In mid-March, just as the country shut down and people everywhere began to shelter in place, singer/songwriter Adam Hambrick found himself at home with his two daughters, while his wife, Merritt, went to work on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as a physician’s assistant. Hambrick, who admits the situation was a bit nerve-wracking, ultimately found himself inspired by Merritt and other frontline workers who devote their lives to helping others.
In a rare moment of downtime with a 4-year-old and a 10-month-old at home, Hambrick put a pen to paper and ended up writing and recording “Between Me And The End Of The World,” a heartfelt tribute to his wife and others on the frontlines.
Though the poignant tune was inspired by the current global health crisis, the song’s inspirational message is universal.
“Feels like the sky might fall this time / And all the bad news hits too close to home / And the darkness is drowning the light / I know just who I got fighting on my side,” he sings on the chorus.
Country Now recently caught up with Hambrick to chat about “Between Me And The End Of The World,” life at home during the pandemic, new music and more.
How is life at home with two little ones?
You know, it’s been going really well. We live in, it’s not a tiny house, but it’s definitely close quarters. So with two kids…it’s not like I have an office that I can retreat to get work done. So it’s just kind of a free for all a lot, you know? ‘Cause there’s still have stuff you have to do and there’s still work to be done, but you still have kids to chase and take care of, especially when they’re [young] they require a lot of attention. So it’s been a pretty sporadically productive, few months, but I’ve really enjoyed getting to be home. I’ve really tried to think of it as a blessing to get to be home and really just love on my kids without having to travel for a little while.
We’ve had lots of extra screen time at our house.
Same, same. I won’t lie to you. I’ve seen Frozen II way too many times.
Let’s talk about “Between Me And The End Of The World.” How did you find time to write a song while being at home with your daughters?
Honestly, it wasn’t tough to find the time to write it because when the idea kind of hit me the kids were in bed and it really just sort of fell out. It was a song that kinda just came out of gratitude and I think the best way to put it is that you just see them. I see my wife do what she’s she’s been doing, testing people for COVID. The first reaction was fear, you know? ‘Cause, early on, you’d see all these videos from China and you see all these videos from New York when it hit New York and the hospitals were overrun with people…my wife was walking into that same [situation], into the same virus-induced turmoil. So just all that uncertainty around that, my first reaction was fear. But I think that the place that I got to was just one of gratitude for all the people who are doing that. It just swirled into, into a place where I had to write about it.
I totally get that. It must have been stressful thinking about her possibly bringing it home.
From the beginning, like I said, it started out from a place of fear, but it became pretty evident pretty quick that it’s not causing crazy problems in children. So, we weren’t necessarily quite as afraid of that. There was a lot of stuff that was just kind of like fearful of the logistics of like, ‘what if both of us get it, what if both of us catch it at the same time? How are we going to take care of our kids for two weeks?’ We just came to a place of like of, ‘okay, we’re not scared. We’re going to do our best.’ I think that’s the place where society is right now: We’re tired of being scared. We kind of know a few things about this. So we need to get back to living life as best we can while taking precautions. That’s what I’m really hopeful for, especially for the music business right now. It’s like, I’m really hopeful that we can come to a place where…Like, let’s not be reckless. Let’s be smart. Let’s figure out a way where we can live and breathe and move as close to normal as we can get without being reckless, without being crazy about it.
How are things going for Merritt at work now?
Honestly, it’s already slowed down a good bit for her. They were very much all hands on deck for the first couple of months. Now now, she’s kinda gone back to normal a little bit. I mean, she still tests people, but there’s, there’s less volume of it in their clinics. So that’s really good. We’re just kind taking all of this one day at a time, just like everybody else is, trying to do our best. I think that perspective is keeping us sane and keeping us where we need to be mentally and emotionally. Also, our faith is a big grounding point for us. ‘Cause we don’t feel desperate. We approach it from the perspective of the world is way bigger than us, but even in the midst of how big the world is it’s still being. You know, the strings are still being pulled by somebody who has our best in mind. And that’s kind of our perspective on things and it keeps us where we need to be.
Obviously the song was written in response to the pandemic, but its message can be applied to many situations moving forward. Was that intentional?
I tried to write it that way, although health care workers were front and center on my mind. It reminded me of all the people who do this. Anytime that something goes wrong… when there is a war, our servicemen. Police are catching a lot of heat right now, but our police officers do the same thing when there’s trouble in the community. When there is a fire, firemen and all these people put themselves in harm’s way. That’s really what it’s about is the people who serve and lay their lives and their wellbeing on the line to serve the rest of us.
What do you hope people take away from listening to “Between Me And The End Of The World?”
When people hear this song specifically, I want them to see the thread of hope. I want them to feel grateful and be able to see the silver lining that’s out there. Beause there is one. I think the more that you look for it, the more you look for that silver lining, the more you see it. The more you look for the good things, the more you see them. So even in the middle of all this unrest, all this uncertainty, look for the silver lining because it’s there.
In talking to artists it seems like this can go either way – are you feeling creative during this time? Have you been doing Zoom writes in the midst of all this?
I haven’t felt overly creative, honestly. I kinda made a discipline out of writing a song by myself every week. I’ve only started Zoom writing recently. I kinda tried to just keep flexing the muscle, even though I didn’t really feel like it. Honestly, I’ve been drained. I’ve just been tired and I’ve been stressed, just all the uncertainty stresses you. So, I have not felt overly creative, but I have written some cool songs that I’m really excited about.
New songs? Are you working on a full-length project?
Yes, we’ve recorded a bunch of songs and honestly, it feels like a water hose that there’s just been a kink in and all that pressure’s building up and this stuff is just like dying to come out. So we’re working on a plan right now to release some music in the coming months. I really thought that we were going to have a full record this year. As it stands right now, I don’t know. I still think that’s probably a little, a little far out of reach. But there will be new music coming this summer. I’m looking forward to just like getting that out and for people to have a little more of a taste what I’m about as an artist and kind of what this project is going to look like.