'Gorilla Man' is a composite of a few individuals, but the song itself was actually inspired by James Taylor. I spied his 'Gorilla' album laying on my floor and in some altered state, instantly started singing the chorus. It was fun to write. There's an old notebook with at least three more verses in it somewhere.
Growing up in Nashville, especially in a music business family, means growing up with knowledge that seems like common sense until later in life when you realize people spend thousands of dollars a semester trying to learn or pretending to learn while looking for some intern job on music row.
'Shotgun's one of the first songs I ever wrote. It's about a couple I met at Waffle House, an all night diner I used to hang at before I could go to bars.
If I could be more vague I'd write more about people in my life, but I hate hurting feelings or making people feel uncomfortable. I've done that before. Unless they're sad songs. Those get finished fast, but the mean ones often end up at the back of the bottom drawer and it's probably for the best.
I think I definitely learned how to structure songs, just from listening to a lot of 1960s, 1970s pop music, although I'm sure my mother's watchful eye had a lot to do with it.