When Dan Auerbach came off the road from touring with his side project the Arcs in 2016, the singer and guitarist best-known as one half of the Black Keys found himself at home in Nashville with nothing to do and plenty of time to do it.
So Auerbach called one of his best Nashville friends, David “Fergie” Ferguson, a producer and engineer who knew everyone in town, and Ferguson started inviting friends over to casual songwriting sessions, guys from folk legend John Prine to lesser-known but insider-revered songwriters and musicians such as Roger Cook and Pat McLaughlin.
“And I started spending these afternoons in the summertime, writing in groups of two or three,” says Auerbach, who plays the Wiltern in Los Angeles on Saturday and the Observatory in Santa Ana on Sunday. “Every afternoon, five days a week, and it was just so much fun.
“It was also very fruitful,” he says. “We were writing tons of songs. We were writing so many songs that I decided I should start recording them.”
He had a core group of musicians he liked to work with, but Ferguson introduced him to a few more, new to Auerbach but legends in the…