Story Behind the Song: Shane Smith and the Saints, ‘Last Train to Heaven’
Shane Smith and the Saints typically only perform original songs, and for good reason: Group frontman Shane Smith says he often has a difficult time finding a connection to music that he didn't write himself. However, for "Last Train to Heaven" -- off the group's Hail Mary album, he made an exception. Read on to find out why, as told by the artist himself.
Tyler Bryant is a good friend of mine -- his band is called Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown. They're a super-talented rock band that tour with all kinds of really, really big groups -- like, household-name rock bands. He and his band have put in so much legwork of their own over the years.
Our manager, Tim Porter, is a very close friend of his, and had heard him play that song at one point in time. I guess that he had recorded a demo but didn't have any plans to do a full recording of it quite yet. And Porter had mentioned it to me, and said, "Man, Tyler has this song that, when I heard it, I immediately thought of you and your guys, and the harmonies that y'all can put on it. I just felt like it would be a hit if y'all could get together and get permission to record it, just give it a shot and see how it sounds."
I was like, "Okay, let me check it out." And usually, I have a really difficult time recording music I didn't write. I just have a hard time getting myself to a headspace and a comfortability of, like, feeling a personal connection to it. I don't know why it is, but I have a very difficult time performing stuff that I can't connect with on a personal level, and I've gotten so used to playing original music over the years that I think it's just made it worse and worse and worse.
But I was singing that song, and the chorus was just such a powerful chorus, and such a well-written song. I got in the studio with it and just went over and over and over it, almost getting to know it. Eventually, we got some takes that made sense for all of us, playing it live in the studio and getting a vocal take that made sense. It just came together.