Sweet Memory

It’s some kind of irony that a song about the inconvenient persistence of memory took so long to finish. I started writing Sweet Memory almost three years ago, but after penning a few verses in one sitting I couldn’t think of what to say next and I left it alone. The song sat in a folder on my computer for years, and even coming back to it from time to time I was never able to finish it.

In April of this year I had a cowriting session with my friend Candi Shelton, an incredible songwriter, vocalist, and author. We were digging through the backlog of ideas and decided to work on this one, and within an hour or so had fleshed the rest of it out into what you’re listening to now, including the beautiful chorus melody which was entirely her doing. Sometimes all you need is another perspective, another pen to complete the thought hook.

Here’s what it sounded like that day:


The experience of working on the song with Candi was a firm reminder of the value of collaboration. My few initial verses dealt only with the way that bad memories tend to haunt us, but the idea of personal responsibility entered the picture as we worked through it together. It improved the song, I think, because while “I wish I could forget that” is a strong emotional reality for most of us, the sting of “I wish I had done that differently” can be much harder to deal with.

My gut on production was that it didn’t need much besides vocals and guitar, but I thought that pedal steel might add a nice bittersweetness. Candi and a few others agreed, even without my bringing it up, which affirmed the choice. Michael Westbrook is a brilliant guitarist, songwriter, and producer who I love collaborating with, and we got together to work out the part a few days before sending it off to mix.

Brian Zieske
again did a beautiful job mixing & mastering, immediately grasping the vibe of the song and subtly enhancing it with sonic depth and texture. If you’re looking for high-quality mixing & mastering with a smooth analog touch for your own projects, look no further. The man’s a wizard.

Written by Brendan Trinkle and Candi Shelton
Vocals – Brendan Trinkle and Candi Shelton
Guitars – Brendan Trinkle
Pedal steel guitar – Michael Westbrook
Mixing & mastering – Brian Zieske