Nashville’s The Prescriptions have hit fresh highs on their sophomore LP ‘Time Apart,’ a spirited indie rock record radiating with raw heartland passion, smoldering energy, and charming, churning melodies.
for fans of The Killers, Mt. Joy, Lord Huron, Blind Pilot
Stream: “April Blossoms” – The Prescriptions
The scene is so simple, and yet it speaks volumes: Three men sit comfortably around a table at a nondescript Anytown bar, grinning boyishly at one another, each with his own plastic cup full of beer. One is taking a sip; another looks to be mid-laugh, and a third has a cheeky smile plastered on his face. It’s so innocuous a moment that it might otherwise have been forgotten entirely, had it not been photographed.
But if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s to cherish what little time we get to spend together. The Prescriptions’ sophomore album art presents us with a scene of friendship; of presence, human connection, and intimate understanding – and it is exactly these themes and more that come to life in the band’s music. Radiating with raw heartland passion and charming, churning melodies, Time Apart is a spirited indie rock celebration of life’s highs and lows: A record full of smoldering swells, jangling guitars, and an infallible heat that warms our weary souls.
I could not replay what was said
Or try to put myself in that world
I was living on the dead end
Where all the sounds turned to one
I was lying in the commotion
Enjoying no particular style
Where the cars drove down and circle
You’re accidentally in my mind
I know that it’s typical
To hold you in that light
But if you’re so cynical
You might be right
Just like April blossoms
Shining out into the world
Like a new age come up
That reminds you of the first one you heard
– “April Blossoms,” The Prescriptions
Released November 18, 2022 via Single Lock Records, Time Apart is a bold, achingly honest, and beautifully charismatic return for The Prescriptions. Comprised of singer/guitarist Hays Ragsdale, bassist Parker McAnnally, and drummer John Wood, the Nashville indie rock trio captivated our collective ears with 2019’s debut album Hollywood Gold, which Atwood Magazine praised at the time as a raw dose of the good stuff: “Feelgood, sunny hope and youthful energy help elevate a rising band to soaring heights as they bask in the good times and brace for the bad, together as one. As much Wilco as they are Lucero, The Prescriptions are the textbook example of a 21st Century Nashville rock band, keenly balancing country, blue, and rock influences as they carve out a place for themselves in Music City.”
The past couple of years have seen The Prescriptions continuing to raise their profile while withstanding lineup changes and all the trauma, upheaval, and associated turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with producers Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes) and Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs), the band endeavored to capture some of that chaos and fracture while further honing their sound; leaning more into the driving heartland rock of bands like The Killers than on the folkier rock of their debut, Time Apart goes for big, cinematic choruses full of emotional release.
“The process of writing and recording this record was a scattered one,” The Prescriptions’ Hays Ragsdale tells Atwood Magazine. “The bulk of the recordings were done during lockdown but the writing spanned years. There are songs from the early days of the band that made it on to the album, and then there were ones that we came up with the day in the studio. When you have a collection of work that spans that many years, you end up not knowing what you have exactly and not knowing when it’s finished. I think at a certain point during the making of this album, we had to lean into the uncertainty of all the outside factors (like would we ever tour again, or will this music ever come out) which kind of took the pressure off. We recorded with multiple producers, and some of these songs were written when the band had a completely different lineup five years ago. You could definitely throw “Time Apart” into the “lockdown record” playlist. But it also reflects a time before then and looks to an after.”
“I think the vision was pretty simple: Record the songs we’d written and see what we have at the end of the day. I’m sure some artists go into the making of a record with a clear vision of how they want to do it, but I’ve always just tried to take it moment by moment and song by song. You could say that honesty was a consistent theme… The goal for me was to be able to insert more honesty into my songs. I felt that if I didn’t know what my honest writing voice was, then I wouldn’t be able to then go in and write from different perspectives. I’m not sure what that says about artistry. I look at all artists and their art as a gift. I’m surprised I’m still doing it myself, but it’s always been something I’ve had to do in some way and will always do. The title “Time Apart” was inspired by all the album titles that can be left up to interpretation.”
Performing a balancing act between the catchy and the cathartic, The Prescriptions strive to make every second count across eleven visceral and stunning songs.
Between the heated, invigorating bookends of opener “April Blossoms” and closer “Camp Hill” lie seductive, sweltering grooves like “Long Past Tonight” and “I Might Try,” heavy outpourings like “I Get Lost” and “On Satellite,” and aching burners like “Love Is Red” and “Compartmentalize.” Time Apart is decidedly darker than its predecessor, but it’s also more hopeful – and while the haunting, ethereal ballad “Baby Be Nice” is the best example of this darkness at work, throughout the album one can feel both the aches and pangs of a heavy heart, and the will to persevere in spite of everything stacked up against us. Surviving the last few years has not been easy for any of us, but hearing this emotional push-and-pull expressed so powerfully through song proves a resounding reminder that, even while we’re apart, we are never alone.
“I think we all like songs that are moving towards a sound or idea we haven’t gotten to yet,” Ragsdale says, reflecting on the band’s record. “‘Fire Moon’ is a favorite of all of ours because it’s just so different. It was one I wasn’t sure of, but has grown on me the longer we play it. I [also] like the lyrics in ‘Long Past Tonight’ because they’re not 100% serious, and the line in ‘April Blossoms,’ ‘If the good things haven’t come yet, you haven’t opened your eyes.‘ I have to tell myself that often.”
For a while, I could look away
And my mind was moved
But now I’ve been confronted
I can see you for what you did
It’s hard to know how I am a part of it
How could you be so cold
To look away and feel the same?
Didn’t you see the news relayed
Down to the last one in the chain
I can tell it’s what you want
To hold on to what you got
You can keep it
And fall back in line and I’m
– “Fire Moon,” The Prescriptions
At its core, Time Apart is a testament to the beauty and wonder of our raw, real human spirit.
We can’t help but harken back to the album art, with its portrait of IRL brotherhood and kinship. We’ve spent a long enough time away from one another to know how special it is to come together – and whether that’s over a couple beers or some good music, there’s nothing quite as meaningful as a physical presence, the bonds of friendship, and a comforting, knowing smile.
As for Ragsdale, McAnnally, and Wood, the future feels as bright as ever: The Prescriptions have hit a new level from a musical perspective, a lyrical standpoint, and from an overall songwriting space.
“It’s ok to admit that you’re not sure of the issue, and it’s ok to let ideas you may have about yourself come and go,” Ragsdale observes. “That’s what I learned from making it.”
Long past tonight
We can slow down and breathe
We’re living this lonely life
I wanna give you what you need
Like a stupid love song
We’ve been trying to ignore the clock
Got a feeling that we don’t belong
So how do we make it stop?
The first thing out of your mouth
Is a brand new phrase
Waiting for someone to call you out
But everything will be replaced
– “Long Past Tonight,” The Prescriptions
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside The Prescriptions’ Time Apart with Atwood Magazine as singer/guitarist Hays Ragsdale goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s sophomore LP!
Stream: ‘Time Apart’ – The Prescriptions
:: Inside Time Apart ::
This was the first song we recorded with Brendan. It all happened really fast and it was an exciting song to record. It showed us a different sonic space we could fit these songs into. It’s a song about starting over, and leaning into change.
Long Past Tonight
“Long Past Tonight” was my attempt at writing a song that wasn’t 100% serious. I wanted it to be a semi-anthem for the people who haven’t gotten where they’re going yet and still have there best days ahead.
Love Is Red
“Love Is Red” started acoustic and slow and if I’m remembering correct, Chris(guitar player), switched from strumming the chords to playing as them as a single note which turned it into this completely different feel. It was fun recording group vocals and harmonies on this one with Brendan.
I Get Lost
I had a demo of “I Get Lost” in GarageBand for a while that consisted only of distorted electric guitar and some mumbled lyrics which is how most of my songs tend to start. I played it for the band and everybody knew instantly where to take it. It’s more or less a confessional song.
We played this way back in the early days of the band but didn’t know what to do with it at the time. I think it was Parker who said we should bring it back out and we totally re-approached it. It’s a song about the frustration and confusion caused by living in a world where we’re being extracted from constantly.
We recorded “Fire Moon” live with Ben Tanner on piano. It was a great feeling not needing to worry about too many overdubs because everything was already there in the recording. John Paul White came by to sing on the outro which was a great moment, and took the outro to a whole new sonic space.
We’ve been playing “On Satellite” since the Hollywood Gold days so it was ready to record when it came time. Since we knew the arrangement of the song so well, to keep ourselves on our toes, we experimented with a lot of effects and pedals and sped it up just a little bit. I’m proud of this one because the combination of influences comes through in a clear way.
Not the Issue
“Not the Issue” took me a long time to finish writing the lyrics for. It ended up being a combination of two separate songs; A chorus from one song and a verse from another. I feel like this one changes between meanings to me depending on when we’re playing it, which I really enjoy. It really shifts meanings from a more personal song to commentary when the bridge comes in, “trying to find a new situation.”
I Might Try
It was Ben’s idea to bring in strings from our friends Caleb Elliot and Kimi Samson along with vocals from John Paul White. Those contributions, along with the drum and bass interactions, created the direction for this song.
Baby, Be Nice
We decided to let this song float around in space. It’s a song about taking a deep breath, so it felt fitting to do that at this point in the record.
“Camp Hill” started as a slow country ballad, then Parker suggested we all play it as this kind of unison build. This song, along with “Be Nice” was written during the height of the lockdown in Camp Hill, Alabama. I really wanted to make sure I finished the lyrics for some of these songs during, what I thought, was the toughest time to create (2020).
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? © Noah Tidmore
:: Stream The Prescriptions ::