David Ayscue has just released his debut album titled Southwood Waltz, and it’s one that will be blasting from every summer playlist.
Now based in Los Angeles, the indie singer-songwriter is a San Francisco Bay area native whose soft-rock stylings are inspired by Bruce Springsteen, The Avett Brothers, Dave Matthews Band, and Mumford & Sons. Southwood Waltz has elements from each artist sprinkled throughout, a homage of sorts to their crafts and stylings.
An eight-song acoustic journey, the soft rock album details Ayscue’s transition from adolescence to adulthood, making listeners feel at ease while also touching on his biggest anxieties and adventures in life. Its words and sounds echo his childhood, playing back the singer’s most cherished moments through his soothing vocals and guitar-laced tracks.
Ayscue breaks down Southwood Waltz track by track exclusively for Musical Notes Global readers. Check it out below!
1. “New York”: I wrote this song a few weeks prior to visiting my brother in NYC, who was living in a tiny apartment in SoHo at the time. I'd never been to New York as an adult before and I had these dream-like ideas of what the city was going to be like-- the serenity of Central Park, the nostalgia brought on by meeting up with old friends, the adventure of exploring a new city. The first day I was there we went out to brunch in the morning and got pretty drunk off of bottomless mimosas. The following few hours we journeyed through the city and eventually found ourselves getting schooled in pickup basketball by some local 16-year olds on a public court. There's so much possibility in NYC.
2. “Child of Sin”: This song is about the first few days or weeks of being in a new relationship when there's much time spent at home getting to know each other. One of my favorite Third Eye Blind songs, Losing A Whole Year, has the line "I remember me and you used to spend the whole goddamn day in bed," so I'm kinda playing off of that. I feel like there's something scandalous about that, though, like you're neglecting other duties you have as an adult because your attraction and need to while away the hours with that person takes precedence. That's where the idea of "Sin" comes from.
3. “Silverlake Sunday”: I wrote this song during a month last summer that I spent crashing on friend's couches and traveling around with everything I owned packed into my car. It's about the paradox of hopefulness and anxiety that accompany chasing your dreams. I think Los Angeles and California represent dreams for a lot of people, but there's also a lot of grittyness to LA that you only experience when you get out here. The day-to-day anxiety of trying to advance in life as a professional musician is something you have to overcome.
4. “Yesterday's Song”: This is a song about being apprehensive about adulthood, and then looking back at childhood and saying, "Can I get some more of that?"
5. “Penny”: I wrote this song as a junior at USC, feeling completely lost. I didn't know what I was doing there or where it was leading & felt like I was grasping at straws. This song is about waking up to the beauty around us -- turning away from the overthinking, constantly analyzing, scrutinizing mind -- and realizing that the world outside is so much more interesting that our own inner struggles, as oddly alluring as their darkness may be.
6. “Back in My Day”: A tune about growing up in Marin County, CA, and all the shenanigans we used to get into as kids.
7. “I Miss You”: Just a straight up letter somebody. This is probably one of the most personal and honest songs I've ever written and it came out in a period of real vulnerability.
8. “Where We Land”: This is a song about looking back with gratefulness on past experiences you've had with people you love. Specifically, I wrote it about this place called Great Bay in New Hampshire where my brothers and i used to boat around in during the summers. There's an essence of peace & spirituality to that place that is hard for me to describe, but I think the song does a good job of capturing it.
Stream Southwood Waltz below.