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Badlees Songs

"Poison Ivy"

Amazing Grace
From the 1999 album Amazing Grace
Written by Bret Alexander

So one day I was writing and I had a case of poison ivy from walking in the woods. Not very deep, I realize. But that was the beginning of this tune.

I got to thinking about the concept of a vaccination. They feed you a little bit of the disease so your body can build up an immunity to it. So then I applied that concept to relationships. You have to go through some trials and tribulations to be ready for the good stuff that lasts. Bruce Springsteen once wrote; "You can't shut off the risk and the pain without losing the love that remains." Same concept.

I wrote "Poison Ivy" in a group of songs where I was experimenting with writing songs on instruments I didn't know how to play. I wrote "Poison Ivy" on a cheap tenor banjo, the same one that appears on the recording. Paul and I could barely keep the thing in tune long enough to record it. Bob Scott put some cool piano in the bridge. That was definitely a nice hook. It reminded me of Fleetwood Mac. Paul did a nice vocal stack in the bridge as well. All in all a really cool pop track. We're proud of it.

Many of the songs on Amazing Grace were supposed to be demos. Paul, Ron, and I wrote and recorded them in my basement for fun. Up There, Down Here was finished but we were in label limbo. So we started recording more stuff. As it worked out, the record Amazing Grace came out before Up There, Down Here. On Amazing Grace everybody wrote and everybody sang. It was way different than River Songs and it threw everyone for a loop. Reviews were mixed. Not because the material was bad, but because it wasn't our usual fare. But I believe when history is written it will be regarded as one of our finest records. The little demos that could.

   - Bret Alexander

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