DUSTY by Fred Eaglesmith
Across the mesa, the daylight shines
in your eyes, and it makes you blind
And in your head, sirens wail
They just let you out of jail
-(refrain) You're just dusty now / There's flies on you
Your guns are rusty / and your soul is too
The Texas is wearin' off of your leather boots
You're just dusty / There's flies on you
There's tobacco inside your cuffs
and you drink too much
but it's never enough
People stare at you
as you stand and cough
Might be the weather / Might be the dust
(bridge) Rain, rain, rain, in a western sky
Teardrops in your heart and gravel in your eye
the project is "songs inspired by the Fred Eaglesmith album 'Dusty'", but i thought the title song should be more of a direct response and tribute. "Still Dusty" was the project's working title, but i had a fair idea from the start that the title song would relate more literally to its forbear. i changed the perspective to the first person, and with the phrase "I'm still dusty", realized it could be in waltz time, rather than the original 4/4.
i started jamming on lyrical ideas, with that 3/4 rhythm, and soon came up with three ideas for verse, bridge and refrain. looking at those, it seemed they might be too different to fit together. but i trusted that they were coming from the same place of inspiration, and settled in to bring some sense to the disparity.
the song fits a familiar pattern for me, where i start with an image that may get a laugh before the audience realizes it's a sad song. c'est la guerre.
i was reading the Peanuts, wondering "which one am i,
Linus or Charlie Brown, philosopher or clown,
dark or daylight?"
-(refrain) I'm still dusty / It's what it must be
I'd never be free / if it weren't for the dust
My guns are rusty / it isn't just me
I'd shoot me something / if it weren't for the dust
Now, sitting ain't easy / when you've walked the world 'round
Canyons and hillsides, / alone or by her side,
Upsides and downs
-(bridge) She was the nurse, when i banged up my knee
in that bang-up rodeo i did for free
she said "fool, that's no kind of deal"
i said it's better to feel
She kept calling me "fool" 'til the day that she died
I guess i'm Charlie Brown. I miss her even now
in dark or daylight
Well, that's song two, early on February 4th. i'm beginning to think this idea might not be so crazy after all. i have no idea what the next song will be. first plan is to listen to Fred's album this morning, and get whacked upside the head with a phrase or idea. so far, it's working...