Song for Al Grierson

When I come to central Texas
And I’m amid the shrubs and stone
And I’m driving down the highway
And I’m driving on my own
It makes me think about a friend
Who I knew not long ago
Who lived beneath the moonlight
On a ranch called Armadillo

When I’m cruising through the desert
On this road that loves my car
It makes me think of wild roses
And a beat up old guitar
It makes me think of how I’d stop there
On my way on through
And hang with the deadhead boxcar
The lonely railroad tracks and you

Sometimes love hurts, Al
Other times it kills
An Alberta boy who fell in love
With the Texas hills

We’d reminisce of friends
That we both knew somewhere
You’d tell me of a woman
With flowers in her hair
We’d swap songs and stories
That happened since last year
The ones you always liked the best
Was when we all ended up in tears

Chorus

You still had the sneakers
Though you’d given up the wine
You found a trailer by the highway
That treated you just fine
Where you could write the finest lines
About whoever took your heart
Flew it to the clouds
And ripped it all apart

Chorus

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“Song for Al Grierson” appears on the 2009 CD, Ten Thousand Miles Away.

Al wrote some really good songs and was a really great guy.  I met him at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas in 1997, where he and I and many other people spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the sweltering heat that summer.  For Al and many others, including Chris Chandler, the poet who brought me to the festival that summer, Kerrville was an annual tradition.  For me it was a one-time thing — way too hot for me to enjoy such a festival unless I’m getting paid for it (and I rarely get paid to play at folk festivals in the USA).  But I kept in touch with Al, and visited him every time I was passing through Texas after that, once or twice a year, until his untimely death in a flash flood on the way back from a gig one day in the Texas hill country.

I wrote this song in 2005, one evening around the time of Camp Casey, when I was back in Texas, driving around the hill country, reminiscing, listening to an Al Grierson CD.  My song consists largely of random Al Grierson quotes and references.

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