Is realizing you never should have taken that first step.
Getting a little further into this “One take, one track” idea, I decided to record a version of “Angel From Montgomery.” Not really being familiar with the song when I first heard it, I think I filed it away for future reference under “Girl singing blues.” However, when I heard it again – shamefully, in the scene in Into the Wild where Emile Hirsch and Kristen Stewart are singing it in a trailer park – it piqued my interest again.
I dug a little further into it, realized it’s not, in fact, a Bonnie Rait tune, and learned that John Prine wrote it. Now, I’m not a HUGE John Prine fan, but I respect his stuff. The Chicago folk scene produced some of the best songwriters of the mid-70’s, and Prine is defintely up there. Songs like “Hello in There” and “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” are just these perfect little gems that without Prine’s dry, nasal delivery don’t seem to really ring true. I’ve never followed him religiously, but anybody that can write a song like “Decal” in ’70 or ’71 and then sing it in public has more balls than I’ll ever see.
That “Angel” is written strictly from a woman’s perspective (making it hard to tell it’s not a Bonnie Rait song), and the fact that whenever I’ve heard it covered by a guy they reverse the sex, made me want to work on it as well – the only other good song I can think of that’s written by a man about how a woman thinks is “House of the Rising Sun.”
So, after hearing this song in a weird movie about how to kill yourself in Alaska, I figured I’d learn it and come up with my own way to play it. It’s a little bit based on Bonnie’s version, leans more heavily on John’s, but I think it comes out sounding a little more like me in the end. I enjoy it, I enjoy playing it, and I hope whoever’s out there enjoys listening to it.
See you at the next show.