Although humans are primarily motivated by self-preservation, it’s a pretty common trait of human nature to want to run away. But it’s often the very thing that’s making us want to run away that keeps us coming back for more, and that was exactly the case with The Juniper Berries and the new Earth Libraries-released single “My Ambition.”
The songwriting project of the talented and audacious Joshua Stirm, The Juniper Berries were originally intended to have a third record coming out, for which “My Ambition” would be one of the centerpiece tracks. Things didn’t exactly go as planned and Stirm seriously questioned his dedication and desire to continue to be a songwriter and a musician.
But, luckily, there was “My Ambition” which became sort of his outlet, or at least what helped offer him some perspective on his angst and his fear about the world. Writing the song helped him realize that life can be pretty messed up, but often in a humorous way that helps lend you a certain acumen or awareness.
Explaining “My Ambition” and its backdrop, Stirm tells us:
“The song started out as kind of a jokey country song that I almost didn’t pursue. I think when I was writing it, I was mostly just really stressed out. It felt kind of throwaway at first, like one of those songs that comes together so easily you’re like well this can’t be that good.
“I wrote it while driving from Ashland to Portland, Oregon during a solo road trip in late-2019. I was about to move to Austin, as well as in the process of booking a tour and hammering out our last record’s release. I just felt overwhelmed by everything in that moment and wrote the song almost as a wish that I could just quit music and be rid of my desire to keep it going. After lockdown the song took on a whole new meaning for me, and serendipitously ended up being the very project that brought me back to making music with other people again.
“We tracked it in a couple of sessions at Dave Hanson’s home studio in south Austin. The meat of it went really fast, partially thanks to the demo I’d made back in Oregon with my friend Jonathan Nelson. We nailed down the bulk of the song in the first session, then spent the next few laying down harmonies and twinkly stuff. Dave kept asking me if it was done or not and I kept coming back to the studio with more harmony ideas and layers. I think he was annoyed at first that we couldn’t just move on to the next song but in the end we’re both really proud of how it came out. This is actually the first Juniper Berries song to feature a glockenspiel. Those things do in fact still rip.”
As Stirm references, he made the decision to relocate from Ashland, Oregon to his current home of Austin, Texas a few years ago. Upon his arrival in Austin, the creative juices got flowing, and he wrote nearly 30 songs, some of which wound up on The Juniper Berries’ sophomore album.
After some extensive touring plans for 2020 got scrapped, Stirm relocated to his friend Dave Hanson’s home studio in South Austin where they worked tirelessly on new material. From this songwriting stint came “My Ambition” which was written and worked out in only three sessions. The song has proven to be way more important than Stirm ever would have imagined, and it’s a big part of the reason why he is now confidently moving forward with The Juniper Berries and his songwriting career.