Seems like I'm always on my own... Back in the frozen District for a week now, following almost two delightful ones in balmy, sunny Florida. Don't mistake me, D.C. is exciting, engaging and good to me. It's been an incredible and life changing experience. The sort where you want to soak up every moment- maybe even more so because you know it can't last. I learned about seasons here... that you have to appreciate each second you get because it could change in the next breath. There are nights like tonight, where I walk around the city in 30 degree weather to meet a friend- feeling completely exhilarated and energized by Chinatown and the lights and the company... and I know I will remember this for the rest of my life, and feel grateful for it whatever I do, where ever I go.
All that being said. It's not home. And no matter where I roam, and I'm sure I couldn't tell you all the places I will or want to, Florida always will be. I hate to start the new year off on such a melancholy note, but this is the first thing I've heard in a week that made me really want to sit down and write. I listened to this album a lot about this time two years ago. It came out in September 2005 but took a full year and a half for me to take notice. Late nights won't do me justice. Augustana. All the Stars and Boulevards. Song of the same name. Interestingly enough, this was the first song off the album that I really connected with. The album, overall, is really well produced. Mixed well, the energy flows nicely from one song to another. It would be easy with so many sad or similar sounding songs to lose focus halfway through, but the music is captivating. It stays with you. This is one of those rare albums that I can listen to from start to finish without getting bored, sleepy, or fidgety. That's really saying something since my music ADD is well known and I am guilty of spending entire car rides without listening to any single song all the way through.
It's easy to listen to. I love Dan Layus' voice. It's husky, often wounded sounding, and it really propels the music forward. It won't bring you down if you're in a good mood. But, if you're not... it's a satisfying balm. They're only gonna tell you all the bad things I've done.. I used to drive around in my car (shocking) in the dead of Florida winter (which was frigid to me then) with the windows down, playing this album, alternating between feeling completely numb and incredibly alive. Not sure if I would do that here.
This song in particular, "All the Stars and Boulevards", was played in copious amounts during the winter of 2006-2007. The first time around, I was in the middle of ending a relationship, possibly starting a new one, and graduating college. I changed a lot of well thought out, agonized over, and yet, mislaid plans in a very short amount of time. I felt confused, jumbled, guilty, damaged and very alone. Like there was no place for me, like I didn't belong anywhere or with anyone. It's a feeling that only grew in intensity over the next year. I'm not sure that there are lyrics that could apply to my personal situation at the time any better than these. The music itself, the guitar, sounds resigned. Layus' voice does too. Resigned, yet desperate, clinging, but trying not to. I also really like the live version of this song. It's got a great melody and on the live version, the harmonica, piano, and guitar meld in a way that I think speaks to the soul of the song even more than the original version.
I told you I could give you anything, but anything won't do. Circumstances in my life currently couldn't be more different than they were then. So now, even though this song, this album, this music, reminds me of that time... it also resonates in a new way. Isn't it funny when something like that happens? When you hear the correct lyrics for a song you've been singing for years? Or you stop to listen to something that you didn't hear clearly before and it opens your eyes to this whole new meaning, this whole new world? Now, I have direction, healthy relationships, life experiences. I know more about myself, what's good for me, and what I want than maybe I ever have before. I love D.C. but I belong elsewhere. It's simply that home is where your heart is and both home and my heart are 800 miles away. I miss things that I can't have here right now. Four months is such a short amount of time, but it can seem like forever when you have as little patience as I do. It's both too much time and too little.
Seems like I'm never comin' home.