I’ve kept a journal ever since I could write full sentences. All of my stories and memories have now accumulated into a large box in my closet full of leather-bound pages.
Hidden in these journals are words that make me experience once again what life was like in elementary school when I wrote from the loft in my barn, words that remind me of what young love and breakups felt like, and pages that are bursting of songs I’ve written about growing up, boys that don’t know my name, and other boys that do.
While all of these writings and songs are personal to me, I like to think that they extend past my own life. I like to think that other people have experienced similar emotions and situations, because while our stories are all so different, they also bear so many of the same elements.
Life, love, happiness, home, relationships, dreams; we all dwell on these things. And sometimes the most complicated emotions in our lives can be summed up in a song or a single lyric.
From behind the wheel of my Ford Ranger truck, “Wasteland” by NEEDTOBREATHE inspired me line by line.
Painting the barn and dancing along to the Beatles showed me how an old song can still make something feel so new.
In my college dorm room, replaying “Keep It To Yourself” by Kacey Musgraves on my own guitar embodied the song I had held in my heart for the past few years.
Taking walks through winding country roads, “Til Kingdom Come” by Coldplay told me of a never ending passion with lyrics that stirred deep:
“In your tears and in your blood, In your fire and in your flood,
I hear you laugh, I heard you sing, ‘I wouldn't change a single thing.’”
I believe that real life stories and songs are more than just simple words and music paired together. I think they can connect us and help us in ways that we can’t quite fully understand.
In my songs I want to be fully authentic and true to the person that makes up the pages of my journals.
For me, that means that I sing the tales of a girl who grew up on a hobby farm in Red Wing, Minnesota, spent every hour of her summers outdoors, and fell really hard for her first love. It’s the songs of a girl who loves her Maker, her country, passionate love stories, and the state of Tennessee.
It’s the story of a girl who is American Made.
- Anna Mae Hoffbeck