A playful, mid-tempo romp about a romantic misunderstanding, Brandon Lay’s “For My Money” is not your typical country love song. “No, it’s not,” Lay chuckles to Country Now. “I think that’s kind of one of the reasons we liked it. I turned it in with a batch, we had six songs cut, and that one just jumped out from the group.”
“For My Money” tells the story of a guy who’s in a new relationship, but his love interest is under the (mistaken) impression that he’s wealthy. While he didn’t originally intend to mislead her, the lies begin piling up. Still, he takes a carefree approach, hoping that “Maybe I can find some paper, we can really fall in love.”
The predicament feels true to life, though Lay says it’s not inspired by real events — at least, not exactly. “It’s not really [a true story.] To some extent,” he allows. “I guess we all put on our best face when we’re in a new relationship, but not quite to this degree. It’s almost that — on steroids.”
Lay came up with “For My Money” in a session with co-writer Andrew DeRoberts a few years ago, after jotting down the basics of the idea. “I had the idea in my notes in my iPhone, where I store my ideas. Andrew and I, it was both of our second write that day — each of us had written with other people during the day, and we had a night write,” the singer recalls. “We just kinda wanted to write something fun, so I threw it out there.”
While Lay initially suspected the song might be just a bit too off-beat for country radio, he changed his mind after seeing how fans reacted to it. “It’s just funny how people have gravitated towards it,” he says.
“Every song we put out, it’s like a nugget of fuel for a live show. Because every time we have something that’s available, it’s proved to really enhance the live experience. Now that we have six or seven or five songs — however many we have available — it’s just kinda fueling the fire live, and that gets me excited,” Lay adds.
Whether or not that will translate to an album remains to be seen — more likely, Lay says, the songs he’s been releasing over the last couple of years will culminate in an EP. Full-length albums are often a daunting proposition for emerging country artists, who are entering a streaming-dominated musical climate. Still, Lay isn’t completely abandoning the album format by any means.
“I know I’m a new artist. But I also feel like I’m a more album-based artist, you know?” he explains, going on to say that he often takes a synaesthetic approach when putting a track list together. “I’ve always written in a sense of — I’ve always had these colors in my head. And numbers. Like, for example, ‘This song right here would make a perfect No. 6 track.’ Or, ‘This is a perfect No. 9 track.’”
Like a lot of artists, Lay links his sonic artistry to other forms of artistry — in this case, visual — to make a cohesive, dynamic project. “I’ve always seen No. 6 as a yellow, or gold, color,” he explains. “And there are just different sounds, different textures, in a song that make it associative in a colorful sense. Or, a No. 9 to me has always been a perfect spot for your ballad.”
For newer performers, it can be difficult to balance showcasing artistry with satisfying the faster, more competitive pace of the digital music industry. “There is a battle to show what you need to show, but you know, you better show it quick,” he laughs.
In the meantime, though, Lay’s live show is rapidly expanding as he hits the road for Brantley Gilbert’s Fire’t Up Tour. “It’s been great. I mean, it could not be going better,” Lay says, reflecting on the first handful of shows of the year so far. “‘For My Money’ just went to radio [recently], but people are already singing it back to us.”