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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
If your life is a leaf / that that the seasons tear off and condemn They will bind you with love / that is graceful and green as a stem
— Leonard Cohen, Sisters of Mercy
October 10, 2008
And Tulsa burns / On the desert floor / Like a signal fire

That’s what I said last night when four of us were out for dinner with a consultant for work. We were talking about travel, and airports, and he mentioned Tulsa. Tulsa doesn’t come up that often in conversation at work (or, frankly, at all) and that’s a line from a Cowboy Junkies song that’s been on my frequent playlist lately. Specifically, the version of 200 More Miles from the Trinity Revisited album with haunting vocals by Ryan Adams

The response from the visiting consultant was instant. “Don’t go quoting country music lyrics to me young man.”

I laughed long and hard, and the thing is…a prediction from a long long time ago might be finally and fully true.

The first concert I ever saw was Steve Earle. It was his Copperhead Road tour, and that album was largely considered to be a rock album but quite a bit of it was heavily influenced by Steve’s country and roots heritage.

A while ago, I met a friend who described her taste in music as “Anything with a Twang” and I sort of adopted it for myself as a description. I bought my first (and only) iPod shortly after that, and that became my first playlist. Anything with a Twang.

Over the years its grown: Wilco, Johnny Cash, Neko Case all fit on that list. Eventually Emmylou Harris got added, then some old Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

The thing is, the twang kept growing. It’s by far the longest list I have, and pretty much all of it has some country in it. There’s a line I don’t cross, although I can’t quite define it. Willie Nelson lives just a bit over that line (but what a killer songwriter.) Dwight Yoakam? Shania Twain? Tim McGraw? Those folks aren’t so much over the line as they’ve obliterated the line and drawn a whole new one that I can’t even see from where I am.

No matter how much I deny it, most people consider a great deal of the music I listen to is country. My taste is broad, and it’s far from all I listen to but it’s what I listen to it most of the time.

As for that prediction? Right back after I went to see that Steve Earle concert, my Uncle Gerry—a man who’s appreciate for Willie Nelson is much greater than mine, and for whom country music has always been a comfortable home—told me that I’d wind up listening to country eventually. Everyone did, he said.

Gerry always was a pretty smart guy, and I’m pretty happy to report that he’s right.

Atlanta’s a distant memory
Montgomery a recent birth
And Tulsa burns on the desert floor
Like a signal fire

I got Willie on the radio
A dozen things on my mind
And number one is fleshing out
These dreams of mine

I’ve got 200 more miles of rain asphalt in line
Before I sleep
But there’ll be no warm sheets or welcoming arms
To fall into tonight

In Nashville there is a lighter
In a case for all to see
It speaks of dreams and heartaches
Left unsung

And in the corner stands a guitar and
Lonesome words scrawled in a drunken hand
I don’t travel past, travel hard before
And I’m beginning to understand

That I’ve got 200 more miles of rain asphalt and light
Before I sleep
But there’ll be no warm sheets or welcoming arms
To fall into tonight

They say that I am crazy
My life wasting on this road
That time will find my dreams
Scared or dead and cold

But I heard there is a light
Drawing me to reach an end
And when I reach there, Ill turn back
And you and I can begin again

Ive got 200 more miles of rain asphalt in line
Before I sleep
But therell be no warm sheets or welcoming arms
To fall into tonight

Ive got 200 more miles of rain asphalt in line
Before I sleep
But I wouldnt trade all your golden tomorrows
For one hour of this night

Atlantas a distant memory
Montgomery a recent birth
And Tulsa burns on the desert floor
Like a signal fire

Posted by skooter at 1:55 AM This entry is filed under Music.
This entry is tagged: AltCountry, Cowboy Junkies, Family, Music, Neil Young, Neko Case, Wilco

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