Where did you sleep last night…In Nirvana..

I can’t deny it. I love Kurt. I love him in the same way I love Lou Reed. Here is a perfect grungy, rain soaked Seattle grey version of Where did you sleep last night by Leadbelly. I’ve shivered under pines, the whole night through, winter to summer to winter again, the drip drop sounding like a drum beat in my ears, echoing on the tin roof of the camper in order to escape my jealous husband, I’ve sat with Kurt on the car stereo trying to find the willpower to keep moving forwards and do another day, and another. I’ve grabbed my guitar in the middle of the night in some campground somewhere wet and cold and windy, trees creaking around you ominously , giving up on sleep and beat out this song, the rain providing the timing, and the wind rocking the RV to and fro. This is the kind of song you need to stamp your foot along to as you play. This is the song you break strings to, them snapping back in vicious anger, sometimes cutting you without you realizing it, until red falls on spruce top martin and you stop, horrified.

There is a difference between listening to a song and playing it. This is one I’ve played more than I have listened to. They take on a different cadence, a different quality. To be frank you enjoy them just that bit less. The other one I have done to death by playing it is Powderfinger by Neil Young. Look out mama, there’s a white boat coming down the river. The words feel like they are mine not his. I change them, not bothering to look up what he actually sings. I’ve sung the songs by rivers, these songs anchored me in America. In those forests I understood the horror of what it must have been like to be a pioneer, no help coming and danger headed right for you. He sings “Big John’s been drinking since the river took Emmy Lou,” and my heart breaks, because I sang the song. I don’t sing that one anymore. I pick up my new Guild, and pick out Freight Train, or play something I’ve written. I play Pixies and I play Scar Tissue, I play Endless Farewell, and wonder when it will start sounding alien to me.

Good night, All……

Leave a Reply