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DRIVIN’ AND CRYIN’ by Gregory Purvis

So I’m now living in the middle of nowhere instead of a van down by the river. Which does wonders for my social/sexual life. I moved back to Alabama to write the “Great American Novel” which in my case is self-described as  “dark southern gothica”. I figured the place would inspire some characters (as it inspired the setting twelve long years ago…and it did), and I figured I’d be able to step back into some of my social/sexual relationships from back in the day. Problem is, my pseudovampire narcoticized blood may keep ME from aging…but it does shit for other folks. I run into people from my high school and early-college years and it really FREAKS ME OUT. Plus, most of my hott little bunnies from back in the day have married and bred themselves a mini child labor force for the region’s carpet-bagger textile mills. It’s a small place full of small towns…but don’t be a classcist: I’ve tried myself to stop using the term “redneck” because the truth is, just because you are from the South doesn’t mean you are a brainless, mouth-breathing racist thug whose hobbies include partying at ‘Taters and lynching “coloreds”. (NOTE: YES, there is an actual “Tater” and yes, his trailer has been a well-known hang-out for “rednecks” for two generations.)

The sad part is, it’s STILL a dry county…even though a few years back they voted to go wet in the county seat. “Dry” meaning “without sexual juice” in my case, at the time being at least.

So I’m sitting at home, watching ‘Austin City Limits’. My Morning Jacket is playing. A great example of a southern band that manages to meld southern musical roots with experimental funky rock stylings without delving into the alt-country or “Freebird” crap. Plus, they don’t stray into the “let’s make fun of the South” alternabands like Southern Culture On The Skids, the Rev. Horton Heat, or (to some extent) Nashville Pussy. Not that all three of those examples aren’t kool in their own ways.

Still, this band is flowing from an emotional place I seem to be in at the moment. They’re not a band I would select for sex (Nine Inch Nails tops that list), but they are a good band to THINK about having sex with someone…like..say..your ex-wife (whom you secretly miss and hate yourself for missing).

I mean, any band that can manage to pull off so many integrated textures and influences HAS to be good for something, right?

So I decide to go out…and though the county is now (partially) wet (for Yankees: this means alcohol is allowed to be sold so long as the politicians get a little taste and/or some under-the-table love…as opposed to a “dry county”, where alcohol cannot be sold, bought, or (in some cases) even CONSUMED legally.)…it’s not THAT wet.

 Now, if the county WAS still dry, I’d have chosen Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road” to listen to on my way to the watering hole that (so far) hasn’t been shut down by The Man. Instead, I chose Georgia boys Drivin’ n Cryin’…followed by Dreams So Real. I get to my destination after a song from each, and half of “Copperhead Road”, too.

I’m listening to live music, wishing a certain young lady (who may have some vampire blood in her as well, as she has obviously–by her Facebook bio–aged very nicely, too) I used to know would stop by. I’ve been back in town for a couple years now, and our paths have yet to cross–yet.  But, alas, she is not here. So I’m listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd shite played by admittedly talented local musicians, over and over. You see, this county was made famous by the Country supergroup ALABAMA. They even have bronze, life-sized statues near the entrance to the City Park, and their fan club (and mansions) are nearby. A local musician and artist I really respect (Colin Kirby) said it right when he quipped that he’d never visited or lived in a town with more gifted musicians per square mile. We also have more churches per square mile–which is where many of these musicians get their early training. I visited a Primitive Baptist church (yes, that’s the real name of this denomination) last year to hear some of the INCREDIBLE “shape-note singers” who were featured in the Nicole Kidman/Jude Law movie “Cold Mountain”. Anyway, all I can think about is WHY don’t more of these gifted musicians quite playing covers and blah southern rock and do what My Morning Jacket has done. There IS that calibre of talent here…if you can find em. I saw a band named Marsh Elder last year that totally blew me away…but for most of these guys, doing country and country-rock covers is all they seem to want to do.

Even so, I don’t leave. Because I’m hoping this young lady might pop in. Hey, it COULD happen!

But it doesn’t. So I spill a tear in my beer, listen to some passable Merle Haggard, and leave.

I play “Down In It” (loud) all the way home, along lonely country roads, have myself a pity party, watch some porn, and call it a night.

As they say ’round these here parts: Woo hoo. Woo fucking hoo, indeed.

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