Just in times for Father’s Day, singer-songwriter Bo Armstrong leans on family in “More Than I Did Then,” premiering exclusively on Sounds Like Nashville today (June 17).
Built around the steady, soul-sustaining love that can get us through just about anything, it’s a classic feeling, lump-in-your-throat ode to the things that make life worth living — and it features a heartwarming backstory.
A charming country ballad written for Armstrong’s wife, the rootsy track centers on a love that has only grown with time — and with the growth of Armstrong’s family. The Dallas, Texas, native wrote it after a long creative drought that came with the pandemic, since he had transitioned from dream-chasing songwriter to stay-at-home dad. But one morning, he realized just how lucky he was.
Featuring a tender vocal with a gentle, hushed twang, and the simple sounds of an acoustic guitar with windblown steel accents, the song zooms out to see the masterpiece a typical life truly is. In loving detail, it describes the bigger-picture connection that happy families are blessed with — and Armstrong says he never would have wrote it without his two-year-old son, Coleman. He even gave the little guy an co-writer credit for his effort.
“You often hear folks say ‘write what you know,’ and I believe that to be true in many instances,” Armstrong tells SLN. “So when I was in a songwriting rut during the pandemic, I turned to the two people I’d spent the last 14 months with for inspiration: my wife and my son. A love song felt right after all of the daily reminders that the whole pandemic could’ve been a lot harder without the two of them. My original hook idea was ‘I don’t love you like that anymore.’ I thought it would be a crafty way of describing how my relationship with my wife has matured, but ultimately — at least as I had written it — there wasn’t enough payoff. So I scrapped it almost entirely.
“A few days later, I was joking with my wife in the morning, and I asked her ‘How do you put up with me?’ he continues. “She responded with ‘Somehow I love you.’ There was something in the way she said ‘somehow’ that was endearing. After she went to work (in the guest room) and I took our son out to the living room after breakfast, I picked up the guitar and started playing with the ‘Somehow I love you’ line — and then the idea clicked. The concept was the same as the false start I had with the other idea, but this one felt kinder, and the rest of the song came very quickly while my son played his cardboard guitar next to me. It was just what I needed.”
Something of a new-age renaissance man, Bo Armstrong spent his college years playing ice hockey in upstate New York, before moving to Mississippi to join the effort behind Teach for America. Then wound up in New York City for almost 10 years, and after moving to Nashville to pursue his musical dreams in 2017, Armstrong released the EP Where We Are. The promising independent talent followed with his full-length album debut, Chasing Ballads, in November 2020.