If Forrest McCurren isn’t on your radar just yet, that’s alright. We’re going to change that today. The 32-year-old Johnson City, Missouri-based songwriter is set to release his debut album Oh Me, Oh My next Friday. He’ll officially release the third and final single from that album on Monday. However, we’re teaming up with Forrest to give our readers a chance to listen to “Denver” before it hits streaming services.
“Denver” is a smooth blend of country, folk, and rock that calls to mind great artists from days gone by. Sonically, it might call to mind Tom Petty. Additionally, John Prine’s influence is clear in the slice-of-life songwriting style. Make no mistake, though, McCurren might tip his hat to the greats, but he’s not trying to be anyone but himself with his debut release.
The first two singles from Oh Me, Oh My – “Little Rock” and the title track – give you a good idea of what to expect from the record. However, “Denver” is a near-perfect snapshot of Forrest McCurren’s songwriting. In it, McCurren tells a story of childhood friends-turned-lovers who find themselves separated by circumstances outside of their control. Years later, they run into one another again and rekindle their relationship. It’s nostalgic and romantic all at once.
Throughout the verses, Forrest McCurren showcases the rare talent of being able to make the mundane seem a little more special. He extracts the magic of chance meetings, cheap dates, easy smiles, and evenings on the front porch and puts it on full display.
In a recent interview with Outsider, Forrest McCurren talked about the inspiration and deeper meaning behind “Denver”.
Forrest McCurren on “Denver”
During our chat, Forrest McCurren said that the inspiration for the characters in the song came from an early morning conversation at a gas station. It was around eight in the morning and McCurren, a landscaper by trade, was gassing up a few mowers. “There’s this guy next to me in an Astro van and he’s pulling an empty flatbed trailer behind it. He was sitting there eating fried chicken and had a two-liter of Diet Coke next to him. I knew he was about to have a great day,” he recalled. So, he struck up a conversation.
During their talk, the guy told Forrest about a tattoo he got when he was only a kid. “He said that he had gotten a tattoo with his first girlfriend when he was fifteen.” That stuck in McCurren’s mind.
The lines “They got matching tattoos when they were just fifteen. / So he walks up, taps her shoulder, and rolls up his sleeve,” are a nod to that man and his high school sweetheart. But, there’s more to the song than the love story.
It’s About Being Homesick
“A lot of these songs were written in the same time period. I had graduated from school, I was living in Kansas City about two and a half hours away from my hometown,” McCurren explained. “A lot of the songs, especially this one, are looking back and remembering characters from my hometown. For me, I think it was a way of keeping friends and family and characters from my home close.”
This, Forrest said, is most evident in the song’s chorus. “I love being around my people, but I’m terrible at texting and calling. So, sometimes I feel guilty that my buddies haven’t heard from me in so long. Part of that chorus is looking back and missing those people that mean so much to you. But, you’re also out there living your own life and trying to figure out what it means to be an adult and what you want your world to look like and kind of taking the wheel.”
Oh Me, Oh My hits streaming services next Friday, August 19. If you liked what you heard here, you’re not going to want to miss the rest of the album.