Nashville-based, recording artist Ron Pope has unveiled “To Be Without You (ft. Ira Wolf & Robby Hecht),(watch above) the latest single and video from his forthcoming LP, “Inside Voices,” due June 2nd via Brooklyn Basement Records.
“I don’t know if everyone wants to be loved like this, but I certainly do – covet me like I’m not yours, keep me close, remember why you wanted me when you didn’t have me,” Pope says. “It’s hard to keep that sort of intensity in the long term, but it’s certainly worth trying. I also like the idea of loving someone with everything that ‘I’ve got left.’ I may not be able to give you absolutely everything, but I will give you everything that I have,” he continues. “This song is such a true snapshot of how I feel about living with love; our experiences these last few years have brought into focus the fact that I’m more afraid of losing my wife than I am of anything else. I can weather just about anything if she’s there with me. I don’t know if I could’ve spoken with this kind of vulnerability before this moment in my life.”
All of the visuals for the album contain items that are symbolic for Pope, his family, and the songs. Each video centers around the dining table – every week, his extended family would gather for a meal, which are some of his fondest memories from childhood. The video picks up where “The Real Thing” ended, as Pope found himself alone and at the head of the family table. In “To Be Without You,” Pope is alone at the piano, performing the song, with featured guests Ira Wolf and Robby Hecht at the table.
The album was written in the wake of emotional upheaval from pregnancy loss and an ectopic pregnancy that almost cost Pope’s wife her life. Lead single “The Real Thing” recounts that harrowing hospital experience – standing in the emergency room wondering if he was going to lose his bride, the center of his universe, was a massive dose of reality.
After being pummeled with one tragedy after another, the Pope family was in a very dark place of unbearable heaviness and overwhelming pain. For a year, he found himself unable to create, spending all of his energy trying to keep his family afloat. To gain some sense of normalcy, he packed up his wife and young daughter and headed to the beach. The Popes found peace and rest by the ocean; the simplicity of life by the water began to resurrect the spark of creativity, and he was able to write again.
When it was time to make the record, the “normal” grind of 18-hour days in the studio, locked away from his family, having too much caffeine and too little sleep was out of the question. His family was still too fragile. He decided to record the album at the shore, finding a small, secluded cottage on the Peconic Bay, a rural area of Long Island. Enlisting the help of longtime friend and collaborator, Paul Hammer, the pair set about the painstaking work of recording – playing all of the instruments, painstakingly building each track layer by layer, as well as mixing and mastering it – by themselves. It was the happiest Pope had ever been while making a record.
Also during the recording process, both of his beloved grandparents passed away within eight days of each other. They were an integral part of his life, offering advice and guidance – several of the songs on Inside Voices commemorate the impact his grandparents had on him. Witnessing their 60-year marriage showed him that real, lasting love is an action, a choice you make every day – a message carried throughout each of the album’s gut-punching tracks. Here, there is no artifice; this is the sound of a man stripped bare, broken down, and then rebuilt. Inside Voices finds Ron at the height of his prowess, a writer speaking with honesty, vulnerability, and ultimately, gratitude.
The new album will be available digitally and on vinyl, along with a limited edition, cream-colored pressing. Ron Pope is now on tour with Lydia Luce and Caleb Hearn supporting. Look for Pope at the CMA theater on June 6th here in Nashville.