My car is a clunker
Not like the fancy ones for which I valet
And when it breaks down
I ditch it hoping someone will just tow it away
I own one nice shirt
And one nice pair of pants
I go to work and take my place
With all the other worker ants
You talk like a politician
Or a guy who sells used cars
Or a guy who says he doesn't want your money
Or a guy who tells stories in bars
You sound oh so confident
Like you really believe what you say
Where's the truth
Where's the lie
What does it matter anyway
I heard a song in the middle of a dream
And it woke me from my slumber
It spurred me on, it rocked my world
You could say it had my number
I got my sack and I got good shoes
And I got a certain esprit
And I know when I get to the top of the mountain
I will be set free
Most of the characters in these songs are people I know, have once known or, perhaps, imagined I knew. They are all rather slippery people, the kind you are not quite sure of, the kind that leave you guessing. When they tell you something personal, as they often do, you wonder how much of it is true and how much fabrication. The thing is, they don't know themselves - so how can you? And yet, because they are often good at sounding like they know what they are saying, and because they look and act completely convincing, you want to buy in.
For people who live unexamined lives, the world just happens, happening as it does beyond their will or ability to act upon it. Because, to them, there are always external forces - perhaps God, perhaps chance, perhaps circumstance - that they believe are outside their ability to understand and control. In most cases, they get away with so much because they think so little. But if they began a process of self-evaluation and -examination, they may come to discover that there is much they can do. Or, at the very least, they can stop deflecting blame for the pain they inflict. Coming to this place of discovery requires much work - more work than most people want to invest in. But the ultimate reward can be great, not only for the people who awaken to their lives, but also to the people in their orbit. They just need to start. But the question remains: How to begin?
There comes a time when a certain relationship reaches an end, but one of the parties seems to be unaware that this has happened. Or maybe that person lives in a state of denial. Or is oblivious. Or just wants to pretend that what's has gone on for the last decade or two or three is hunky dory, even though no effort or energy whatsoever has been put into keeping the relationship alive. It's just this thing, this entity - but it is not true; it does not breathe, it does not move, it is not about anything at all. And what do you say to this person? How do you tell him or her that you are at the end of the road?
This album, originally recorded in 2010, has several of my favorite tracks on it, including "Crossing the Line," "Midnight Town" and "The Devil Ain't Got No Music," which was inspired by a line that Mavis Staples uttered on "The Colbert Report" when asked how she felt about singing the devil's music. (Subsequently, in the past year, the blues singer Lurrie Bell has recorded a tune using the same title, but I got there first!). At any rate, after listening to this record recently, I thought it could be better - not only the mix, but the vocals as well. So I've given it a fresh coat of paint.