September 24, 2010

I can hear that old brass band playing our song down the hill


Today feels like one of those dulcet, lucky days of indian summer reprieve before the air turns crisp and cold around all the edges. As I sat on a front porch this morning with my coffee, looking at the mountains, I took note of the slightest suggestion of autumn coming. I can feel it waiting for me. Hence I am cramming my days and nights full with as many warm-weather things as I can before the seriousness (and wildness) of Colorado autumn wrestles me into sweaters and rainboots.

I think I’ve said this ten thousand times before in this forum, but I really do love my summer nights (minus mosquitoes). The sitting in a lawn chair at nine thirty, the sky still echoing with sunlight like a colossal glow-worm being held just beyond the horizon. The midnight bike rides, campfires, drinks like mint juleps and Pimm’s cups….

My pal J Tom Hnatow, pedal steel/electric guitarist for These United States, put together a whiz-bang mix this summer for that time of day when the twilight is deepening and the air is cooling. Of all the excellent tracks he picked, I’ve fallen for this Jayhawks song the hardest. It’s one of those terrific songs that sounds like you already know it as soon as it cues up for the first time.

Haywire – Jayhawks

Tom explains:

A friend of ours from the band Revival once told me that he always forced himself to be doing something, anything, at twilight — the longest, loneliest, heaviest time of day for him to get through, when all your thoughts and memories seep hazily in at the edges, darkness creeps inevitably on.

This is a mix for driving west, the sun setting red through the clouds, watching the world fade away until there’s nothing left but the glowing instrument panel and the lonely headlights of fellow travelers.”

As for me, I am heading to a little cabin the mountains of Colorado this weekend and I’ll be waiting for the light to change, as the aspen leaves flutter yellow for probably just these next few days, and then they’ll be gone.

[photo by Thierry Lombry from The Venus Transit 2004]


  • Ideas like you just described are the heart beat of life, they keep me coming back here, rummaging through used bookstores and listening to music non-stop.

    Mp — September 24, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

  • Sound of Lies is such a fantastic and underrated album.

    Justin — September 24, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

  • I totally agree with Justin, tunes like Haywire and especially the weirdly intoxicating Dying on the Vine prove it. I’ve a tough time comprehending what’s meant by memories seeping in “at the edges”.

    Christof — September 25, 2010 @ 7:25 am

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by joann, Eversilences. Eversilences said: I can hear that old brass band playing our song down the hill: Today feels like one of those dulcet,… (fuelfriends) [...]

    Tweets that mention I can hear that old brass band playing our song down the hill | Fuel/Friends Music Blog -- — September 25, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  • Anyone who likes Sound of Lies is well advised to re-listen to Son Volt’s Wide Swing Tremolo. I sort of accidentally rediscovered it recently. I’d recommend iteven for people who don’t usually like Jay and Co. It’s another record from a band realizing that you can influence damn near everyone and still grind out your life playing lousy dive bars…it’s a beautiful and sad piece of work. It’s the record REM wish theyd made that year…living on blind hope again.

    J. Tom — September 25, 2010 @ 9:50 am

  • One of my all-time favorite songs…the song that I rocked my daughter to sleep to every night for a glorious summer month, seems like a million years ago. “Won’t you smile the smile that fills the room with an independent light–it’s alright.” It’s been a long time since I had that feeling…
    Really enjoy your blog–enjoy your time in the mountains, and thanks for your work.

    Rob — September 26, 2010 @ 2:45 am

  • What an absolutely fantastic idea for a mix. As for this song… just great. I really wish I had a porch to sit on while listening to this song as the sun starts completes its retreat for the day. I’ll settle for a car ride with the windows down instead.

    Also, Rob that story for some reason really touched me. I don’t have kids yet (for sure not ready), but I both look forward to moments like you describe as well as fear that they will be fleating and too short.

    Adam — September 27, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  • Hey Rob. Tonight after dinner I took my little boy’s hands, his hair still wet from his bath, and he stood on my feet while we danced around the kitchen to this song. He may be too big to rock to sleep now, but I am hard-pressed to think of anything richer than that dance tonight.

    browneheather — September 27, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

  • Heather, it is truly wonderful to have that connection to your child–based on your work here, I’d say your son is a very lucky boy.
    The irony in my case–my life at the time really had gone haywire: a child conceived unexpectedly at the tail end of a disintegrating relationship, living with my daughter and her mom when we were barely tolerating each other’s presence…and now it’s all worse: they’re in Kentucky, I’m in Connecticut, and the walls are built to reach the sky. My daughter is turning out fine, but I seem to really have become that character in the song: for her love, I’m a vampire…
    Well, enough of that–it’s the sort of sadness you feel on your 42nd birthday, when it’s raining and you can’t sleep. Family, friends, and music are keeping me sane–but as long as you are sane and safe, the future is bright.
    So, I guess the message is–hold that little boy tight, and never forget the value of a single moment with your own child.
    Sorry to blather on…you have a great blog, I’ve heard a lot of interesting new music–keep doing what makes you happy and fills your soul, we’re out here listening and connecting and enjoying.

    Rob — September 28, 2010 @ 2:18 am

  • It makes me sad that the Jayhawks are no longer together. I could listen to each album on its own every day.

    rollerpimp — September 28, 2010 @ 5:21 am

  • I have such warm memories of the Jayhawks from my time in Minneapolis, and this was precisely what I needed today. The comments about kids made it even better, making me remember singing “Box Full of Letters” to my sons as I rocked them to sleep.

    Over the past few years, you’ve introduced me to bands and songs that have since become favorites, and I thank you for that. Keep up the great work.

    Brian — September 29, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

  • funny… I was just listening to The Jayhawks all this morning at work.

    Erik — October 1, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  • love your music post here and love the story of u!

    duncan — October 5, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

  • Just came back to the blog for an update, and clicked on Haywire again–it all comes flooding back: holding Annie with the song playing; realizing my life had gone Haywire; and the surreal but somehow precisely RIGHT lyrics: For your love I’m a vampire…that’s my whole life in a nutshell, take it as you will…won’t you smile the smile that fills the room with an independent light?–that’s alright…

    God, I love this song…

    Rob — October 9, 2010 @ 12:08 am

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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

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