By Joe Ely
Considering he first hitched a experience out of Lubbock, Texas, on the age of 16, singer-songwriter and Flatlanders band member Joe Ely has been a highway warrior, touring highways and again roads throughout the United States and Europe, taking part in song for "2 hours of ecstasy" out of "22 hours of misery." to stick sane at the street, Ely retains a magazine, penning verses that typically morph into songs, and different instances stay "snapshots of what used to be flying via, simply out of succeed in, so that you could get pleasure from at a later date while the wheels cease rolling, and the gears surrender grinding, and the engines close down." In Bonfire of Roadmaps, Ely takes readers at the highway with him. utilizing verse passages from his street journals and his personal drawings, Ely authentically re-creates the event of a musician's lifestyles on travel, from the challenging goodbyes at domestic, to the lengthy hours at the highway, to the pleasure of a superb reside exhibit, to the exhaustion after weeks of traveling. Ely's highway journeys start as he rides the rails to big apple in 1972 and proceed up via contemporary live performance excursions with fellow Flatlanders Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. whereas acknowledging that "it isn't the nature of a gypsy to appear within the rearview mirror," Joe Ely however bargains his many fanatics a revelatory glance again over the roads he is traveled and the knowledge he is gained from his reviews. And for "those who are looking to enterprise past the horizon simply to see what's there... to these, i'm hoping those bills will provide a glint of inspiration..."
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Extra resources for Bonfire of Roadmaps (Brad and Michele Moore Roots Music Series)
Laredo takes his chances on the front lines It’s a restless night, no sleep for the sailors The ocean is calling, the weather won’t last So long Vicksburg, you ain’t much of a host We’ve got a hot date with Destiny And You’ve given us Less than Most. There’s a Silver City somewhere out there callin’ my name * * * Cabeza de Vaca had bats in his head That is why the natives liked him so They taught him how to use lizards to track Destiny In exchange for little Spanish Crosses made of tin IRON RHINOS 59 He carried on his exploration In a suit of River Gourds And Sea Shells When the Spaniards found him he’d become a Wise Man Of Medicine Laughing Naked, dragging a bag of deer turds We sail thru Jackson, in a blink of an eye Then on to Canton, old time Slave City Where the Ivy League was built on the Sweat of Africa And the pale Southern Belles’ breath smells of Pork and Mint Julep Later in the day we snag a ride in a Xerox truck With a man who has mapped every single pothole From Memphis to New Orleans and back His Winnebago is filled with shattered machines He fires up the power and the Generator lights up Laredo and myself have ourselves a little Xerox party We Xeroxed our hands, faces and Levi Jackets, As well as our thoughts, our dreams and empty-ass stomachs When we step down in Memphis, the night feels like it’s been packed away We’re already missing our asylum that we left behind We walk ghostly Beale Street, cut over to the Highland House Rehab Center Where they let us in to toss and turn in our own weary, beatup kind of sleep We shoot outa Memphis like a cat from a dog To the town of the shoe box school Where a solemn young teacher, wise in nylon stockings Leads us with grace through the Tennessee fall We coast down a smooth-as-leather Freeway In balance with the Souls in the world As quiet harmony settles over the trees, red and gold, And we’re thankful to the spirits who filled our Cup 60 BONFIRE OF ROADMAPS Jackson again, Tennessee this time around We drink franchise Coffee at the Scottish Motel And eat fried chicken off the bone Stolen from the throw-away World Lawrence Brojic was a freeway pirate Who howled pure disgust from the opening of the door Who drove a rented car and pulled a U-HAUL trailer And who threw me the keys within minutes of meeting Lawrence of the North en route from Mexico Ranting for hours, calling everyone a fool, Every American a prisoner, every action fruitless And, as if to add credibility, even added himself Outspoken unromantic truth, he spewed Hard as guardrails, as pounded asphalt With eyes that were beaten like a yellow yard dog Thrown into the ocean to learn the art of swimming He sang of his beautiful Mexican women, each one his wife Dreaming of retirement in humble Mexico While aiming his total sperm at his capitalistic dream Bursting like fireworks on the bombed-out highway Lawrence, the hostage in his own prison A product of the work-ethic factories he hates so much A fill-in-the-pieces philosopher at war with jigsaw puzzles, A knight in armor battling the Maya in the Mirror He dropped us in Toledo with Good Luck and Praise He opened his soul and gave to us his strength Little did we know he was preparing us for Battle In a city as hard as its Steel Holy Toledo!
We dance back down the street, walking lighter than before New England is two thousand miles away And we have $5 each. Not a bad head start. We walk back thru the rail yards under a Buttermilk Moon There is only one boxcar empty in this 99-car Hotel. We find a hobo wrapped in a stack of cardboard We shake him, carefully, to see if he’s alive He pops awake and cusses, who are you kids? He jumps off the train, asking again what town this is “Amarillo? Hell . ” And walks into darkness mumbling back at us “Silly bastards.
Our car beckons and we spring on like school kids The coupling creaks as the train stretches a mile of steel Every joint is tortured, even the wheels resist the roll The Big Iron Rhino begins to charge as our senses reel Soon we’re sailing through the Cyprus in Old Louisiana The sun is beaming down on Pine And Cotton Farmers hoeing their crops, wild birds gathering seed I feel completely in place, like a Spirit with new Batteries I have found my sun, tho the orbit may be wild Riding the wild rails with my face in the wind Born of Freedom, I am returning again To be set free by the very wind that imprisoned me IRON RHINOS 57 We smell the Mississippi River miles before we arrive The golden sky floods the atmosphere with Muddy River light The rhythm of the wheels against the steel bridge Beat with the heartbeat of the Planet The crimson waters like a Juggler Vein On course to the Heart of Gulf Salvation, No closer to freedom have I ever been than this soft night Watching the Sunset on the Mississippi River from an open Boxcar Door We floated into the Vicksburg Ravine And coasted in the train yards, no city in sight The switchman wanted to know about our guitars He radioed in to Central sayin’ the Music had arrived The Workers came from every corner of the Rail Yard We sat on a cold flatcar playing train songs, Songs from Woody, Hank, Muddy, and Elvis Songs that had grown from this very Mississippi Mud We passed a bottle of wine and swapped stories Played songs from Texas and songs from Tennessee And when the work whistle blew we all said farewell And they asked where we were goin’ and if we needed a lift They called the Switch engine to bump us down a mile.
Bonfire of Roadmaps (Brad and Michele Moore Roots Music Series) by Joe Ely