Grayson Capps is relaxed. You can hear it in the tone of his voice when he speaks, in the thoughtful, laconic way he reflects on the sometimes-tumultuous course of his life and work. It’s not the sound of complacency or comfort, but rather of personal growth and understanding. Capps is not without worry or darkness in his life, but he’s reached a kind of peace with it, an unhurried acceptance that enables him to write with unflinching honesty and remarkable humanity. His long-awaited new solo album, ‘Scarlett Roses,’ is his first in six years, and it showcases the kind of understated brilliance that can blossom when creativity is detached from expectation, when songs are truly given the space and time to find their writer. Grayson Capps is relaxed, but it wasn’t always this way.
“Up until 2011, I was expecting myself to come up with a new record every year,” says Capps, “but then something just clicked. I told myself, ‘Man, you don’t need to worry about the timing. Just let these songs and your career catch up with you.’”
The Alabama native moved back to his home state with his wife, the Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Trina Shoemaker, and cut himself loose from the self-imposed deadlines he’d been adhering to for the better part of a decade. He built a writing shack in his backyard and christened it a sacred space for creation without targets or schedules. There, he tapped deep into his subconscious, channeling the songs that would become ‘Scarlett Roses’ from a trance-like state in which the music practically bubbled up out of him like water from a spring.
“A lot of these songs came to me the way dreams do, where all these different bits and pieces from all these different parts of life come together,” says Capps, who documented his streams of consciousness with the voice memo app on his phone. “I would sit back there in that shack and just play, and things would come to me because I wasn’t actually trying to make a record. Nothing was forced. It made me relax.”