I have always loved blues influence in rock and roll--Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Caustic Resin, but I had never heard traditional blues I liked too much. It was all too Jim Belushi for me. Then in '98 I was turned on to Fred McDowell's "The First Recordings." It's a collection of slide guitar country blues recorded on Fred's porch by musicologist Alan Lomax in 1959. It sounded exactly like what I wanted the blues to be. I subsequently became obsessed with country blues, but Fred McDowell remained my favorite (though his main influence Blind Willie Johnson's right there).
I had been playing slide on Built to Spill records, but it was more George Harrison style, not open tuning. I tried to emulate Fred McDowell's style. I used finger picks, a glass slide and an open tuning (G with my own slight variations). Also, I employed his techniques of playing the melodies with the slide while singing the same notes. I messed around with this technique making up simple songs for about a year. Then I started jamming with some friends and decided to record the songs.
I purchased some gear for my little home studio and in the fall of '99 recorded this record. The song Heart (Things Never Shared) was recorded a few months later. It's the only song in standard tuning, but I feel it fits nicely on the album. I wanted to put the record out on a small label, but business stuff made that impossible. I'm glad Warner Bros. decided to release the record. Now I mostly listen to reggae...