Friday, January 6, 2012

Scud Mountain Boys "Letter To Bread"

I went to an all girls college.

Not for school, of course. No, just to visit a friend.

One of my closest friends went to an all Women's college in Roanoke, which was just about two hours away from Abingdon, Virginia, where I lived.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, I'd regularly drive up to Roanoke on the weekends, to a) see my friend, and yeah, b) hang out at an all girls school.

I was single, in my 20s. Where else would I want to be?

This isn't a post about girls or dating or flirting or getting drunk or acting like an awkward teenage boy who hadn't figured out girls when in fact I hadn't been a teenager for many, many years so why was I coming off like such a loser. This is a post about after that.

In those days, I was working nights. I'd get out of bed no earlier that 11am. To the radio station in the early afternoon. Off at midnight or later. And then I'd be up for several hours, drinking or writing or listening to music or watching TV or whatever, until 3 or 4am.

And if I had a Saturday off, I'd go an spend the night in Roanoke.

After a weekend of just being one of the girls, Sunday night would inevitably wind down, as my friend and her cohorts head off to their dorm rooms or study areas to call it a night. And I'd head home.

Getting in the car for a nearly 2 hour drive at 11 or 12 at night, wasn't an issue. I was awake, and happy to have something to do. Even if that something to do was just drive and listen to The Scud Mountain Boys.

My friend Teri had sent me a cassette tape of this band. They, like Teri's band Tizzy, were a Western Massachusetts outfit, a college student/graduate collective of musicians, making a record. Tizzy and The Scud Mountain Boys shared a producer, and that's how a pop-punk drummer heard about an roots/country band from New England.

The cassette combined their full length CD "Dance The Night Away" with selections from an earlier release called "Pine Box." And if I popped the cassette in, right as I pulled out of Roanoke and onto the ramp for Interstate 81, it would carry me all the way down the road, until I was on the exit ramp for my town.

I-81 is a truck route, and yeah, there isn't a lot of anything between Roanoke and Abingdon, except straight stretches, big skies and rolling, rocky farmland.

Much like the Vineyard, southwest Virginia is low on light pollution, and on a clear night (and when I was clear of 18 wheelers) you could see a million stars. It was dark. It was quiet. It was perfect for the Scud Mountain Boys.

The songs on "Dance The Night Away" are built around a slide guitar, slow gorgeous melodies and melancholy lyrics. Time flew by when I listened. Two hours seemed like minutes.

I'm not such an obsessive that I have an actual catalog of this information, but I'd wager that I have listened to "Dance The Night Away" more than any other album. Period.

The band issued one more record, "Massachusetts," and broke up. I did manage to see them live once (a story for another post), but was always bummed out that they didn't do anything else.

Of course, principle songwriter Joe Pernice has been very active, putting out Pernice Brothers records, solo albums and occasional one-off projects like Chappaquiddick Skyline.

But what a thrill to read, out of nowhere this fall, that Joe had reconnected with his old bandmates, and that they had agreed to do a handful of shows this winter.

I'll take the almost two hour journey up to the Brighton Music Hall, next Saturday night, January 14th, for what I hope will be a special night.

And yeah, if it's not too much, for the ride home, for old time's sake, I'll pop in the old cassette and let it carry me home.

Hear the song on Youtube.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to seeing you next weekend.

    Joyce Linehan
    Ashmont Records
    Dorchester, Mass.