This song used to be called ‘I Don’t Recognize This World I’m In’. During Ken’s Nashville Song Camp, Steve Leslie did a little critiquing. He said it sounded like an old Merle Haggard song…but never got to the good part.
When he heard the words ‘Life don’t stop there no more’, he had to stop and comment. He had never really heard that type of description in a song before. He also heard the part about the little white farmhouse just east of the tracks…and told Ken this song wanted to go somewhere else than how he wrote out the story. He suggested that Ken change the title of the song to ‘Life Doesn’t Stop There Anymore’ and use the near rhymes with that ‘OR’ sound to tell the story.
Ken envisioned an old farmhouse just east of the railroad tracks. Something that is now all worn out, chipped, and with a big front porch. He imagined sitting on that porch in a rocking chair listening to his Grandmother’s stories from his childhood. Ken also imagined how his Mom would wave goodbye every time he would go to her house to visit. Most of the time, Ken lived far away and only got to visit with her every few years. When it was time to go home, she would start to cry…then make him cry…as they said our goodbyes. Ken also remember thinking this may be the last time he ever see her again. Those memories were in the original version of this song, but it made it sound too sad…and almost as if she passed away. Well, she hasn’t…his Mom is in good health and very active.
Ken eventually changed the song to reflect how she used to sing when he was a kid. She didn’t sing from the front porch, but many times they would all sing along and even harmonize to her singing. Ken just loved the word ‘harmonize’, so he made sure it fit into the song.
Steve Leslie basically wrote the chorus of this song. When he critiqued it during one of the breakdown sessions in Nashville, he gave Ken this:
THE YEARS JUST ROLL BY LIKE AN OLD _____ TRAIN
WELL __________ I WON’T EVER SEE AGAIN
__________________ I’LL BE BACK
____________________ ON THOSE TRACKS
BUT LIFE DOESN’T STOP THERE ANYMORE
After he kind of sang this chorus…Ken’s mind started going wild. (the blanks he just sang as ‘dada-da-da-da’). The chorus Ken finally came up with was a little from the original song and the rest of his suggestions.
YEARS KEEP ROLLING BY LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT OLE TRAIN
DAYS OF UNLOCKED DOORS I WILL NEVER SEE AGAIN
LOOKING AT THOSE TRACKS WELL IT ALWAYS TAKES ME BACK
TO ROCKING WITH GRANDMA ON THAT PORCH
AND LISTENING TO HER STORIES LIKE BEFORE
YEAH LIFE DOESN’T STOP THERE ANYMORE
Ken has yet to send a somewhat finished version back to Steve Leslie, but when he does, he will offer him a co-write on this song…and hopes that Steve will say yes.