Reprinted from American Songwriter
When you have someone as iconic as Rick Allen of Def Leppard playing drums on your song, you’re going to make sure the drums are up front and pronto. That’s exactly what singer songwriter Lauren Monroe did with her new single “Big Love.” If there’s one thing you notice aside from her powerful and commanding vocals, it’s the drums… percussive, thunderous, and center stage.
Allen, however, wasn’t the only drummer who added his mark to the track. “Recording drums for ‘Big Love’ was pretty unique,” he explains. “We recorded three drummers all at once… myself, Steve Ferrone and John Ginty.”
If three drummers seemed like plenty, there’s even more. “We had six drummers including Lauren [and Kenny Aronoff] on the finished song,” he laughs. “It was a total drum fest supporting a fantastic song with a very powerful message.”
Anthemic and soaring, like the big AM/FM rock classics of the 70s and 80s but with a sleeker and cleaner presentation, “Big Love” combats the divisiveness of the current social, cultural and political climate and tries to quell it with a blanket of peace and love. “’Big Love’ is a song I felt I had to write and record,” Monroe explains. “It’s my anthem and I trust it. It represents my heart and my soul, and defines this moment in time. Hopeful. Strong. Healing.”
“Everybody’s fine, living in anger / From sunset to dawn, we’re takin’ it home,” she sings, signaling the complacency and resigned defeat that has overtaken the hearts and minds of the public at large. But she wants to change that and transform people’s numbness with something as pure and unrefined as “big love.”
While talk may be cheap, Monroe and Allen are putting their money where their music is by donating a large portion of the proceeds for the single to Project Resiliency and the Raven Drum Foundation, two organizations established for veterans and individuals who suffer trauma and other difficult life circumstances including COVID-19. It’s the added impetus that is nourished by the track.
“I’m not much of a crafter when it comes to songwriting,” she replies, about the origin of the song. “I’m more of a scribe, listening to the sounds and seeing images being given to me from a higher place and respectfully bringing them into form.” Channeling this inspiration can come in drips and drabs or it come crashing in all at once like a tsunami. “Sometimes a song is given all at once in totality… 10 min… BOOM! it’s born!,” she echoes. “Other times I’m given a chorus or a verse and then need to wait a few days, months or years. But they are all gifts. One of the most incredible gifts I’ve been given as an artist is to be able to create a song.”
Once the song was written, “Big Love” benefited from an array of musical heavy hitters who contributed to the track. With help from keyboardist Benmont Tench, lead guitarist Waddy Wachtel, bassist Bob Glaub, and additional drummers Kenny Aronoff and Steve Ferrone (all with impressive pedigrees of their own) and guided by producer Jim Scott, Monroe crafted an epic track that transcends emotions, adding hope and healing at a time when it’s needed most.
“It’s difficult to speak of such heavy topics and create such an uplifting and positive message in a song but ‘Big Love’ does that,” says Allen. “I think it’s because of Lauren’s unique approach to writing songs that she is able to convey emotion in a way that creates a personal and powerful experience for the listener. I’m proud to be a part of this project.”
For Monroe, however, she sees it in a much more humble way. ““To me writing a song comes from a place of being in suspended time,” she concludes. “I can get lost in a song for hours and lose track of myself, feeling completely in the moment… Our world is experiencing a profound change, and as we look around, reflect, speak out and continue to impact our country and our global society we endeavor to take care of all of us. It’s not a new perspective. You just have to look and listen to find it.”