Inspiration means a lot to Bottle Rockets frontman Brian Henneman and he was really feeling it for the alt-country pioneers’ recent album “South Broadway Athletic Club” (Bloodshot).
Though Henneman has been touring for decades — first with Uncle Tupelo, then Wilco, then with the Bottle Rockets — and recording almost as long, the new album was handled completely differently.
“We recorded one song a day,” says Henneman, calling from his St. Louis home. “You’d get there in the morning and there’d be no song and you wouldn’t leave until there was one. . . . It was revolutionary. It worked so well we’re never doing it any other way.”
Especially when the result was so well-received. “South Broadway Athletic Club” ended up on year-end lists and songs like “Monday (Everytime I Turn Around)” landed them some radio airplay.
“It’s thrilling actually to be this late in the game and having people loving it,” says Henneman, who with the band plays YMCA Boulton Center in Bay Shore on Saturday. “I really don’t know why people are loving it, but I’m very happy.”
Perhaps it’s the way Henneman, who wrote or co-wrote all the album’s songs, is able to make “Building Chryslers” sound like settling down or the straightforward “Dog” sound like either a celebration of his dog or the crystallization of a live-and-let-live philosophy.
“It’s a way of thinking inspired by my dog,” Henneman says. “It’s about both. . . . Those moments go on every day, but people are probably missing it while they’re checking Instagram.”
One of the album’s standout tracks is “XOYOU,” a catchy slice of rockabilly-tinged country with an odd inspiration that Henneman just had to follow.
“It was summertime and my wife said, ‘I got two jobs for you today: Take the trash out and mow the grass,’ ” he recalls. “Well, I had to wait till the dew was off the grass or something and you know how YouTube goes. Somehow, I landed on a Tom Jones video. I was super into it and I thought, ‘I want to write a song for Tom Jones.’ I picked up the guitar. The next thing I knew my wife was home. I blew the whole day writing ‘XOYOU.’ . . . It worked out, though. She liked the song. And I got the grass mowed the next day.”