Saturday, October 14, 2017

"Yer Shoes" (live with The Roadside Leaves)

"Yer Shoes" recalls the dream vacation Marcella arranged for us just weeks before her diagnosis of terminal cancer. A dual-citizen of Italy and U.S.A., she was a born traveler and loved the freedom of being on the road with people that she loved.

Having written "The Grandmas Of Nashville" earlier in the day, I left my dad's hotel room on foot and took a long evening walk. Last time I'd been to town, I was with Marcella. Before we arrived in at our Airbnb house on Music Row in Nashville (a gorgeous house owned by the son of steel guitar legend Pete Drake and his wife), Marcella had arranged an overnight stop in Louisville, Kentucky for the purpose of exploring the hometown of my heroes - The Everly Brothers - Central City.

Walking around Nashville a year after her passage, I was so much more moved by her commitment to designing a perfect trip for me during a period that she knew might've been the lead-up to some very bad health news. She didn't bring it up.

Instead, we focused on having fun - visiting the resting sites of Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins, making up songs in the Third Man Records recording booth and taking a photo in the photo booth, eating lots of barbeque, having a boozy breakfast at Loveless Cafe, watching top-shelf bluegrass music at the famous Station Inn, popping into Don Everly's favorite cafe. And sharing a lot of love. We had a great time.

I couldn't go into the future without turning these moments into music.

Speaking of The Everlys, while writing arranging this song and its sister song, "Layers Of Winter Clothes," I was mindful of the atmosphere of 'Songs Our Daddy Taught Us,' an album of mostly traditional songs recorded in Nashville's RCA Studio B with a single acoustic guitar and an upright bass. Keep it simple.

Back in the present (or, as we now call 2015: the past), my dad was having trouble in the intense southern heat and needed to spend a significant portion of our trip in the hotel room. I figured this was a sign of things to come. Yet those things had not yet come. So I headed out alone with my pen, my post-it notes, and the appropriately funky-looking Toms shoes that Marcella had bought me and I wrote this song.

I think I’ll take a walk and breathe some southern air
in between the moments, will you meet me there?
I got the Tennessee greens and the Nashville blues
I ain’t got you, but I got yer shoes

I think I’ll head out alone and look for a sign
I don’t think the water should be hard to find
one of these roads must have a river view
of the Tennessee greens and the Cumberland blues

I kissed your face as the rain came down
on the Shelby Street bridge at the edge of town
a fireworks show that was made for two
I ain’t got you, but I got your shoes

Old Hickory Boulevard
I’m searching all the dim cafes for my favorite stars
supermarkets and old dive bars
I ain’t got you, but I got your guitar

Isaac Milford Everly
Muhlenberg County into Bowling Green
where the river’s green and the grass is blue
I walked Kentucky hand-in-hand with you.

sing it real and sing it true
drop a coin into the record booth.
we make it up as we go along
I can’t hear you, but I hear your song

I think I’ll take a walk and breathe some southern air
in between the moments, will you meet me there?
by the Tennessee greens and the Nashville blues
I ain’t got you, but I got your shoes.



photo by Kim Goodwin
video by Nick Crocker