This song represents my Dad and I for sure, in our ranch days way back when. We had some land, a few horses, enjoyed the hills above the Russian River in Sonoma County outside of Cloverdale, CA. We weren’t cowboys, or hardcore ranchers, far from it. The character in this song is a hybrid of my Dad, and who I imagine his alter ego is in a cowboy
This song represents my Dad and I for sure, in our ranch days way back when. We had some land, a few horses, enjoyed the hills above the Russian River in Sonoma County outside of Cloverdale, CA. We weren’t cowboys, or hardcore ranchers, far from it. The character in this song is a hybrid of my Dad, and who I imagine his alter ego is in a cowboy life. As I watched my dad work all his life at construction, installing storm drains and sewage stations, joined him on jobs all the way through my 20s, I got to see how much he enjoys the simple things, how he goes about enjoying doing new things outside of work. Always up to something. Finally watching him retire into the fall of years, I wondered what he’d do with himself. So, in this song Still Red, the character is a retired from the ranch work, and long done with being a rodeo rider. At 75, he’s done with cattle, horses, fixing fences, and he's turning the barn into a man-cave. In figuring out how to live ’the fall’ of his years, he sits in a comfy chair, enjoys the view of the back 40, has a coke machine in the shed next to unused tools, and listens to a clock radio that doesn’t keep time. All hat not cattle, but the barn’s still red. He may hit the track, play some poker, or play some pool, maybe ride the mechanical bull, or at least talk about doing it. Burning daylight is a common theme. My Dad sometimes says that, when I ask him what he’s up to. "Just looking for something to do, burning daylight". Sun’s long gone but the sky’s still red. I have a companion song for this character too. An old rodeo rider, now at 50 years old, decides to try the Livermore Rodeo one more time. It’s called "Buck 39". That’s another song, but it sort of belongs in the trilogy of this guy in his various seasons of life. I haven’t written one about him as a young man yet, I have ideas for it. There are a number of underlying meanings, personal ones overlapping with some true life experiences. Mainly, I’m hoping this guy is enjoying retirement as much as he enjoyed working, riding. Like my dad, now 86, he's kept himself healthy enough to enjoy the twilight years. Another of my Dad’s old sayings; "Shoot Luke, the air is full of birds”, meaning life is good at the moment, point it to the sky, can’t miss.
This Etch A Sketch drawing is one I did at the edge of the lower meadow at the Kerrville Folk Festival, looking out on the adjacent field. Circa, 1998. Staring a drive to Texas tomorrow for a fall 10-day version of that festival tomorrow morning. I’ll be sitting right about where that guy is, in camp Coho.