Tasmanian singer-songwriter Zac Henderson has just dropped his debut LP, Lay The Stones. It’s a beautiful collection of songs he has meticulously crafted over the years. This follows on from his debut EP, Procrastination which was released four years ago.
Touring has kept Zac busy, but finally, he has been able to spend time in the recording studio. Henderson has the ability to paint vivid pictures, thoroughly engaging the listener. Switching between guitar and piano, the odd strings thrown in for good measure, and harmonies from guest vocalists keeps the album lively and interesting. Some of the songs reminded me of vintage Paul Kelly, with his imagery drawing the listener in.
We are excited today to have a track-by-track description, penned by Zac. So sit back, give it a spin and read the background to the songs on Lay The Stones.
Zac Henderson – Lay The Stones – Track By Track
In My Element
A cruisy little tune I had been playing on guitar and messing with vocals for quite some time. I’m not sure I ever ‘wrote’ lyrics for this which is where I’d usually start. I just riffed this tune out over time until it all came together. I moved into a big old run-down weatherboard house in 2018 and at least the first verse of this tune is a warm welcoming into the big spooky palace that became my home.
I wrote this tune up on the Murray River while camping and fishing with my dad and uncles. Everyone went out fishing one morning and I stayed in the bus and wrote out this one. I think I had an additional few verses that didn’t make the cut but it was basically a display of my inner monologue while staying up there by the campfire with family. I learnt two things on that trip that didn’t make it into the lyrics. The first thing I learnt was that emus can swim, the second that kangaroos can swim… Who’d of thunk it?
Lay The Stones
Lay The Stones is the newest tune that made it on the album, I wrote it only a few months before recording and initially I hadn’t even considered placing it on the record. It wasn’t until a lunch break in the studio when I picked up the guitar and played it. Greg who was producing the record basically stood right up and set up some mics, I sat down and played a take or two and thus it became the title track of the album.
I wrote this tune during the fall of a relationship. I was feeling down and out, laying around being retrospective and preparing to go on tour with my band The Surreal Estate Agents. The song is basically about coming to terms with changes ahead and wanting to make amends before disappearing across the country to tour.
I Haven’t Seen You in a Week
A big raucous tune about unrequited love, social environments and being a goof. A good excuse to stomp my feet and strum the guts out of my guitar.
Easy To Please
A bit of a funky little tune about being difficult to read, trying to be fair but also being aware that sometimes you just don’t get it your way. Like many others on the album it is a tune of moving forward with changes life brings. I’d had the chorus for this tune hanging around in my head for a while, eventually I put it down to paper and strings.
Once again we have a song of coming to terms with the loss of friendship and the changing dynamics between people we love. ‘I’m no trick pony, I won’t jump through hoops for you.’ If you can’t be more than are you then you shouldn’t try to be, be yourself and that will be enough. If you’re breaking your back to try help and please others you will come a far way away from helping yourself, and I guess that’s what this song is about. It ends with well wishings but also acknowledging that you can’t be a beacon for anyone if your own light is burning low.
Flock of Free Birds
I sat down and wrote the lyrics for Flock of Free Birds in about 10 minutes after coming home from my first tour with a band around Australia in 2016. It took a while before the song had shaped into what it is today and on the album. I’ve played it with many different musicians over the last couple of years and I’m very happy with the point it reached musically. I love this tune because I’m not sure if I can say what it means or is about but I do feel connected to the words and they seem to always change meaning depending on what’s going on in my life when I sing them.
I wrote this song after a very good friend and mentor of mine passed away. I’d go around and play blues in his lounge room and yarn for hours. I wrote the song after he was lowered down. He was a massive support to me when I was young and busking or playing gigs, his door was always open any hour (as long as I’d sing The Gambler for him).
Stonewash is kind of a rural folk song, it’s all about those young sundrenched days when there was hardly a care for much but wandering about and spending the day the best you could. It’s about watching as the memories of your youth fade into obscurity and become replaced with something new.
Lay The Stones by Zac Henderson is out now on all major streaming services. You can purchase the album, in digital form, CD or vinyl HERE