As the title of the album suggests, One Thing At A Time, has to be digested in bits and pieces, so if you’re still taking time to listen and process, you’re not alone.
The massive 36-song album released last week and even listening to it all the way through a singular time takes some time. I mean, according to Morgan Wallen himself, the album summarizes two entire years of life, so we will probably be finding new things in this one for quite a while.
Some of the standout tracks on first listen come in the form of the album’s “bookends,” which include the tracks “Born With A Beer In My Hand” and “Dying Man” respectively.
The contrasting songs show the overall evolution Morgan experienced in the last couple of years and wanted to express in this album, and he used two of the best writes on the entire project to get the point across.
And if you’ve made it all the way to “Dying Man” already, the song seems focused on a female who saved the day, made the narrator feel worthwhile, and successfully changed his path from heading towards an early end.
The writers, Ben Johnson, Blake Pendergrass and Josh Thompson, managed to summarize Morgan’s revised outlook on life, and even used the likes of Elvis Presley and Hank Williams to solidify the narrator’s path in the chorus and main takeaway:
“Codeine, it got Elvis
Whiskey, it got Hank
Always thought somethin’ like that might send me on my way
But you took hold of me, like only a woman can
And gave one good reason to live to a set-on-dyin’ man.”
But even though the song paints a woman as the savior, in his global album release show in Nashville, Morgan opened “Dying Man” with a dedication to his two-year-old son, Indie:
“In ‘Dying Man,’ I’m singing to a woman. In real life, this song is dedicated to my son.
He has changed everything for me and has been a real blessing.”
In another interview, Morgan said a bit more concerning the song, sharing that he had been in several near-death situations, and it never really bothered him to think that his vices and decisions might kill him early in life.
But the birth of his son made him reconsider that notion:
“If I’m being completely honest there’s been more than a handful of times where I probably should’ve died. And for whatever reason, that never really bothered me.
But then my son was born, and I felt like the idea of dying didn’t seem so okay anymore. So this song is dedicated to him. In the song we’re talking about a women, but to me, it’s really about my son.”
Morgan also shared that Indie was present through a lot of the recording process, which made the album’s creation more special:
“Luckily I got to have him come in here and hang out with me quite a bit in this room. My producer is usually mixing and getting vocal takes and all that, but Indie took over a lot when he came in here pressing buttons!
We all enjoyed having him in here. Just a fresh energy and just a good time! I know it’s something I’ll never forget.”