It had been raining almost relentlessly for two weeks straight. Nearby creeks and rivers were raging. You can be swept away trying to cross an Arkansas low-water bridge in these conditions.
Jesse and James had had a few chance encounters here and there, usually at one of Jesse’s shows, often packed with Jesse’s fans who sang along to their favorite songs from Jesse’s previous self-produced albums. James soon became one of those fans, sure enough. By and by he invited Jesse over to his recording studio; a makeshift affair in a small garage out in the woods in the southern Ozark mountains.
On yet another soggy, early autumn evening, they met at James’ place. Both perhaps felt a little awkward when Jesse asked, “What do you want to do?” And, James replied, “Well, whatever you like.” Jesse mentioned that he didn’t have anything prepared, but he did have this riff he could try, “But it needs a bridge. I’ll work something up.” In the brief time James set up microphones, Jesse completed his song. “I think I’ll call it “Pouring Rain,” he said.
Over the next four or five hours, Jesse played guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, laid down a killer solo, devised the lyrics and sang a mythic story of the incessant downpours they'd been experiencing, though it’s really about the possibility of getting washed away by too many hardships, too much tragedy in life. Yet, fighting to hold on long enough until the sun would shine again. For Jesse it was real and personal.
Thus was born the beginning of “Arkansas Amplifier.” “Pouring Rain” was so successful and exciting for them both that over the course of the next year, the boys returned again and again to the studio to attempt to recreate the magic that occurred during that first impromptu session. Bare attention was paid to the technical formalities of studio recording. The big door was often opened wide allowing the wind, rain, birds, animals and insects - the sounds of Arkansas’ nature - add secret essence to the tracks. It worked wonderfully! Groovin’ guitar rock goodness that meanders down a rough-cut gravel road. It could be steep and rocky though, you don't want to get a flat tire out there. Destination? Your heart and soul.