The tenth song on the Blanco County Lights record is a cajun-country tune called "Joie de Vivre".
I remember hearing a New Orleans marching band on an NPR podcast last year and though it was a brief segment, it left me feeling so much joy. Like, seven in the morning, driving down to paint a house, and I was thinking, LIFE IS JUST FINE GUYS. And so I drove on, just a-smiling in my truck all by myself -- like some kind of happy weirdo, briefly unaware of all the misery in the world -- and I thought to myself that I wanted to write a song that made me people feel good. But not too good. After all, I'm a singer of sad songs and I've got an image to maintain.
I've never been short on opinions. I try to keep most of them off social media (where thought and substantive dialogue go to die), but nary a day goes by that I don't wear out someone's ear with a diabtribe regarding some injustice or stupidity in the world as I see it (an important distinction). I don't often write or protest about such things in public for several reasons, but mostly just because it's exhausting and I enjoy having friends.
I think how we present thoughts might be just as important as the thoughts themselves. Nobody wants to be beaten over their head or made to feel stupid. In fact, being made to feel stupid or belittled is my "nobody calls me chicken" from Back to the Future (widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time).
Anyways, when I sat down to write this song, I had a lot of thoughts about what was going on in the world -- what's always going on in the world. A lot of frustration. A lot of anger. And a bit of sadness. But I didn't want to beat people over the head. Or bore anyone. Or depress anyone for the wrong reasons (we'll stick to love-lost for all the sads). While considering everything, I tried to frame it in a bigger picture of what really matters (hooray! cliche!). Then I thought back to the New Orleans marching band and that undeniable good feeling I had. And so from a juxtaposition of all these things, the song was born into the world in March of 2014, 8lbs and 7 oz.
The title (which is fancy-speak for "the joy of living") is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, when taken in the context of the rest of the tune, and offers a hat-tip to the southern part of Louisiana -- one of my favorite places on earth.
The verses are wrought with frutstration but they're put to an upbeat cajun-country progression, so you can't get mad about it. I figure you can say whatever you want as long as it sounds like you're having fun. Anyways, I'm not much for political posturing or shouting matches. Just love each other and take care of each other. It's easy.
As for the mechanics of the song, we had some bonafide players show up on this tune.
As with all the songs, the rhythm section's rock-solid foundation was comprised of Jack Saunders playing bass and Rick Richards knocking out the drums. I did the bum-bum chicka-chicka thing with the acoustic rhythm guitar and sang vocals. Lainey Balagia lent some soulful goodness to the background vocals.
Then came all the instrumentals.
Jack added the jazzy guitar licks. Eleanor Whitmore handled the cajun-style sawing and the fantastic fiddle solo sections. Lastly, we were fortunate to have Riley Osbourn come play the Louisiana-style keys that really put a bow on the entire track. I watched this man throw away takes that many keys players (ahem) would kill to make just once.
Anyways, I loved listening to this song in the studio (minus hearing myself sing -- still not "about" that). Now that it has been set free, I hope you do too.
Monday's song: The Grand Finale, "Greenville Avenue"
To buy the album, go HERE... 'cause you know you wanna.
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