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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

I started out listening to Jay Z, the Blueprint III album.  Maintaining a tough attitude is required to get this paint job accomplished and over with. For years we stumbled around ladders in the house and I refuse to relive that.

Jay Z reached its end at some point and I can’t recall exactly when.  An Itunes shuffle can hold the fate of our human will in these unassuming moments.  So what came next?

Ryan Adams, Gold.  It was three songs in before I realized it.  Songs from “Gold” could likely connect the dots of my twenties, if I tried.  The music is in me and I don’t hear it anymore, adding to what it has played through already.  Standing here, rolling my walls, I dazed back.  Early drives to Ashley’s apartment, stretches of highway, cigarettes in my front pocket, the twin towers in a music video before they fell.  I am 19 and 29.

One example.  New York City, Ashley had gone back to Virginia for a couple weeks and I’d hit bottom.  We were broke, in debt, and in trouble.  I was bumming cigarettes or buying singles on Lenox Ave.  With “La Cienega Just Smiled” on repeat, I took the subway from 135th in Harlem to Ludlow Guitars and then walked back home.  Never stopped the song.

My feelings about those days and a lot more of them are spoken for by the higher acoustic guitar on the recording.  It doesn’t get off the same chord for the entire song.  And never once have I comprehended the words.  I fight to stay in place with my mind, like I’m trying to pray.  It’s an open F chord, capo 3, with the pinky adding the 9th, and it has the power to stop an afternoon in Manhattan.  That pinky never moves for 4:43.

Funny today, it was around two years ago that we gave it a shot.

Ryan Adams, “I’ll always love you though, New York”

Jay Z, “Let’s hear it for New York”

Billy Joel, “I’m in a New York state of mind”

Elton John, “This Broadway’s got a lot of songs to sing and if I knew the word I might join in”

Jim Croce, “New York’s not my home”

Levon Walker, “The little man in the box says we can”



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