last minute (maybe slightly beer inspired) addition while putting down Nicole’s final vocal track.
Except When I Don’t
What started out as a smart-ass comment one evening turned into a song. Is it a biography of Jim, of Nicole, or all made up? Nicole is quick to point out this is not only a biography of Jim, it is his autobiography.
Jim put this song together in such a way that it can be a love song, a prayer, a song of appreciation, or all of the above. It talks about the unseen glue that binds us all together culminating that glue as being love.
Ok, so the description is a little sappy. This song was written at the kitchen table with a guitar. No beer drinking, pick-up truck tail gate sitting inspirations here. It is one of the reasons the album is called Sinner’s path. If you notice the songs take you through struggles and vices before taking you to a song here or there that reminds you of the divine love in each of us and from God.
A special thanks to Larry Thies. Jim wrote the song when he and Nicole were in a local band called Barbed Wire and Roses. Larry was the bands drummer, and came up with the idea of the chimes at the beginning of the song. Larry is a good friend and is mentioned in the song Enough Beer when asking Nicole to go skydiving.
Jim woke up early one summer Saturday morning. The windows were open, the birds were chirping, and this song was in his head. He got up, grabbed a guitar, pad of paper and pen, and scribbled down the lyrics and music, finishing the entire song in about 30 minutes. No idea where it came from or what on earth he was dreaming about, but thankfully he got it down. (notice there was no mention of getting dressed there. Yes he wrote the thing sitting in his skivvies). When she heard the song, Nicole immediately saw it as a perfect fit.
Because of the play on words and the playfulness of the song, it became an instant local favorite, and is one of the most requested songs when Whiskey Bend plays.
This patriotic ballad is based upon Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, John Kennedy’s inaugural address, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, and the writings of the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence. Jim noticed the similarities of the messages in each of those and appropriateness of the message in today’s world. The verses take the listener from the foundations of our freedoms to the responsibilities those freedoms demand of each of us.
“It is a very special and humbling pleasure working with the words and ideas of these pillars and defenders of our freedom. I only hope I did them justice with this song. Nicole’s vocals nail it!” – Jim Niemann
Nicole and Jim on a summer evening, a 6 pack of beer, the tail gate of a 4 x 4 pickup, a guitar, and a piece of card board resulted in 6 Pack
We were in the studio (aka basement) practicing and decided it was too damned nice to be inside, so we serenaded the neighborhood from the back of the pick-up. After a bit of drinking and singing, we started jotting lyrics on a piece of scrap cardboard, and the next thing you know we have a song.
Yep sometimes it’s just that easy when you have good friends.
This fun lyrical autobiography of Jim originated with he singing all of it. It didn’t take long before it became an argument between the Nicole and Jim resulting in the dueling vocals you hear. It is a fun song that just about every guy and gal can relate to at some point in their lives. Obviously Nicole added the lyrics about loading the shotgun and preferring letting the dog sleep on the bed. Jim’s ego would never allow him to write about his ending up on the short end of the stick….even playfully.
Modeled after the old time rock and roll songs, Ponytail Bounce is designed to simply take you to a simpler time with simple joys. This song is nothing more than an ode to happiness. Enjoy!
This is a compilation and explanation of the songs on our first album, and we are working on a second as of this writing.