Song Spinner: Will Evans’ ‘Life is a Photograph’

Will Evans performs "Life is a Photograph" during a recent video shoot for The Day at The Garde Arts Center in New London.
Will Evans performs "Life is a Photograph" during a recent video shoot for The Day at The Garde Arts Center in New London. Peter Huoppi/The Day Buy Photo

This episode of our Song Spinners series, which takes you inside the hearts, minds and hands of local musicians and their creative process, reveals the story behind "Life is a Photograph" by Will Evans.

BIO: Currently living in Westerly, Evans spent years as the lead vocalist/drummer/songwriter in the roots act Barefoot Truth; they toured mid-sized halls across the country and released CDs like "Carry Us On" and "Changes in the Weather." When the band went on perhaps permanent hiatus, Evans' status as a frontman has become more literal - he went solo, moved to guitar and, last year, released his first album, "Wishin' Well."

EVEN MORE NATIONAL EXPOSURE: After submitting "Life is a Photograph," a tune from "Wishin' Well," Evans was selected from more than 10,000 applicants as one of 10 finalists in Guitar Center's Singer-Songwriter III competition. He'll perform Saturday in Los Angeles along with the other finalists. The grand prize winner receives all sorts of great and music-centric stuff and will record a four-song EP with Don Was, the Grammy-winning producer. Was is associated with such acts as John Mayer, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks. Was also hand-picked the competition finalists.

SOUND: Where Barefoot Truth explored the sonic territory carved by folks such as Dave Matthews, Sister Hazel and Blues Traveler, Evans' solo work has a more direct and poppy sound, often infused with dashes of reggae and, fueled by his drummer's soul, intricate syncopation. Lyrically, Evans is addressing the more mature topics you'd expect from someone who's had years on the road, gotten married, and looks at life from the "closer to 30 than 20" actuarial perspective.

HOW "LIFE IS A PHOTOGRAPH" CAME ABOUT: Though Evans gets musical and lyrical inspiration in a variety of ways and is perfectly adept at sitting down for the express purpose of writing a song, he prefers out-of-nowhere inspiration.

"I had that line, 'Life is a photograph in a scrapbook,' and started blending ideas and what did that mean to me?" Evans says. He thought about it and determined that "life is made up of all these little moments - these snapshots in time - and, combined, they make this sort of collage that is your life, and it's as simple as that. You have bad days and you have great moments and all they are is little snapshots in the huge picture that is your life." He laughs. "Enjoy them or move on if they're not enjoyable."

A NOVEL STRUCTURE: Evans was bombarded with lyrical ideas for the song and found that, if he put them together in connective, run-on fashion, he could flow melody over bouncy, simple chords - C, G, E minor and D - in an infectious and unique fashion. He then completely skirted the traditional song blueprint, consciously blurring the territory between verse and chorus. Evans consciously kicked off the song with the hook and then repeated it.

"It's the kind of a song you don't maybe hear what it's saying to you the first time around," he says, "but, by the end, you're gonna hear it and understand it better. It's a needs-to-be-digested type of song rather than, oh, that's the hook or I like that Katy Perry lick and I can hear it 50 times through the rest of the song."

THINK LOCAL: On March 8, Evans will perform a song for the Jordan Matthew Porco Memorial Foundation gala taking place in the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den. The outfit's mission is to help prevent suicide in college students, a cause Evans strongly supports.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: willevans.com is the go-to spot for music, merchandise, tour dates and so on. Evans says he'll post results of the Guitar Center competition as soon as possible.

'Life is a Photograph' - words and music by Will Evans

We all need just a push or a shove every once in a while, a few small steps and pretty soon you'll be walking for miles so lean on the trust, the trust that I'm providing and won't you be calm, just let it happen/Life always seems is gonna set you up for challenge but don't look away just take it on with balance/So strike your pose, and if you start to stumble well love will be the mortar that's gonna keep you strong and humble

So take good care, of one another

Be prepared, to follow through

Your greatest moment comes when your back's against the wall

and when it comes around, you won't have to choose

you know what to do

For a moment, just own it

Remember how we used to laugh

Breathe through it, you can do this

Life is just a photograph

BRIDGE: Everyday that you move/Every way that you start/all the bridges you burn everything that you are

All the people we meet, you know we traveled so far, and all the lessons you learn, every fall leaves a scar/And those scars are there to remind us, not what went wrong, but what went right, and there to implore us to soldier on, as we shoot for them stars/We all need just a push or a shove every once in a while, a few small steps and pretty soon you'll be walking for miles so lean on the trust, the trust that I'm providing and won't you be calm, just let it happen/Life always seem is gonna set you up for challenge but don't look away just take it on with balance/So strike your pose, and if you start to stumble well love will be the mortar that's gonna keep you strong and humble

For a moment, just own it

Remember how we used to laugh

Breathe through it, you can do This

Life is just a photograph

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