Cowboy Songs

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

12. Goddamn

13. Set You Ablaze

14. Harvest Moon

15. Ballad of the Ends of Our Ropes

16. Pushing Over the Continental Divide

6 thoughts on “Cowboy Songs”

  1. Well, “It’s a trap” can be from any number of movies, but my best guess for the reference would be Return of the Jedi, since it has to be the best movie with that quote in it. “You have to wear the boots” has to be from Back to the Future III (my favorite of the trilogy). (Sidenote: I once had a friend ask me to identify where some music was from, and I got the Back to the Future theme after one note. I’m a Robert Zemeckis fan.)

    “Don’t let them take us alive” is trickier. I want to say it’s on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t quite grasp it. Now that’s going to annoy me all day.

    But, I am excited to hear a new Sally Ride record. Can’t wait to download it!

  2. Well, you win JT, on both counts. Nicely done!

    Yesterday’s sessions went pretty well. What I’m doing doesn’t sound *exactly* like I imagined it would… but it could be good. I’m excited to see what Cory thinks; he’s only seen lyrics to a bunch of these songs (and I’ve only seen lyrics to two of his).


  3. OK, a little off subject but I just had something pop into my head. When is Ventura coming out, if ever? Did I miss that one?

  4. It’s coming. You didn’t miss it. :-)

    What happened, roughly in order:

    (this is half-joking; I’m totes not ranting at you! I’m super-happy you’re still interested.)

    Feb 2006 – joined Five Star Crush
    Spring/Summer 2006 – put out R,CC! and Axeface with Cory
    Summer/Fall 2006 – job transition & SR’s “It’s A Trap,” which had priority because of its political dimension
    Winter 2006 – XMAS
    Feb 2007 – did some mastering for Lincoln bands
    March 2007 – Cory got me working on “Silent Woods”

    Now, cowboy songs have my attention.

    “Ventura” is still coming, and it’s actually getting better. I wrote a new song for it this week, which was completely unexpected. It’s still going to be the guitar-pop culmination of “Tape/echoes,” sounding equal parts Chicago and Elvis Costello with a spice of punk. I’ll do it, and do it right.

    Someday ;-)


  5. No I’m wondering if I missed something (or have simply forgotten).

    Is “Ventura” a new “Tape/echoes” record? Or is it something else that I’ve just confused myself about?

  6. If I remember right, I think it was supposed to be both tape/echoes and cory kibler stuff. It was written by both of them and was supposed to be a collaboration. Looking forward to hearing it sometime!

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