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Leroy Justice The Band Twilight

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The song is originally off Northern Lights-Southern Cross but I recently got this other version from Bradley in my band [Editor’s Note: an early demo take appears on the 2001 remastered CD edition]. It’s this real broken down version with piano and this really breathy, close-mic’d vocal by Robbie Robertson, and it feels like the day or night right after he wrote it. It’s just so crushing and good. I keep going back to it to learn how to play it I love it so much.

And then the album version is this trippy, spacey, calypso version with this weird synth in it. It’s just SO different to this haunting, late night song that I love. Hearing these two takes reminds me of Leroy Justice’s process, where songs begin with me late at night with guitar quietly coming up with something. Then, I know when I take it to the band it will become something else.

The lyric – “Don’t leave me alone in the twilight/ ‘Cause twilight is the loneliest time of day” – also fits right into that late night headspace. A lot of it starts for me in my bedroom or somewhere else, alone with low light and singing quietly, and it builds from there. (Jason Gallagher of Leroy Justice)

Broken Down Version

Original Single

Comments Off on The Song In My Head: The Old Ceremony

The Old Ceremony Paul Simon Run That Body Down

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As far as rock stars go, few are as understated as Paul Simon. He’s this odd, brainy guy who mumbles occasionally deep insights to himself off to one side at a cocktail party, not caring who hears him or doesn’t. His restraint, both in writing and singing, make his depth easy to overlook in a noisy, over-stimulated world. But there he stands in the corner, whispering epiphanies wrapped in deceptively casual scenes. I discovered Run That Body Down [which appears on 1972’s Paul Simon] in the middle of a particularly grueling period of touring, where I asked myself, “How do people do this and not run themselves into the ground?”

And there was Paul Simon, echoing my silent question with his own story: “Went to my doctor yesterday/ She said I seem to be okay/ She said Paul you better look around/ How long you think that you can run that body down?/ How many nights do you think you can do what you’ve been doing?/ Who are we fooling?”

There it was, effortlessly floating above a tired shuffle with a limber, philosophical melody and that familiar cocktail party mumble. Paul knew how I felt; he’d felt that way, too. He even called himself by name. But somehow he made it seem universal, not narcissistic. How did he do that? How did he string those odd chord changes together without disturbing the hypnotic movement of the melody? Who is this weird guy in the corner? I listened over and over, and when I wasn’t listening I was singing it in my head.

Don’t get me wrong, I love rock and roll’s oversized personas: Bowie, Mick Jagger, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, hell, even Morrissey. It’s a flamboyant business. But in my quieter moments, I don’t want someone to descend from Venus with a grandiose message for me. I want to nurse a whiskey in a corner with an understated (and underrated) philosopher. I want to turn it down and listen hard. I mean, who are we fooling? (Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony)

The Old Ceremony have a stellar new album, Tender Age, which we’ll be discussing with them next week when we spend 7 Minutes In Heaven together. The band plays this Friday, October 15, at Kings in Raleigh, NC with Hammer No More The Fingers sharing the bill.

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Tom Petty Muddy Waters I Can’t Be Satisfied

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There’s something so perfect about that song that it haunts me. I think the lyrics are really kind of poetic – “I’m troubled/ I’m all worried mind/ Just can’t be satisfied/ Just can’t keep from crying.” It’s a haunting little song. I wish I could come up with something like that. [It’s primal on every level] and it’s just absolutely perfect. What would you have done any differently? His delivery is so beautiful. It’s really hard to dissect these things, but that one is one I come back to again and again.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ new album, Mojo, arrives June 15. The band’s summer tour begins June 1st at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO.

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