Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Duquesne Whistle, On The Road, Across the Wide Missouri, and into Downeast Maine

Finally burnt a new CD of road music for the aged and beloved Volvo, for today's drive, heading  down east to home. Was inspired after I started downloading harmonies from the a cappella girls: The Wailin' Jennys, and Mountain Man. Connected to a bunch of other stuff. Now, I admire the Jennys and MM very much; they're in a class by themselves. And the Jennys are Canadian, eh? which hits the button for me. Both of these groups sing beautiful & lively harmonies. However there are a bunch of young women out there singing with tiny, breathy, little-girl voices that give me the creeps. Whispering into the mike, and sounding about thirteen...As an antidote to that tiresome stuff, I slapped some grumpy old white man music on my road CD; none better and crankier than the Bobster. For the last 100 miles  I've listened to Duquesne Whistle, from last year's Tempest CD a bunch and it's a good fit for Bob's shot-to-pieces voice. It occurred to me that Bob now sounds a lot like Tom Waits, that phony, was trying to sound about three decades ago in his wino on skid row persona. But with Bob it's the real deal.
       The first person who turned me on to Duquesne Whistle was my pal Guido Goluke, who's the Dutch translator of (amongst other American classics) Kerouac's On the Road. 
         Shawn Colvin's version of David Byrnes' This Must Be The Place is a good road tune.  Oh there are many. It's one of the strongest American/Canadian genres. When I first heard Springsteen doing Shenandoah I thought it was a little too Ken Burnsy-self-conscious-Americana. Bruce has to watch that, or he'll start thinking he's the Lincoln Memorial. But having listened a couple of time, I think the Boss does do right by the song. Still a bit too self-consciously rough-edged, aiming for the heart of anthem-land, but I like the plunky banjo and, what the hell, the lyrics do have an anthemic aspect. Still, I guess I finally prefer Bob's raffish version of a quarter-century ago.  What a wonderful song it is. Look away, across the wide Missouri. Read Bernard DeVoto lately? He's pretty good on the history of the West.
that's not the Missoura; that's Blue Hill Bay

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