Song #10 // The South Austin Moonlighters, “You, Love, & Me” [Ghost of a Small Town]

Imagine yourself in the backseat of your parents’ car. You’re driving down some rural back channel, perhaps in Canada, maybe Pennsylvania. The window is cracked open, and the roar of the galloping wind is only broken by cars passing in the opposite direction, and yet in your small ears you swear you can hear the mute button tapped with each subsequent power pole.

When I was a child I spent countless hours like this, often imagining that I had a long knife, or a scythe, and was able to simply stick it out of the racing car and chop off the tops of anything going by: poles, trees, fence posts, neon signs. Make everything clean and even.

I’ve never analyzed it much since then, nor even really returned to the memory, but just recently I was reading the opening chapters of a so-far-excellent book called Weathering by Lucy Wood, and a young girl does exactly that in rural UK.

It was an odd sensation, reading about something that not only had I not thought about for a long time, but also something that I thought was purely mine. It was the rush of emotion like when a sibling and you share a memory long squirreled away. It had the opposite effect of making me feel less original; it made me feel less alone.

Of all of the songs that teetered in and out of this year’s list, this was the last one to fall into the “keep” pile. It’s a local band (perhaps I’ll do another post on what a moon tower is in the future), and though the song may or may not stand the test of time for me or anyone else, it’s currently a fun ride, and definitely a toe-tapper as I’ve driven up and down Congress, Lamar, and Mo-Pac running errands. I make no excuses for how saccharine or cheesy it is. Despite the harmonized cliche, there’s a little Blue Rodeo hidden in there that makes me unembarrassed to roll the window down when it’s playing; it’s the kind of music that filtered into my backseat several decades ago.