New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

Interview With Scott Terry of RWB on Autobiographical Songwriting

By Gary Wien

The cover story of the August 2014 issue of New Jersey Stage magazine was on Red Wanting Blue, a band from Columbus, Ohio that's led by Scott Terry (who grew up in Moorestown, NJ). Here's a little extra from our interview with him that focused on his autobiographical songwriting style.

You've said that what you usually find is that the topics you don't really want to talk about are the topics that the audience wants to hear the most. As a songwriter, you've written some very personal songs over the course of your career, but is "Leaving New York" your most personal song ever?
It might be one of them. I love that song. It's got to be up there with songs like "The Band". I still think that is one of the most honest songs I've ever written.

Sometimes I think the most personal songs are the ones that relate the most to the mainstream.
Yeah, I would probably agree with that.

I love the ending of "Leaving New York" with you screaming out those words. It sounds like true pain and angst are just flowing out of you.
Thanks. When I write stuff I write most as a skeletal structure with lyrics and a melody, maybe some chords drawn out. Then the band all sits down and we put it together and create actual songs. Sometimes I envision them going a certain way — most of the time I'd say it never ends up exactly as you would expect it to, but sometimes you can get really close, which is always a really gratifying feeling because it means the message and the delivery and everything you've drawn out is so clear. "Leaving New York" is one of those songs. It worked out so well.

"Little America" is one that's simple that worked out real well. Other songs like "Hallelujah" which the record starts out with... for me, I loved the song. I love it and I stand behind it enough to start off the record, but it took a few turns. That's usually what happens and that's the beauty of writing as a collective. We're collaborating and we're hoping that all of the hands are going to make a better song.

There are some great lyrics on this album. Have you ever written a line that made you just stop and say, damn that's good?
Umm... yeah, but those are probably lines that nobody likes. I remember being really tickled about the fact that in the second verse of "Hallelujah" I say "we shut our eyes in the dark / feel the shape of our hearts / listening to Jeff Buckley croon / a Leonard Cohen tune / hallelujah"

I just remember loving how that word play worked out. The chorus of the song is simply "hallelujah" but making reference to a greater man's really great song and a great performer.

One of my favorites is a simple line in "Hotel Oblivion" where you compare a relationship to a constellation and say "we are worth so much more together than we are apart". I love the use of the constellations and the stars as a metaphor for relationships and the traveler's life on the road.
I remember writing the constellation lines, I was feeling very Jeff Healey Band then. When Jeff covered John Hiatt's "Angel Eyes" back in the eighties. That "tonight I lie with the stars above" line.

I liked the line in "Hotel Oblivion" - "holding down home sweet home" and then "we've got our differences". When I think about it, I think it's a much more mature record because some of the topics being talked about are the things that someone in a long-term relationship talks about with someone else.

There are songs on this record like "It's All Happening" which is kind of, in my own weird mind, almost a sequel to "Sea of Old Friends". And "Hallelujah" is like an optimistic sequel to "Hope On a Rope".

Do you ever look back and listen to your old songs? It's sort of like a photo album of your life.
Yeah, it definitely could feel that way.

Is there any part of your personal life that you'd say is off limits for a song?
Umm... I don't know. I mean, there's a general line, but I'm an emotional writer. That's the stuff I get excited about. I would say as a music lover, I definitely have heard artists go beyond what I think is appropriate for songwriting and that goes into the land of airing grievances in the form of a song.

I always feel when you're coming in from an angsty place that you have to be careful. Not to quote myself from the new record, but songs like "Rest of Our Lives" has people hearing stuff like "we can do anything", "we are young and free" and an angsty line like "Jesus make up your mind". Youthful kids can get behind that stuff, but if you're talking about how your alimony or child support is too much money... it's just too much information.

I wouldn't write a song about drug abuse right now in my life, but, then again, if I run into someone in my life who has a serious problem with drug abuse and my life is forced to have to deal with it, who knows? I might be prompted to write a song about this. Even if it's not for awareness, but just for the sake of airing my own personal demons with that topic of life and hoping that other people might appreciate that.

You can't always write about love and you can't always write about heartbreak, you've got to write about other things. And choosing topics to write about is not the easiest thing in the world, which is one of the reasons I like writing about traveling because it is one of the things that we do.

Red Wanting Blue's latest release, "Little America", came out on July 1. For more information on the band visit

For more by this author, click here

Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme Presents Patrick Fitzsimmons On December 16
(SUCCASUNNA, NJ) -- Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme (RR&R) presents Patrick Fitzsimmons on Sunday, December 16 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Investors Bank Theatre in Succasunna. Tickets are $20 for general admission; $15 for RAA/SSG/JAM members; and free for those under 18.
Outpost in the Burbs Presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams
(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- Outpost in the Burbs presents Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams on Saturday, December 8th at 8:00pm at the First Congregational Church, 40 South Fullerton Avenue.  Opening the show will be New York City-based singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson. Outpost volunteers will be accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys for the holiday season for Toys for Tots at the show.
Jann Klose and The Voice's Josett Diaz To Perform At Ethical Brew To Benefit A Cause Close To Home
(TEANECK, NJ) -- On Saturday, December 8th, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jann Klose will perform at Ethical Brew on behalf of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, a community arts and cultural center for children and teens located in Bronx, New York.  Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00pm.
Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Focusing on smaller venues and markets not directly impacted by his massive stadium tours, Kenny Chesney sought to make his Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour mirror the intimacy of its namesake album. Inspired by the resilience of the people around him, Chesney doubles down on the human connection for his 2019 tour by seeking those members of No Shoes Nation who have spent the past decade and a half making the trip to stadium markets for what is now a summer tradition. On Saturday, May 11, 2019 he brings the tour to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, NJ.
State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.

"Great Music!" Tavares and Harold Melvin's Blue Notes LIVE! at the Strand Theater
The music of the 1970s is alive and well this Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Lakewood, NJ’s Strand Theater with a concert by the ’70’s R&B and soul groups Tavares and Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes!
"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.

Event calendar
Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018

The Madness of George III @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm and 7:00pm


Warren Miller’s Face of Winter @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:30pm

View all events

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.