Rockabilies in my Home

By the light of the moon, I’m comin’ home
Howlin’ all the way, I’m comin’ home
On my hands and knees, I’m comin’ home
I know when I’ve been beat, yea, I’m comin’ home

There is no place like home. Apparently home is an intangible place which contains many hearts and cliches.  Ever since my move nearly nine months ago to the Land of Enchantment, my perception of home is skewed.  Though I’ve lived out of suitcases and on tour buses throughout my life, I’ve always had home. Until now.

Starting over is an incredibly interesting concept. You have so much potential to shape, shift, alter exactly how you present yourself.  Fresh slate.  There is an opportunity cost related to this, naturally.  First impressions hold more weight than the years of friendship one could offer. I can only imagine what it is like to be a musician living on the road; every place is new, challenging, and different. It feels like home to me.

On a work-night (the ‘school-night’ of adulthood), I trekked to Santa Fe to hear the greatest unknown band with my close friend and partner in chaos, Katrijn. Like most things in New Mexico, the venue appeared like a house, a quaint adobe pueblo with vigas on the ceiling. The arena was in reality a restaurant.  The balcony overlooked the oversized disco ball and the stage, illuminated with colored lights.  The bar offered the sweetest smells, as local brews were being served in simple plastic glasses to patrons. The doormen wore smiles and dirty shirts as they pressed the ink onto my hand. Sealed with a kiss. Cheeky. The Sol was aptly named in honor of the sun, the god of New Mexico and the zia was formed by the multitude of stickers pressed against different surfaces. My friend, Katrijn, bought me a beer. Apparently it was brewed in Santa Fe and is not hoppy. I got almost a third of the way into it. That is a new record for me. I still am absolutely clueless about the finite beauty of beer. Though this is not the establishment you order a chic cosmopolitan from.

After such an assessment, a tall man with mutton chops passed by.  Mutton chops? Have I been transported to the extras holding area for the film Miller’s Crossing? Hold that. Every man in this room looks like an extra for Miller’s Crossing.  I would have thought this to be a new dream directed by the Coen Brothers if lanky men in skinny jeans and ironic beards hadn’t walked in. Whew! Still in 2012 where hipsters are cool enough to spray on their pants. Though after the first band (Ha Ha Tonka– incredible) took the stage, my eyes were transfixed upon the most majestic sight I’ve ever beheld: the drunk, Santa Fe version of Bill Murray.

His white hair was braided down his back with his full beard completely unkempt. His beer belly could make a beach ball jealous. I’ve never seen someone enjoy music more.  He stood on the steps to the balcony, stage left. He tried to mouth out the lyrics with the band, though clearly he had never heard a single one of their songs before. Dancing was not his forte either, but that didn’t stop him from shimmying and swaying back and forth to the beat of the music. I was staring at this point.

Not many things can break the stare of a woman completely transfixed upon the most obscure sightings, but then the opening band entered into the sweetest a capella my ears have heard. ( There are times when music takes your breath away and transports you to a place you’ve never been.  Then add the live-music-factor to that and you basically have me putty in your hand. I was almost on the cusp of begging to know where art thou, my brother.. but the picture such words paint in your head took me to the cross, the gallows, and to the place all hold dear in their heart.

Finally, the band Murder by Death took the stage– hipsters, rockabilies, mispaced renaissance individuals, cowboys, and the mysterious Santa Fe-ans all conglomerated together, holding their breath for the sights and sounds of one of the greatest unknown bands to walk on stage. Deep breath in…

It was magical. There were times the drunk cowboys were singing just as loud as the rockabilies–  the horned hand signal was thrown in the air as many times as I danced.  There were pushy people in the crowd (completely unnecessary) that I immediately almost reached out to hug. Natural reaction? I just want to hug people?

Murder by Death is one of those fantastic bands that takes you to places you’ve never been, creates memories you never want to forget, and is the best party you’ve ever been to. The best compliment I can ever give, they receive wholly and without fault. They are nothing but sheer talent wrapped in raw honesty. It isn’t always popular to be honest. Which is all I could think about when they crooned their new song, “I Came Around.” It is about being wrong.

I’ve been wrong before. I moved to New Mexico and at first was disappointed. My first impression contained a desolate desert– and then a literal tumbleweed blew past the road. I didn’t know what to expect; I didn’t have a historical relationship with this land, only a job calling that I answered.  Some days I didn’t know what I had done.  Until I felt the warm New Mexican sun melting the homesickness from my bones. The clouds danced with shadows on the sides of mountains and slowly my opinions changed. With the first drop of snow, I was smitten with the land. The first time I went to the top of the mountain, I was in love.  My first impression was wrong. But I’ve found home. For as short or long as I am here, it is home. It was always you, New Mexico.

I cut through the brush, I followed  your scent
To find the way to  you, to find the way to you
I  traveled through floods, through valley and glade
To find my way to you, to find my way to you
It was always you, it was always  you
It was always you, it was  always you


3 thoughts on “Rockabilies in my Home

  1. You have, indeed fallen in love with your new Mexico … I can relate to your new love as did I have encounters with other states…. It’s a talent to plug into the culture and appreciate the heritage … Just watch the local beer !!!

  2. Brown is what you see from the sky, The same brownness and then you fall in love with NM. We visit often as my son and his family live in ABQ. I enjoyed your post it’s nicely written. claudiajustsaying

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