Behind The Song: "The Paper Man's Blues" by Philip Whitehead

Hey guys!

It's pretty interesting how some features work out so well, whilst others don't.

When it comes to "inventing" them, you never really know which idea is here to stay.
Sometimes features you actually love, just don't work out and you have to get rid of them.

But other times, your favourites actually become everyone's favourites and once that happens, magic is about to happen.

One of those rather successful features is our dear "Behind The Song" segment, which returns today, so let's check it out.

- Behind The Song -
"The Paper Man's Blues" by Philip Whitehead

Philip Whitehead is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from London, UK.

His sound combines Folk, Blues and hints of Rock, leaving the listener with a lively mix of elements.

Philip has been making music all his life, but started releasing his own material in 2017.
We got him to tell us more about his third single, "The Paper Man's Blues".

Check out Philip's words below to learn more about the inspiration and writing process of "The Paper Man's Blues":

"This song came to me while I was reflecting on the best song Bob Dylan ever wrote - "Girl From The North Country", of course - and it occurred to me that, even though I consider this song to perhaps be one of the greatest ever written, I really don't relate to what it's talking about.
I'm lucky enough to have been with my wonderful girlfriend since we were both at school, and I have no idea what it's like to have to say goodbye to someone you love as much as the man in "Girl From The North Country" loves his muse.
I can imagine, however, that it's beyond devastating.
In fact, the more I fixated on this song, and this experience that I've never had to go through, the more devastated and distraught I became. So much so, that all I could do to make sense of the feelings, was pick up a notebook and my favourite guitar and let it all come out feet first.

I was so lost that the writing process took less than an hour, and the song I ended up with was totally different to the songs I had written before. Most of my songs are (hopefully) abstract comments about people and human relationships, but suddenly this one had characters; it had its own world and its own narrative.
I felt like I could have written a book about the lovers in this song, and I still do.
I also think that's part of the joy I get from playing it live, because I get to expose this very intricate mosaic of these two characters' lives together, but then I cut off before three minutes have passed and before anybody knows where the story ends. A lot of that joy might also be the childish satisfaction of holding all the cards, though.

Either way, this song is as simple as it comes.
Every note you hear on the recording was played by me in my living room on the same afternoon, and the lead vocal take you hear is the first one I ever recorded and one of the first times I ever sang the song all the way through. It wasn't sung into an expensive mic, and I wasn't plugged into some precious vintage guitar amp.
This song was just too urgent and too visceral to risk letting it wait another day to get it tracked. My girlfriend came home from work one evening and I was pretty much like, "Ta-dah! This is my new single."

And that was it.
I mixed it a few days later and sent it off to be mastered by the infallible Robin Schmidt at 24-96 Mastering, who did a stunning job of polishing it.
The response so far has been great, but I feel so exposed by the simplicity of this, that I'm definitely just trying to keep my head in the sand for as long as possible now it's finally released.

Whatever anyone thinks, I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned until the next one!"

Listen to "The Paper Man's Blues" here:

Philip Whitehead online: Website | Facebook | Soundcloud | Instagram

Thank you for your visit!

Credits // Words Intro: Vanessa Jertschewske | Image & Words "Behind The Song": Philip Whitehead


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