I Saw The Light Come Down: Graham Lindsey and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Graham Lindsey put together a new album that went into general distribution earlier this year, We Are All Alone In This Together. I reviewed it in a January last.fm journal, one of the first posts I cross-posted here .
Been thinking about Graham as the winter turns to spring. He left the midwest for the mountains of Montana, even as I took the opposite journey. He’s a young artist following his muse, as I lope into middle age. It used to be I identified with the hero in Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I, too, found myself stopping for a spell in Bozeman, Montana. I, too, worried over technology and society, quality and quantity. I wound up giving up and moving on.
Winter lasts longer in the mountains. When the corn is in the ground in Minnesota the snow lingers in the broad valleys of Montana on a slow retreat to mountain tops. The promise of spring is never assured for Northern peoples. The promise of rewards for work well done often rings hollow.
I do not know if my young banjo-picking friend has picked up Phaedrus’ journey as his own; if the mountains are the journey or the destination. Graham posted an interview with Bozeman Magazine on his Myspace blog, a portion of which gives some hints:
BM: Do you explain your lyrics to people if ever asked? If no, why not?
GL: An old blues man once said during an interview: If I have to explain my songs to you, than I never would have written them. I tend to agree with this man. I attempt to place poetry (or Poetry’s half-brother, known as Lyrics) to music, and in doing so if I haven’t made my story clear, or clear enough for the listener to interject their own personal, important meaning into the song and lyrics, then I simply have not done my job as a lyricist. Or, at least, the only job I intended to do when I wrote down the words. I also write poetry and prose, and if I were asked to explain a poem than it would be obvious and unfortunate to me that I had not written a good poem. It’s the same with my songs. Certainly there are stories behind the songs, but not stories I would care to share with a stranger and so, instead, I share them in a way that is at once ambiguous yet honest and contrite. Art must be left just open enough for another person’s story to take wing along with it. If that doesn’t happen then it’s simply a guided tour through the author’s monologue. And that’s atrocious. If one was to explain the background to every song, like a DVD special making of…, than the art isn’t doing it’s job and we’re all getting shammed, needing more.
At the end of the day does philosophy matter so much? In the immortal words of philosopher Buckaroo Banzai, “no matter where you go, there you are.”
p.s. Check this out from Graham’s blog, too:
THE PERREZE FARM’S EP RELEASE (FEATURING GRAHAM LINDSEY)
The Perreze Farm is geared up to release it’s debut offering Songs For The Birds, a five song EP due out May 25, 2009. For it, frontman Joe Perreze gathered the backup of musicians Graham Lindsey and Joe Frankland of Slackeye Slim. Tinged with everything from clawhammer banjo, fiddle and Telecaster to three part harmonies, foot stomps and lead pipes, the songs were spaded out over a few weekends and recorded by Perreze himself in an old mansion in his hometown of Anaconda, MT.
Please check out myspace.com/theperrezefarm for more info on The Perreze Farm, to listen to tracks from Songs For The Birds, or to order the EP.
Thank you kindly!
-Graham Lindsey Music
(Cross-post from JCShepard.com)