Blake Rainey’s “Helicopter Rose” is a stop-and-go closer from his album released late last year on Southern Lovers Recording Co. “Helicopter Rose” punctuates an album of heart pounding and thoughtful Americana. In a sparse musical landscape Rainey drops axioms about the nature of existence: “sometimes life is a gas / sometimes it’s misery” between choruses that ooze with groove. Buy Helicopter Rose on Bandcamp.
SC: How do you view the repetition of “sometimes” throughout the song with lines like “Sometimes you find yourself in a mess, / sometimes the mess turns on you” or sometimes life's a gas, / sometimes it’s misery,” working in conjunction with the start-and-stop music in the verse?
BR: It's an effect, I guess, that gives the listener pause and reason to ponder the weight of each line. The repetition of the word "sometimes" is used to get the attention of those listening so that they might pay close attention to the words that follow.
SC: What was your writing process like for "Helicopter Rose"?
BR: It's an unusual song for me because I don't usually write in drop D tuning with a capo, so that was a lot of fun coming up with new and interesting chords. I also wanted to write Helicopter Rose as a summation of the album’s theme—about being rescued from unfortunate situations in life. I began by comparing it to being trapped in a burning building or in a corner from making bad decisions in the past, and also to other stressful situations, and that’s when the metaphor hit me: the song should be about a gesture given to someone for helping a person in need or in a bad situation. Something like a flower you might give out during a ceremony or a celebration that represents more than just a flower. It’s a Helicopter Rose—a new word for something we all understand and sometimes need. I think it’s best summed up in this line from the chorus: Send a helicopter rose / A bird of love to rescue those / A flower of beauty to bring us all hope / A helicopter rose.
SC: How often do you write? Do you keep a songwriting schedule or do you wait to be inspired?
BR:I pretty much write everyday. I am always recording snippets of ideas or writing down lines whenever they pop into my head. I then schedule some time to sit down and focus on one or more of these ideas.
SC: How does your community of songwriters influence your writing?
BR: I'm always keeping an ear out for new songwriters and paying attention to new songs that catch my ear. There's a lot of great talent here in Atlanta and elsewhere, and I try to take in as much of it in as I can, but I also try to not take too much influence from my contemporaries. I want to stay focused trying to hone my own vision for the most part, but it never hurts to hear what others have to say.
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