Nashville-based, platinum recording artist Ron Pope has announced his forthcoming LP, Inside Voices, with the release of its lead single and video, “The Real Thing.” Inside Voices, due June 2nd via Brooklyn Basement Records. The album was written in the wake of emotional upheaval from pregnancy loss and an ectopic pregnancy that almost cost his wife her life. After experiencing one tragedy after another, the Pope family was in a very dark place of unbearable heaviness and overwhelming pain. For a year, Ron found himself unable to create, spending all of his energy trying to keep his family afloat. To gain some sense of normalcy, he packed up his wife and young daughter, and headed to the beach. The Popes found peace and rest by the ocean; the simplicity of life by the water began to resurrect the spark of creativity, and Ron was able to write again.
“The Real Thing” recounts a harrowing hospital experience; standing in the emergency room wondering if Ron was going to lose his bride was a massive dose of reality. “We’re not ‘entertainment industry’ married; we’re ‘real people’ married,” he says. “She is the gravity that holds our universe together, my best friend, my business partner, my lover, my bride.”
“This experience reminded me that I can never lose focus on what a gift it all is,” he continues. “This music is me remembering all of that; I know to treasure this woman and the life we’ve built together, because one day, it was all almost taken from us. So here I am, after all these years, singing about why I cherish her and how I’m still working to be a better partner for her from this day until our last day, whenever that may come.” All of the visuals for the album contain items that are symbolic for Ron, his family, and the songs. Each video centers around the dining table – every week, his extended family would gather for a meal, which are some of Ron’s fondest memories from childhood. The video for “The Real Thing” depicts a scene of Ron and his “cousins” around a dinner table, talking, laughing, toasting – until the end, after loss and grief, he finds himself the head of the family table.
When it was time to make the record, the “normal” grind of 18-hour days in the studio, locked away from his family, having too much caffeine and too little sleep was out of the question. “I needed to be there, to participate in the days with my family,” Ron recalls. “My wife and I were both still far too fragile to run the gauntlet that my usual recording process put us through. I just couldn’t afford to leave my family, it wasn’t an option.”
He decided to record the album at the shore, finding a small, secluded cottage on the Peconic Bay, a rural area of Long Island. Enlisting the help of longtime friend and collaborator, Paul Hammer, and the pair set about the painstaking work of recording – playing all of the instruments, painstakingly building each track layer by layer, as well as mixing and mastering it – by themselves. It was the happiest Ron had ever been while making a record.
Also during the recording process, both of Ron’s beloved grandparents passed away within eight days of each other. They were an integral part of his life, offering advice and guidance – several of the songs on Inside Voices commemorate the impact his grandparents had on him. Witnessing their 60-year marriage showed him that real, lasting love is an action, a choice you make every day – a message carried throughout each of the album’s gut-punching tracks. Here, there is no artifice; this is the sound of a man stripped bare, broken down, and then rebuilt. Inside Voices finds Ron at the height of his prowess, a writer speaking with honesty, vulnerability, and ultimately, gratitude.
Photo Courtesy: Laura E. Partain