‘Twas a hard day’s drive… which is why I stretched it out over two and made it back to Golden, Colorado on Friday. Saturday, I was still in the process of doing the ‘load-out’ and by yesterday I started setting up the studio in the new digs. Moving is always a little disorienting and this is the second time I’ve done it just in 2011. By today I’m a little more settled in, but still getting used to the new workspace (still putting things away and trying to locate everything I need).
This week, a new song – “Paradise by the Lava Lamp” – kind of an ambient/surf-meets-hip-hop song that I completed right before I left Dallas. There’s more than a little Western twang in this one – a guitar sound I’ve always loved, ever since I first heard Link Wray’s “Rumble” and listened to surf music. Just continuing to expand the Nights on Venus sound and direction. More of a simple song really. Except for the bridge, there’s no bass line in this – I felt like there was enough bass suggested in the drum loop. The title is a play on words from the Meat Loaf song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” which kind of gives a clue as to what the song is about. This is from the forthcoming album (summer 2012), “In for the Evening” so check it out below and feel free to comment.
PARADISE BY THE LAVA LAMP
© 2011 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)
What follows are a few images from the road…
If you drive from Texas to Colorado you will probably pass through Dalhart on the way out of Texas; I’ve been coming through here for years. It’s a drive I’ve made literally hundreds of times and so often I could do it in my sleep and, at least on a few occasions, I probably have (thank you 5-hour Energy).
Dalhart is a town of about 8,000 people sitting on the high plains of the Llano Estacado surrounded by the Rita Blanca National Grasslands. Farm and ranch country. It’s known as “The XIT City” after the XIT Ranch, a 3 million-plus acre tract of land which began in the late 19th century. The town was built by the railroads which still come through here and was hard hit during the Dust Bowl years in the 1930s.
There’s an excellent book about the Dust Bowl/Depression years here in the Panhandle and Dalhart entitled “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” by Timothy Egan. It’s a great read and makes a good literary companion piece to Steinbeck’s classic “The Grapes of Wrath.”
And chances are, if you’ve come through Dalhart often enough on the way to and from Colorado, you’ve probably stopped at the Sands Restaurant once or twice for breakfast. Yep, it’s still here, open 24/7 and serving breakfast all day – which means they serve brekkie all year. There’s some really good BBQ at Hodie’s on Highway 87 and great Mexican food at La Pasadita on Liberal St. (Highway 54). Like I said, I’ve been coming through here a lot over the years and it’s a wonderfully familiar town.
It’s a place that looks best photographed in black-and-white – like the movie The Last Picture Show – for full effect and I usually arrive there after listening to Ziggy Marley for the last hour-and-a-half out of Amarillo (the “West Texas reggae” leg of the drive), but Buddy Holly, Chris Isaak or Jimmy LaFave work equally well.
So it’s good to be back home again in Nights on Venus’/my natural habitat. Only one more move is planned sometime in early 2012 but it will be in town as we move from the 2-bedroom apartment to a larger town home, preferably with a basement (studio/rehearsal space).
Bring on the snow!