From the recording Downtown Still Life

I wrote the bones of this song St. Patrick's day of last year. It was a funny chain of events. My van had been rear ended a few weeks before and was in the shop. I was working a basketball game at Fedex Forum. My wife dropped me off, and I would Uber home. It was a day game and downtown was firing on all cylinders. Uber prices were nuts, but it was a beautiful spring day, so I didn't mind killing some time. When I walked out the door on to 3rd street I saw Eric Hughes and Guy Venable carting gear down the street and we talked for a little while. These guys are some of the hard working musicians that make Beale Street the music destination that it is. Even though that part of the music industry isn't my cup of tea, I have tremendous respect for what they do. I was proud they greeted me as a friend. After this I decided to wander down to 550 S. Main where I found Mark Parsell drinking beer with the lights out in the back of his venerable establishment. I downed a few with him. He was ready to leave, but Uber prices were still too high for my liking. I wandered back down the street in the fine, cool, spring night. I had recently finished Preston Lauterbach's Beale Street Dynasty, and visions of days past on the street were layering over the present day picture in my mind. I sat down to kill some time and write. I just let my thoughts flow. I had cribbed the line "Hindsight will cut you" from an unrelated piece my friend Chris Davis wrote awhile back, it poked a hole in the bucket that the rest flowed out through. While I was lost in my head a nicely dressed lady walked up and thrust a Styrofoam take out container at me and said "Here sweety, I know you're hungry." I explained that I was waiting for Uber prices to go down. I should have just taken the food, it was probably delicious.

When I got the chance to go in to Sun Studio and put some stuff down with Crockett Hall, I knew I wanted to cut this one. First, working with Crockett is a blast! He has a manic energy in the studio that gets you in the head space to try stuff. We cut 5 songs in an all night session. We took the last tour of the day (led by Mark Edgar Stuart) and got right to work after. I didn't have a plan for what we cut (still don't). We just had fun. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences I've have ever had.

I'm not sure where we go from here. The heart of our city has been shuttered and barely alive before. The music has gone quiet, but never completely silent. I know when the sun comes back out it will flourish again. I don't know how. I know there will be a lot of hurt before we get there. I know some of our venues and musicians won't make it back in the capacity. I also know that my Memphis is a survivor.

Lyrics

The colors are saturated
But the lines are a little blurred
On this old TV of mine
Where your memory is burned
Hindsight will cut you
If you got the nerve
To go whistling past graveyards
Building bridges to burn
I seen one of my old buddies
Hauling amps up the street up the street
He say "If you drink from the bottle
You can say you take it neat"
I sing mostly original songs
Into stolen microphones

I’ve seen em hosing down the streets
From bourbon to Beale
Played for change in my case
For my next meal
If the blues is a vocation
A working man wears
Stacy Adams shoes

I said I’d love to come down to see him
He said "I wish you would
I can’t do it like I used to
But I still do it pretty good"
All these devils and debutants
Former cotton carnival queens
It ain't exactly lonesome
Just something in between
I walked all the way down Main Street
But I knew you wasn’t there

Knick knack paddy wack
Cutie in a Cadillac
Load’em in the wagon
Haul em downtown
All Boss Crump's cronies
All of King Willies's men
Can't make it go away

Lady in the window
On a Saturday night
I don't mean to stare
But you're such a beautiful sight
I think I love you
won't you tell me you're name

Fried chicken and reefer
Warm summer breeze
Someone hollered police
I Climbed up in a tree
Like being Drunk in a church
with rug burns on your knees

When the sun comes up in the morning
Mr. Furry Sweeps it all away
Amen