When you release a new CD, it makes perfect sense to have more than one release event. Dan Sullivan and Chris Hillier, the duo who are The Detentions, wisely chose to have three separate events in which they showcased the new album, Yes It Is. I sat down to talk with them after their last CD release event.
I first asked the two school teachers / musicians about the various composers of the ten songs on this CD and Dan gave me a wide variety of co-writers. Donny Brewer co-wrote “Professional Drinker” and Dan worked with Stephen McMillen to co-write “Beach in Heaven.” The idea for this fun song came from a text message. “Posting Up” was co-penned with Austin buddy Chris Durden.
Dan beamed as he relayed how he and daughter Jaley wrote the title track, “Yes It Is” together on the Port Aransas beach. He claims she is in love with the beach just as much as he and wife Jennifer are.
So, what were the inspirations for some of the songs on this new CD? Dan immediately launched into the story behind “Bourbon on Bourbon.” Apparently, he and Chris were late en route to their first gig in New Orleans. “We’re missing it! We have to get there!” They confessed that once they arrived in The Big Easy, they made up for 8 hours in about 90 minutes. “We woke up the next day with the Nola flu,” Dan said, “and felt foggy, fat and forgotten!”
Another song written around alcohol is “Sun in the Shine,” which was written after their first house concert in Clear Lake Shores, Texas. There were three mason jars filled with different flavors of moonshine. Uh oh! What could have been dire resulted in a great song that is an audience pleaser.
“Red Right Return” was written with Mike McEnery and is also featured on Mike’s latest CD, “Where the Current Takes Me.” Dan told me that Mike reached out to Dan a month after his mother passed away and writing the song “gave me focus and direction after she died.”
I asked about special guest musicians who helped in the CD recording and some of the names mentioned were Eric Darken, who is the percussionist for Buffett’s Coral Reefers, Warren Hood on fiddle and Tina Wilkins sang background vocals. This CD has the most percussion since “Rockamole” and Dan and Chris gave a great deal of credit to Ron Flint, who produced the CD.
What are some of their favorite songs on Yes It Is? Chris immediately said, “Definitely ‘Old Oak.’ It came together so well and is a great example of Dan at his most mature songwriting. The lyrics pull it together well.” Dan chimed in about this song in saying, “It’s the most beautiful song on the album… it’s got its own life.” Chris also listed “Beach in Heaven,” as he described it as almost turning into a gospel song. They both agreed “Welcome Home” is high on their list because it’s heartfelt and a special tribute to veterans.
The Detentions will be touring around the country this summer. It they are playing a venue near you, don’t miss them. And grab this new CD, Yes It Is, beforehand, so you’re familiar with these great songs. It’s always a blast to sing along with Dan and Chris.