Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Track of the Week: Lucinda Williams, "Crescent City"

There's going to be a short hiatus on NFI over the next few days, since I am headed down to New Orleans for a friend's wedding.  I am incredibly excited, first because I have never been to NOLA and have been wanting to go there ever since I was a little child, and second because I will be seeing many of my dearest friends.  My buddy who's getting married worked with me on the contingent track in Michigan, and he was also the one who jumped to teaching at a private school, and gave me the guidance and encouragement to make a similar leap myself.  Another great compatriot of those days will be there too, both of us away from family supervision.  Hopefully we will return intact.  Coincidentally, my two best friends from my time in Texas are going to be in the city for a conference, so I will get to see them, too.

When I get together with these beloved comrades, I feel that we have a bond that passes understanding.  We all spent time in the academic trenches together and formed our relationships as a kind of solidarity against the degradations that we endured.  Most other people I know, who have not experienced this life, I spare from the old war stories.  The tales are either so ridiculous that they can't be believed, or are simply too much like the story of Coleridge's ancient mariner, told hysterically and confusedly.  With these friends we get together, drink and talk, retell our stories of the difficult past but sigh with relief over having survived.

I had a hard time coming up with a track this week because I wanted something inspired by New Orleans, and so much amazing music has come from that city that I just didn't know what to pick.  Then I remembered my reasons for going to New Orleans.  In "Crescent City" Lucinda Williams talks about New Orleans as her adopted hometown, and going back there as a sweet homecoming.  It is a place full of good times, good people, and good memories.  It's a reminder that as we live our increasingly nomadic lives in 21st century America we have to leave such things behind en route to the next city and the next gig.  The people I will see this weekend are people whom I wish I never had to leave behind, that I want so badly to be in my life.  I feel sometimes like I have a second, unofficial family that is spread across the four corners of the country and points abroad.  Seeing them again lifts my soul, much the same way Lucinda Williams talks about going back to the Crescent City.

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