If we’ve learned anything from Caitlin Quisenberry’s catalog thus far, it’s to expect the unexpected. In fact, her last three single releases are a perfect example: a disco-leaning tune, a rocking cover of “Killing Me Softly,” and most recently, a stone cold country ballad dripping with steel guitar, “Cowboys Make Better Lovers.”
Setting herself in the Wild West both sonically and thematically, Quisenberry’s newest offering may be her most “country” to date, as sparse instrumentation allows her vocal chops to shine.
We caught up with Quisenberry to talk all about “Cowboys Make Better Lovers,” as well as being more active in songwriting rooms, new Christmas tunes and more!
Pro Country: Your last single, “Killing Me Softly,” and your newest, “Cowboys Make Better Lovers” were both produced by Jason Wyatt, who’s had plenty of success as both an artist and a producer. What kind of camaraderie do you feel in the studio with Jason and how does that bring out the best in you as an artist?
Caitlin Quisenberry: I love working with Jason for so many reasons! From the moment I bring him an idea for a song, he spends time with me to come up with exactly what I’m looking for, and it’s usually better than I ever could have imagined. He allows me to be part of the entire creative process, which I enjoy. I’m in the studio when the musicians record, and I lay down a scratch vocal at the same time, so everything is the way we want it when I come back in to lay down my vocals. Then Jason and I sit together with my engineer, Elliott Didur, and sing harmonies to come up with different ideas of what we are hearing. The thing I appreciate most about Jason is that he REALLY brings the energy when I’m recording. He’s so supportive and brings out the best in my voice. He also sings on every track I record; he has the coolest rocker voice! I’m in awe of his creativity and musical talent. It’s so much fun working with him!
PC: You co-wrote “Cowboys Make Better Lovers” with Olivia Faye, Jesse Labelle and Corey Lee Barker. Can you take us in the room and talk about the inspiration behind the song?
CQ: The idea behind it stems from my love and intrigue of the Wild West and the iconic role the cowboy has played throughout American history. I wanted my lyrics to bring that idea into the present-day dating world in a fun and clever way, wanting to know why they say, “Cowboys Make Better Lovers.” I’ve had that title and idea written down for about a year and was waiting for the right time and writing group to bring it out. I was writing with Olivia Faye and Jesse Labelle and pitched the idea to them, and they wanted to go with it. (I wrote “Take Only What You Need” with Jesse Labelle and Ben Simonetti, my most streamed single to date.) They are both extremely talented writers and artists, so it was a fun and easy song to write with them. I thought it would be perfect for the TV show, Yellowstone, so I sent it to another friend I write with, Corey Lee Barker, because he does a lot of sync placements for songs. He loved the song, changed a few lyrics that made the song even better, then pitched it to Yellowstone.
PC: “Cowboys Make Better Lovers” is possibly the most “country” song you’ve released in your career. Can you talk about the sonic inspiration for the song and the love you have for that brand of country music?
CQ: I wanted the song to sound like it was out of a Western film, with all the beautiful country nuances and instrumentation, and my producer, Jason Wyatt, really nailed it. I love getting songs pitched to me, but now that I’m writing a lot, I’m able to write exactly for my voice, on topics I want to sing about, and I’m part of the process on exactly how I want a song to sound. This song is in my sweet spot, and I absolutely love singing it.
PC: Your past handful of releases have mixed outside cuts with songs you had a hand in writing. How important is it for you to strike a balance between being receptive to outside songs and perspectives while still continuing to offer your own?
CQ: There are so many brilliant writers who write amazing songs, and I will always be open to recording songs I didn’t write. At the same time, I do love writing for myself, so moving forward, the next releases I have ready are all ones I’ve written. I also have a song I wrote on hold right now with Wynonna Judd to record, so that’s really exciting!
PC: The last time we talked, you mentioned that your next two singles will be original Christmas songs. How much do you enjoy the opportunity to write new Christmas tunes and getting in the spirit of recording and releasing those songs?
CQ: You have to get in the Christmas spirit by July to get a song written and recorded in time for the holiday season. The two songs I wrote were also being pitched to Hallmark movies for placement, so that was another reason to get them done early. I think writing new Christmas songs are the hardest, because I personally love the Christmas classics best. Last year, I released a cover of “O Holy Night,” and in just a couple months, it got almost 200,000 streams. The two Christmas songs I wrote to be released this season are complete opposites of each other. The first one will drop November 25th, the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a really sad Christmas song that many can relate to about the feeling of being alone and empty during the holidays. I think Christmas songs overlook those who don’t look forward to the holidays. I always want my music to be relatable, so it was important for me to write that song. The other song I wrote drops the following week on December 2nd and that one is the complete opposite. It’s fun and upbeat with a fun 1950’s vibe. Jason Wyatt produced both of these and wrote them with me and Corey Lee Barker.
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
CQ: I would love for anyone reading this to check out my Patreon. I’m an independent artist, and it’s one of the best ways to support me and for us to personally connect. You can join for as little as $1 a month, and with each level you get more. Please check it out HERE!
I also want to thank Pro Country for always supporting me and my music, and for always asking me thought provoking questions. Pro Country has been an incredible platform for me to get my music out to the world and for me to read about other artists. Each article they put out has a great balance of a write up about an artist and their music, along with the artists taking the readers behind the song, and who they are. If there’s one publication to follow and read, it’s Pro Country! Thank you so much Justin and Pro Country for all you do for me!
*”Cowboys Make Better Lovers” is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*