Saturday, May 22, 2010

Street Names: Bright Side of the Road Edition

Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer:
Highway 80 (She's a Mighty Good Road)

[purchase] scroll halfway down to Drum Hat Buddha CD

Dar Williams:
Spring Street


Buddy Mondlock:
Magnolia Street

[purchase] - Poetic Justice CD

"From the dark end of the street to the bright side of the road" - those dirt, gravel and paved roads can be literal, but they are bound to be metaphor... of leading somewhere, running away from something or the journey itself...

All the songs above work through their darkness to a happy ending... of reunion, renewal and redemption, in that order:

The structure of Dave Carter's Highway 80 is unusual, as it has a repeating chorus, rare if you are familiar with his work - he also joked about it being a sing-along, hysterical when you read/listen to the lyrics fraught with names of towns that do not roll trippingly off your tongue. The song tells the story of a guy who allowed himself to be lured to California, looking for adventure, and found it lacking ("the water was cold and the beer was hot") - he talks to his woman on the phone, and she reassures (twice, in Tracy's twangiest voice) that she's waiting patiently on the other coast for his return...

Dar Williams' Spring Street finds our female protagonist experiencing an epiphany, realizing that she has to "walk the talk" to free herself from her stuck place ("but I'll push myself up through the dirt and shake my petals free, I'm resolved to being born and so resigned to bravery") - Spring Street is a state of mind, and she's already there...

Buddy Mondlock's Magnolia Street opens with the narrator in deep dilemma... he loves her, he loves her not... attempting to quantify the most complicated of all emotions - he soon understands, with the help of the wind and the mockingbird (adorably whistled in this live version by Jonathan Edwards; on the recorded version, it's a pennywhistle) that "we carry all this stuff around,we're not so deep we're just weighted down" (i.e., who needs to think when you can dance?)...

To hear/see the Van Morrison song I reference in my title, check out this video -"let's enjoy it while we can"...

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