Today, Benjamin Tod released his third studio album Songs I Swore I’d Never Sing. For those who listened to Tod’s previous solo albums – I Will Rise and A Heart of Gold Is Hard to Find – or his work with Lost Dog Street Band, you know his songwriting cuts deep. The Kentucky-based country singer-songwriter has never been afraid to be vulnerable in his music. As a result, fans from all walks of life can see themselves in the songs he writes.
With this album, Benjamin Tod dug deeper than usual. In an interview with Outsider, he gave some insight into the record. “I guess the concept is kind of what the title portrays – Songs I Swore I’d Never Sing,” he explained. “Some of these songs I wrote ten years ago, some of them five, some of them I wrote right before recording. But for one reason or another, whether they were too personal or too harsh or too painful, I stopped singing them or didn’t want to sing as soon as I wrote them.”
“Sometimes, songwriting is pretty strictly therapeutic and as soon as it gets out of my head, it’s not something I want to experience all the time,” Benjamin Tod said.
In short, Songs I Swore I’d Never Sing is an emotional journey.
Benjamin Tod Shares His Fragile Moments on His New Album
It’s easy to see why these songs would be hard for Benjamin Tod. “Still Search for You” and “The Paper and the Ink” are about his late friend and bandmate Nicholas Ridout. “Tears Worth the Gold” is about how being in a traveling band with his wife puts a strain on their marriage. Then, there’s “Mercy Bark” which is about having to put a good dog down.
In a press release, Benjamin Tod said, “These songs are timestamps of my life. They’re a list of fragile events.”
Standout Tracks from Songs I Swore I’d Never Sing
With just his voice, an acoustic guitar, and a decade’s worth of stories, Benjamin Tod put together an incredible album. Make no mistake, this isn’t one that you’re going to want to throw on during your commute unless you want to show up all red-eyed and sniffling. But, if you’re looking for music that will make you feel something, this is it. Here are a few of my favorites from the record.
Benjamin Tod wrote this one about having to put down his dog. However, it’s the love in every line that will rip your heart on this one. Honestly, I can’t think of a song that more perfectly paints a picture of those final bittersweet moments with a beloved pet. Like most of the album, it’s a beautifully-written song but it will hurt you.
“Not Coming Home”
This is the album opener and it really sets the tone for the rest of the collection. Benjamin Tod sings about wanderlust and self-doubt with some of his most poetic writing. However, the magic of this one lives in the first seconds of the recording.
Before Benjamin Tod starts playing or singing on this track, he heaves a deep resigned sigh. It’s as if he had to steel himself against the flood of emotions that would come as he got into these songs.
“The Paper and the Ink”
Benjamin Tod explains the story behind “The Paper and the Ink” in a Western AF video. As the camera focuses on a leather-bound journal, Tod says that it belonged to his best friend Nicholas Ridout. He bought the journal and made four entries in it before he died. Then, his wife gifted it to Benjamin who continues to write in it. About Ridout, Tod said that he’s “Still my biggest inspiration and drive to continue being an artist.”
It’s more than a song about a journal though. In this song, Benjamin Tod reveals the survivor’s guilt and sorrow he feels after his friend’s passing. This is a beautiful tribute to a talented musician.