The Music In XO
Growing up, I had two passions: words and music. I read everything I could get my hands on, and — with the hubris of youth — wrote fiction and poetry nonstop. As for music, I listened to every genre and decided, also at a young age, to become a singer-songwriter, following in the footsteps of my idols, like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon (did I mention hubris?).
My goal was not to be a superstar but to be a working singer-songwriter. Alas, it was not to be — because, of course, it’s not enough to be a good wordsmith; one must be a stellar performer to succeed in the business. And the phrase singer-songwriter carries two indispensable components. The second part — writing — I was pretty good at. The former, not so much.
When I began writing novels, years ago, I was always looking for the opportunity to incorporate lyrics of mine into a thriller. I experimented with this in a short story called The Fan six or seven years ago, and then went all out and wrote a number of original country-western/pop songs for my book XO, or updated some of my early songs. Some of the songs simply add flavor to the novel (about a stalker of an attractive and popular country singer); others contain actual clues to help the reader figure out who the villain is.
I wanted to hire musicians to create the music to one song — Your Shadow, which I wrote in the spirit of Every Breath Your Take, which could be a love song, could be a stalker song. I was then going to have someone record it and I’d offer it free as a download or for streaming, accompanying the book. I was surprised, to say the least, when Clay Stafford, the head of the great production company I hired, American Blackguard in Nashville, suggested setting all of my lyrics to music and releasing them as an album.
I debated five seconds and said, You bet!
The album of these songs — lyrics by me, music by Clay and Ken Landers, sung by the brilliant Treva Blomquist — has now being released.
Thinking back all those years to my early days as a musician, I can’t help but hear echoes of one of my favorite songs from back then: Will the Circle Be Unbroken.
— Jeffery Deaver
Visit the official XO Album web site to hear samples of all the music, download a free song, and more!