Let’s celebrate America, land of the free, home of the brave and cowardly all at the same time. The place of rugged individualism and leaning towards the need to be governed by the bully.
I am not going to even claim to understand what is going on in the White House these days, hopefully one day soon we can get back to some semblance of normal. I am going to gamble on the hope that common sense and tradition will win in the end once the votes are counted, the legal battle is over and the peoples will is heard. I am concerned about the future of a society that is dictated so deeply by tradition and veneration of the founders who’s ideals may be admirable, and who’s values were constrained and based on their own time and place. No sane 21st century person would necessarily want to live in the 16th, 17th, 18th or 19th centuries, yes you may want to play dress up for awhile and then drive home via the drive thru to your home that is warm and safe and free of vermin. Let’s face it we barely made it out of the 20th century and there is significant concerns about making it all the way through this century let alone future centuries.
In 1992 I drove through Central Oregon to a soundtrack that included a cassette of Into the Great Wide Open by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Including the attention cassette listeners moment, describing how to prepare your cassette for side 2. It’s still one of my most favorite places to visit and the people out there are shall we say on the conservative side, and some of the most generous and helpful people you may meet which always shocks me considering their love for the orange turd.
Now I am sure this is not Tom’s best album, I hear that designation is saved for Wildflowers, however it is the album that makes me happy. Jeff Lynne managed to invest it with a sound that is uplifting and manages to capture that sunny California jangle that is so infectiously positive.
Being on those wide open high desert roads with the glaring sunshine and the wide open spaces ahead and behind is captured by the album.
“A red wing hawk is circling, the blacktop stretches out for days…”
It’s an album that is unified in its vision of wide open spaces, rock and roll as a salvation of sorts, some jangle, some distortion, big chords and a sing along working class chorus.
There is also something to be said for singing Built to Last driving at 55 miles an hour on a straight desert road with the love of your life in a jeep with the roof and doors off in the sunshine. It’s the American Dream man, until you have to drive back home along the same highway at night when the temperature has dropped and it’s sub-zero with the wind chill, of course that’s both sides of the American Dream right there I guess.