Kansas Citians know I’ve been talking about cowboy songs for a long time now, but the rest of you may not.
“Cowboy songs” are what I’m calling Sally Ride’s next record, You Have To Wear the Boots. Boots is a collection of more-or-less-folkish songs about a variety of characters in the town of Dodge, in the old West. I wrote the first ones, “Set You Ablaze” and “Ballad of the Ends of Our Ropes” about four years ago. Save for a couple rough sketches, the rest have been written in the past year, beginning last June when I was mainly writing It’s A Trap and intensifying after we finished Trap.
Several of the songs you may already know; besides “…Ablaze” from Lone Prairie Records’ murder ballads compilation, “David S. Addington and Your Democracy” (re-titled “Have We Forgot the Code of the West?”), “A Come-On,” Cory’s “Easy Kill,” and a cover of the Killers’ “Jenny Was A Friend of Mine” will be part of Boots.
Sally Ride records have “rules” – self-imposed restrictions on the recording process to give the record a certain sound. The rule this time is that we have to record the basic guitar and vocal tracks live, with no editing allowed. We’ll also be recording the basic tracks to 4-track tape, and putting everything into ProTools later.
As I’ve been practicing the songs, I think that Boots represents some of my strongest writing up to this point. I’ve gotten deep into writing little stories, and though Dodge and its citizens are fictional there is a lot of me in them. The opener, “Storm & Stake,” is adapted from a true story about my grandma literally holding her family’s tent down in a Wyoming thunderstorm. The whole story of Gramp’s activism is close to me. As I wrote the struggle between the Teacher and the Barman, I looked back and saw I’d put some things in their story that came from my own.
I’m going to start setting up the recording today, and maybe get a song or two down. We’ll see.
Oh yeah – like all Sally Ride records, the title comes from a popular 80’s movie. Do you know what it is? (Do you know what movies “Don’t Let Them Take Us Alive” and “It’s A Trap” come from? Those may be trickier, since the lines are so generic.) -h
1. Storm & Stake
2. Easy Kill
3. Iron Horse
4. A Cracked Piece of Sky
5. August Wind
6. Into the Fire
7. Jenny Was A Friend of Mine
8. Have We Forgot the Code of the West?
9. Johnny Got His Gun
10. It Was You, Kid
11. A Come-On
13. Set You Ablaze
14. Harvest Moon
15. Ballad of the Ends of Our Ropes
16. Pushing Over the Continental Divide