Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In Pursuit of a Song

Lost a few hours this afternoon.  Here's what led to that...

I've got the telly on, mostly for a soft background white noise effect, though while having my lunch I was watching the end of a program.  Finish lunch, go downstairs to switch laundry loads around and this song comes wafting down the steps and into my ears.  As I'm folding towels, I'm listening, trying to figure out who's singing.  When I hear these lyrics, toward the end of the song, I race upstairs to see what this is that I'm hearing:

There's a thin line between power and glory
Out on that road to nowhere.

I get upstairs and see a movie has started.  Click on the Guide button.  It's called the Road to Nowhere.  Just as I get that--the song and the movie--the guy sings:

You're riding backwards on a blind horse
In a carnival down south somewhere
Where the Tunnel of Love
Is no longer there.

Wow.  22 words that paint such a picture in my mind.  The lyrics alone are pretty compelling, but even better the guy's voice is low and gravelly, sounding like a blend of Johnny Cash (in the burner years) and Jace Everett...bluesy and rough; the words are almost growled out.

I get on the internet, because now I just have to know:  who is this, and what are all the words to this song?

Turns out, the movie is a much touted (Indy awards, etc.) film noir.  Made all the rounds of the film festivals, both in the States and abroad in 2010-11.  It's kind of a film within a film and one of those complicated movies you have to watch without missing a scene or a line of dialogue.  I've already missed both, so that's all I have to say about the movie.  I am more interested in the song.

After a long, convoluted effort, I find out the singer is Tom Russell.  Renegade.  Singer, songwriter.  Does his own thing.  Has loads of albums and songs.  He wrote Road to Nowhere for this movie.  Okay.  That's all wonderful and good, one question answered.  But I still want those lyrics.

I spent the next few hours scouring every website that had anything to do with music, lyrics, Tom Russell, and the damn movie.  I found several places that said they had the lyrics, but when I clicked on the link, I was told the song was on his new album and lyrics weren't yet available.  Au contraire.  The album's been out awhile.  No matter how I searched, it was in vain, so for now I have given up.  I can always buy the album (Mesabi), though it still doesn't give me the written lyrics. 

Ah well.  What's a couple hours in the pursuit of a song.  I can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon...can't you?

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