He stopped by the Whiskey Riff Podcast recently, and while the entire interview was great, the part the stuck out to me was hearing him talk about the song “Learnin’ To Drown”.
A few years back, Vincent’s father took his own life, which caused a huge fallout in his and his family’s lives. He talked about always feeling the urge to write something about it but struggling to give it the justice he felt it deserved.
“That song in particular was very hard to write.
You know, I had written several songs before about my father’s passing, and I tried to do the story justice, I tried to write something meaningful, and I was having a real hard time because it’s really hard to tap into those emotions and write about that kinda stuff.
So when I finally stopped trying so hard, that’s when I was able to write “Learnin’ To Drown.”
He then went on to say how while the song isn’t specifically about his father’s death, it gives a good picture of the hardships he’s faced in his life.
“That song isn’t necessarily about my father’s passing but it does mention it and it does deal with some of those feelings.
The opening line is “I’ve been sleeping in my car,” I was homeless when I was 19 and I did sleep in my car for about half a year.
Just trying to put all those hard times into a song and tackle the idea of depression and all that stuff you know?”
Speaking of the first line, how about the beautiful sadness of the first verse?
“I been sleepin in my car
Been movin fast, but it seems I ain’t gone far
And I can’t believe what I am and what I used to be
I’m barely a man and livin’ hard
My father killed himself
My mother hit the bar
Well ain’t it funny
Ain’t it funny how the world’ll set you free
That last line…
On a day when most people are celebrating their fathers, it’s important to remember those who don’t have their old man around.
It can be a painful reminder of an awful time in a person’s life. If you know anyone in that situation, reach out. Even just a text can be a lot for someone.
You can also watch the full podcast with Vincent Neil Emerson below: