Friday, September 13, 2002

Late summer sun on the back of my neck as I walk down the sidewalk, then turning to face west, and the sun peeps sideways up the north-south alleys. It's 9 AM, taste of coffee still in my mouth from the bitter cup I drank already, trying to ward off a hangover. The twang of California Stars swims through my muddy head; it starts off with a strumming guitar, then "I want to lay my weary bones tonight... your hair touching mine... on a bed of California stars." I've been to California twice, to San Jose (traffic, office buildings and hotels in January 1999) and to Monterey a few summers ago for a week. Marled trees- striped bark, deep green waxy leaves- against the calm & glassy ocean lie in my head when I listen to this song; the heavy beat seems to pull their forms out of the back of my thoughts. The dry redness of Monterey was alien and freezing- even in June, the temperatures barely broke 65 most afternoons- something I didn't expect. I like how weary Jeff Tweedy sounds (I think it's him singing here- it sounds exactly like his voice to me); then also the melancholy and twang of a country western film -right at the end of the verses, in the bits of a fiddle between lines prop up his voice. I try to replace the hills here that I'm hiking up with the dunes that we cut across in Monterey- the song sounds better that way, a vacation feel; the way it winds down at the end sounding exactly perfect for a sunset over some different part of the Pacific. Of all the Wilco songs I've heard (and this isn't really their's- it's from Mermaid Avenue) this one sounds the most assured; most grown up and settled, rather than resigned, if I'm honest with myself.

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