I’ve already completed a decent pool workout this morning (3000m) and I have aspirations of getting out on the bike with HRH this evening after work. Likewise, tomorrow calls for a challenging fartlek run (the first of two this week)…in fact, my goal is to squeeze in four runs this week anticipating a bit of an easier week next week seeing as how I’m traveling for work. So the the plan this afternoon calls for only a quick drill run…30 minutes only (okay, 35 minutes). Nothing too taxing. My album du jour to keep things interesting is the ‘6 Volts‘ album by local singer/songwriter Fred Eaglesmith.
For those of you who are not familiar with Southern Ontarian Fred Eaglesmith, it is high time you become so; in my opinion, no one – not Buddy Miller, not Jim Lauderdale, not Alejandro Escovedo – has produced as solid a string of roots music over the past twenty years. Eaglesmith is the sound of lonely gravel roads, lonelier women, frustrated Saturday evenings, roadside artistry and junkyard Canadiana.
Within character studies, Eaglesmith’s brilliance is revealed. Seldom heroic, Eaglesmith’s protagonists are flawed, often lost. He doesn’t attempt to provide answers; he is an observer, a writer of domestic history – through his acute eye, he captures the stories of the people we pass without notice.
‘6 Volts‘ was released back in 2012 and if you allow it, it’s story songs play almost cinematically. If you listen – really listen – you can see a movie that opens with a guy driving to the cemetery (‘Cemetery Road‘), maybe swigging a beer as he throws a flower on the grave. We meet a guy who sings in little dives and drives a truck to make cash (‘6 Volts‘). His girlfriend (‘Betty‘) cheats on him with his best friend Joe (‘Katie‘); so he offs them and buries them on the property. Clearly, he’s a dangerous man (‘Dangerous‘). He then goes off singing with a new girl (‘Betty Oshawa‘) who eventually ditches him for success. In the final frames, he’s tooling off down the road once again,heartbroken, in his broken down truck (‘Trucker Speed‘) wishing there was someone else to go home to.
And it’s all about as gorgeous as it is tragic.
This is classic Eaglesmith.
It’s a little bit Hank Williams Sr., a little Tom Waits, with an ample doe of Neil Young thrown in for good measure. There are elements of country, folk, bluegrass, blues, and rock. And seeing as how he’s so “local”, one can almost imagine this entire story unfolding on the very 4.87k worth of back roads on which I am running this afternoon.
Totally cool shit.
The real excuse for today’s run was not so much for a workout (in fact, this is the shortest distance I’ve run in months) was it was for milking one of the few remaining Autumn days where everything is still, and warm and pretty before it all turns to shit come mid-November. The color is still in full bloom. The lake is calm. The wind is warm. The air is fresh. And this album was the perfect compliment.
In fact, this album has just been added to my Desert Island list of albums.