December 7, 2007

3500 miles away and what would you change if you could?

I’ve been intending to post this song, but all of a sudden it has now taken on more gravitas to me and I’ve been listening to it quite a bit. I am back out in California again after a very last-minute late-night flight out, my uncle is seriously and unexpectedly sick in the critical care unit at the hospital. It’s raining in Santa Clara. Tubes and wires and beeping and I feel completely overwhelmed with what I can do except hold his hand and stroke his unconscious forehead. Even though I am 28 I feel like an ill-equipped kid even being in the ICU, like someone’s going to say “Excuse me sweetheart, no one under 14 allowed.” Sometimes I talk to him, about anything, about everything. Preschool Christmas concerts, recent trips, insignificant anecdotes. If I felt brave I guess I could sing, he’s always liked to hear his nieces sing.

Brandi Carlile covered “Raining in Baltimore” by the Counting Crows at a recent show Birmingham, much to my delight. This somber, underrated, poetic tune from the Counting Crows’ first album is one of my favorites. While her treatment of it is pretty faithful, the emotion in her voice belies a genuine love for the song and the mournful cello addition strikes a chord with me:

Raining In Baltimore (Counting Crows cover) – Brandi Carlile

This circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
It’s raining in Baltimore fifty miles east
Where you should be, no one’s around

I need a phone call
I need a raincoat
I need a big love
I need a phone call

These train conversations are passing me by
And I don’t have nothing to say
You get what you pay for
But I just had no intention of living this way

I need a phone call
I need a plane ride
I need a sunburn
I need a raincoat

And I get no answers
And I don’t get no change
It’s raining in Baltimore, baby
But everything else is the same

There’s things I remember and things I forget
I miss you
I guess that I should
Three thousand five hundred miles away
But what would you change if you could

I need a phone call
Maybe I should buy a new car
I can always hear the freight train
Baby if I listen real hard
And I wish, I wish it was a small world
Because I’m lonely for the big towns
I’d like to hear a little guitar
I guess it’s time to put the top down

I need a phone call
I need a raincoat


  • Really sorry to hear that Heather – best of luck to you and your family.

    Andrew — December 7, 2007 @ 11:14 am

  • coincidentally, this applies to me today though nowhere near the magnitude of your situation. it’s a great song…hang in there.

    D. A. Mannyson — December 7, 2007 @ 11:30 am

  • wow that’s a gorgeous cover. thanks for posting it while you are in the midst of a crappy personal situation.

    best wishes for you and your uncle. i’m sure your presence is just as important to his healing as the medical care. — December 7, 2007 @ 11:37 am

  • Heather,

    I hope things work out. I ran across this song recently too and enjoyed it.

    Take care,

    Kev in St. Louis

    Anonymous — December 7, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

  • This song and those particular lyrics knocked me for 6 when I first heard it all those years ago.

    groovyf — December 7, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  • Take care – your blog connects for a lot of people and you deserve our support. People say its best to say everything you want to say to those you love and who have always mattered.

    There’s a lovely Crowded House song called ‘English Trees’ on their latest album that would also be worth a listen at the moment.

    Anonymous — December 7, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  • Best wishes, Heather.

    Robert — December 7, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

  • I hope you uncle gets better soon Heather.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a year now and sometimes a person kinda looses notion that the blogger is a person with a life of their own. It’s weird.

    Best wishes from England.

    Uma Pessoa — December 7, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

  • Sorry to hear about your uncle Heather, best wishes for you and your family.

    Anonymous — December 7, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

  • lots of love to you and your family heather. i know what your going through.

    Anonymous — December 7, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

  • I often wonder how people who don’t love music deal with tough times. Songs like these comfort us when we need it, and I thank you for sharing the ones that make the connection and offer that comfort. Kinda makes you wish there was a nicer-sounding word than “blog.” Best wishes.

    Anonymous — December 7, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

  • Nice post. Hopefully things get better soon.

    pop-kid — December 7, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  • That’s the beauty of music…it helps pull us through the tough times…and it is always there to remind us we’re alive. Be strong. Positive vibes coming your way.

    Ike — December 7, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

  • oh, I am so, so sorry to hear about that. hang in there, Heather.

    danae — December 7, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  • H

    Hope the situation improves for your uncle. Keep strong.

    Chris J, Tottington

    Anonymous — December 7, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  • best wishes to you and your uncle, hope that he gets through it. stephen

    Anonymous — December 8, 2007 @ 7:08 am

  • I’m so sorry Heather. I hope everything works out.

    lism. — December 8, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

  • my best wishes to your family. and i do love this song, thank you for sharing it with us in the midst of this trial.

    garrison beau scott — December 8, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

  • wow – I just saw this post, Heather. For what it’s worth, my thoughts are with you and your family. I’ve been there (a few times, unfortunately) and know how tough it can be.

    I totally agree with the “anonymous” person who said he wonders how people who don’t love music deal with tough times.

    take care

    aikin — December 9, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

  • perfect.

    JETHRO — December 11, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  • wow, fell in love with her during her tour with the indigo girls this summer, good luck with your uncle, i’m going through some rough medical stuff as well, i am on the mend, and no this is not an all about me reply – more like – i can relate now.

    Uppity Disability — December 12, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  • Life is a celebration and it sounds like you are doing the right thing and reminding him of that the only way you know how. Stay strong, for yourself, for your uncle.

    Listening to this song, on a train, literally 3500 miles from home, this song, this album feels like a part of my life.

    Anonymous — December 12, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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