Stay tuned, these are only 2 of a 5 song EP coming soon! Stay up with the happenings at www.raisetherentmusic.com
Sweet & Low Down was written in the blistering heat of a Rhode Island dance hall on my friend Brian’s back 40, sweat dripping off of dozens of twirling two-stepping couples. My wet bathing suit stuck tight to my body and my pond-water hair slicked back, lounging on a staircase at the back of the room taking in the tremendous energy and an unfiltered beer. I’ve always loved the times where, just for a minute, everything is all right. Everybody’s got a reason to smile, we’re all doing exactly what we want to be doing. But then, inevitably that minute passes and you flush with some kind of desire, the inexplicable rush of the human condition just has to wash away any hope of contentment. And there, under the brims of straw hats, perfect smiling mouths. Strong arms and bodies moving in time. Not just the pairs, not just the band, but the whole place, moving in time. And suddenly, nothing would ever be enough to sate me.
When I was a younger woman, a younger man gave me a book: archy and mehitabel by Don Marquis. Mehitabel was a grand old dame, reincarnated throughout history as many great women, and finally as a tattered alley cat who’d seen more than her share of heartbreak. How could I not fall in love with her? (For the record geeks of you out there, if you buy our first album and check the etching in the middle, you’ll see a bit of Mehitabel in there. Not to mention, I take my twitter name from her.) So, I took her spunk and glory and tatters and I rolled all that desire into a song.
The lip of your hat pouts like a child being cute to try to get his way
And I keep doing shots of you so I can feel you coursing through my veins
Flood it all away like a big rain
Falls from my shoulders in freckles and sweat and pain from the burn of the sun
Pops and crackles like a phonograph record one too many times spun
Aren’t you the quiet one, afraid the have a little fun?
So I try to divine a version of the truth that you can believe for tonight
And I’m getting so good at it I’ve nearly convinced myself this water is wine or that you could be mine
I hang like a suit that has been fitted to too many men, let out and hemmed in
And I’m prowling through alleys of discarded reason why you should care
Until I throw my hands up in the air, ain’t’ it a pretty despair?
Friendliest Room In Town began in a bar. As all good things seem to do. We were working on the first record, and collaborating closely with Gabe Chandler on the Nostradamus re-write for the studio version. There’s a hole-in-the-wall pub called the Dutch Tavern in New London that enjoys the longest running history around, not to mention that it was a favorite haunt of New London’s errant playwright son Eugene O’Neill. These days, it’s THE watering hole/alternate living room for working artists and blue collar types, and everybody that’s anybody finds their way in for a brew now and again. On the wall above the window there is an illuminated Shaefer Beer sign that dubs it the “Friendliest Place In Town”. Well, writing tablet and beers in hand, Craig Edwards and I sat down with Gabe to hash out the last of the plan for Nostradamus and we were soon joined by the Weird Beards’ bass man, Jake Kaeser for the usual chop-busting, idea-crunching, and general fun.
Before there was television, Victorian gentility had to find ways to entertain themselves and each other. One of their goofs to pass the time was called the “Exquisite Corpse”, a game in which you passed around a piece of paper and each person would write down a line, folding down the page so that the next person in the round could only see the line immediately before their own. At the end of the sheet, the page would be unfolded and read aloud. So, to entertain each other, we started a corpse. So was born the Friendliest Room In Town, I shaped it up and added the choruses.
The bodies pile in and the kettle’s on the boil
Friendliest room in town starts with a smile from a boy
There’s an easy warmth on the evening breeze
Regretless bounding joy of a moment I could seize
And the box is playing Williams, not the second or the third
The clock gave a sudden fright, poor hands afraid of heights
And someone’s going down tonight
I summon all my talents to balance on the fence
But my face feels like the inside of a shoe
I listen to the wind just looking for a word
But it’s been miles since the last I heard of you
Just then the floor began to shudder
and the walls began to tilt
And the smiling boy’s intentions are all riddled with guilt
And the box is playing Waits, so why should I hesitate
When I am burning from both ends & the hour is getting late & I’m going down tonight
Whiskey misted memories interrupt each other often
So I say let’s just let our bodies do the talkin’
Walking wounded, telling stories
Seeking glories to soften our woes
And the box became a siren, and the sky is getting light
And it’s time to say good night