Written by Hunter Baxter
For Dallas native Bo Armstrong, the journey to releasing his first full length album, Chasing Ballads, has been just that– a journey. Back in July, we sat down with Bo on the Tailgate Country Podcast.
One of our main topics was Bo’s path to becoming a singer songwriter in Nashville. Nashville’s a town full of complex and interesting stories, but Bo’s might just top the list (find out how on our episode).
Chasing Ballads tells his story. The first song on the album, Meet Me in Memphis, is about meeting his wife. We talked about this song on the podcast and how Bo wrote this all by himself: “That song is an autobiography,” he said, “that’s my experience with my then-girlfriend, now wife, meeting me in Memphis every couple weeks and the places that we would go, the place I lived. That song is a personal one.”
The next song and one of my favorites is Built to Last which features Laurel Wright. Built to Last is about how strong foundations create things to last. Bo compares how things were built better back in the day, from his parents’ relationship to presumably his relationship and how, through everything they’ve been through, they are built to last. It’s another extremely personal song.
Another song I want to highlight off this album is, Wildfire. It’s a song about a relationship that just doesn’t seem to be working anymore– a flame that used to be there has turned to sparks. Everything they wanted they achieved, but something is just missing; they’re a wildfire out of control. Another song that feels very personal, maybe it’s something Bo went through or something his co-writer Brian Phillips brought up.
Here’s Looking at You, Kid was the fourth single released before the album. You have to think this song is written with Bo’s son in mind with himself in mind. Bo talks about his past, the mistakes he made, and the lessons he learned that led him to where he is today.
One of my favorite lines of the song is when he says, “Boy it seems we’ve got some growing up to do.” Bo’s not just referring to his son, but himself as well and the growing they will do as father and son.
Chasing Ballads, the title track, is all about chasing the dream, blazing your own trail, and refusing to be told no. Which is exactly what Bo has done in his life leading up to releasing this album. He’s tried multiple different careers and living in different cities, but hasn’t found what he’s looking for. To me, it seems like songwriting is his calling and he is pretty damn good at it.
In Bo’s own words, “Chasing Ballads is about finding love you believe in and going after it. It’s about acknowledging your past and letting it motivate your future. It’s about finding courage to live in the moment and without throwing caution into the wind, and learning that so little in life can be accomplished on your own, even if the road you’re on is sometimes a lonely one.”
In a year full of hopelessness and isolation, Chasing Ballads is about togetherness and the rewards of sticking with a journey. Thank you, Bo Armstrong, for the album we all needed in 2020.
You can find our episode with Bo Armstrong here. You can stream Chasing Ballads on Spotify, iTunes, or anywhere you stream music.