Dusty clouds, left behind by the black rubber of the tires, rise up on the roadside. Under the blazing sky, shrouded in an endless haze of heat despite the relatively sleepy hour of 9.a.m, the dry crackle of a guitar – ‘My Grandfather’s 12 Gauge’ to be precise – reflects the humidity, the climate and the rocketing temperature. In a dusty, deserted part of America where sizable towns are few and far between, you’ll hear the distinct, traditional sound of the guitar.
The guitar is alive – it always has been. As always, her notes are clean and clear, active and responsive. The car (or guitar) leaves her tracks behind, scrawled, sandy scars that permanently remind the road of her rocky journey down life’s brutal highway. Her tires spray American graffiti onto the dirt of the open road. The summer lets the sunshine in through the windshield, the stifling heat burns through the glass and lights a healthy glow upon the face. The guitar’s natural rhythm drives the music, steering it straight. The atmosphere is a laid back one, worn casually like a pair of ripped blue jeans. This denim fades in the heat, though. The notes are inked in jet black, similar to black coffee, picked up from the diner half an hour ago. It then cools to a tepid liquid as it sits in the passenger seat.
Outside: a flat, deserted land populated by nothing but guitars. Underneath the music, somewhere in the bass, a guitar drone sizzles, sticking around like a mirage. The sunshine never lets it dissipate or evaporate. The strings sweat in the heat, picking up speed as they travel ever onwards. Awaiting the listener is a hazy, arid desert where the drones levitate and then fall from the sky. The notes ring out cleanly, stretching out across the range, across the faded red of the canyon. Open vistas appear in the music as well as on the horizon. The tight rhythmic playing is fuel for the road. They drive with total control, both hands on the wheel. The guitar’s patterns are extremely busy, burning through highly technical passages that are no doubt difficult to pull off. It’s the sound of the midday heat; no shade, no escape.
On ‘Stay 100’, the guitars are wrapped in a lovely, rosy drone. Little sunset melodies lay by the road, darkening the world with a pair of sunglasses. We travel past them quickly, and before long they are nothing but a lingering speck on the record. Then, they are gone. The drone is on cruise control, but the journey is ending. Up above, the evening sky lights up with dusky jets on their final approach, twinkling flashes of red and white on the tip of their wings reflecting America’s stars and stripes. The red, white and blue lights appear to sizzle and blur, thanks to the after-burn of the roaring engine.
With this on the radio, the day’s turning out to be a scorcher.