Music Lyric Monday – The Hold Steady

It was one of those epic weekends, this past weekend. One of those weekends you can either try to resist, if the reasonable part of your brain overrides the joyous part, but I think it’s fair to say none of us were reasonable. Two of my cousins, SA and B, arrived on Thursday evening, bringing with them the soon-to-be newest addition to our family, K, B’s fiance. These are the  cousins with whom I share some of my best memories from growing up – visiting their house in Traverse City during the summer, them visiting us in Alpena during the winter for hockey tournaments. Through the hazy fog of nostalgia we share images of long days at the beach, holiday celebrations, and a hundred different stories from previous weddings, funerals and reunions.

I love them.

It was thrilling, too, to meet K – this new young woman joining our family who laughs as long and hard as I do and who seems to be a perfect fit not only for B – certainly the most important thing – but a perfect fit for our family, which just works out nicely.

We had a good time. I could write about Thursday night, or Friday night, but I think Saturday night will be the one I remember the most – the party that lasted until nearly dawn. My cousins taking over the kitchen, steaming mussels, creating platters of cheese and crackers, marinating pork tenderloins, mixing drinks. The neighbors bringing over a platter of bruschetta , created from ingredients in their garden. K creating a salad of spinach, red onion, strawberries and goat cheese, as well as her own viniagrette. All of us so adult, all of a sudden, doing for ourselves what our parents used to do for us.

Someone always gesturing with a drink to make a point; the picnic table our neighbors provided filling, and re-filling, with different courses. The clock turning ten o’clock, then eleven, then midnight, one a.m, two – the hours passing like minutes.

And music in the background, someone constantly manning the cd player.

When the Hold Steady came on for the third time around three in the morning, I knew it was time for me to go to bed. SA first introduced S and me to this band probably a year or so ago, and after listening to Stay Positive we immediately ordered Boys and Girls of America. As a housewarming gift, SA burned us several amazing cds that, as S pointed out, immediatley raised our cool quotient – he burned us quite a bit of Hold Steady.

What to say about this band? SA has declared them the Bruce Springsteen of the Midwest. My husband likes to rhapsodize about the guitar chords, or something like that. They both spent quite a bit of time quoting lyrics back to one another.

Me? I just love them. Each song is a full narrative, evoking images and thoughts as powerful as any story I’ve ever read. I often find myself mulling over one of their lines in my head, or wanting to choose one of their cds over the multitude of others we own.

So many songs to choose from today, but I think I’ll share the song I end up thinking about the most, the song I listen to over and over again because it’s just so damn good – In honor of music lyric Monday, I present “Lord I’m Discouraged.” I hope your week is off to a lovely beginning, and that perhaps you have a party that stretched well into the morning hours in your past to remember.

Lord, I’m discouraged
The circles have sucked in her eyes
Lord, I’m discouraged
Her new friends have shadowed her life
Lord, I’m discouraged
She ain’t come out dancin’ for some time

And I’m tryin’ to light candles
But they burn down to nothing
And she keeps comin’ up with
Excuses and half-truths, and fortified wine
Excuses and half-truths, and fortified wine
Excuses and half-truths, and fortified wine
There’s a house on the south side
She stays there for days at a time

I know I’m no angel
I ain’t been bad that way
Can’t you hear her?
She’s that sweet missing songbird
When the choir sings on Sunday
And I’m almost busted
But I bought back the jewelry she sold

And I come to your altar
And then there’s just nothing
She keeps on insisting
The sutures and bruises are none of my business
She says that she’s sick, but she won’t get specific
The sutures and bruises are none of my business
This guy from the north side
Comes down to visit
His visits, they only take five or six minutes

Lord, I’m sorry to question your wisdom
But my faith has been wavering
Won’t you send me a sign,
Show me you’re listening?

Excuses and half-truths, and fortified wine
Excuses and half-truths, and fortified wine
Excuses and half-truths, and fortified wine
I know it’s unlikely she’ll ever be mine
So I mostly just pray she won’t die…

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7 Responses to Music Lyric Monday – The Hold Steady

  1. auntjone says:

    Powerful song! I’ll look them up and make my 15 y/o download their stuff to my MP3 player because I am both too busy and too inept to do it myself.

  2. SA says:

    Hey Cuz-

    It was a wonderful weekend!

    You know, we should be life coaches. Saturday night was sort of a seminar on how to have a good time, with both frivolity and fervor and intelligence.

    I’ll see you in October!

  3. litlove says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Courtney! So lovely to have such warm and sustaining family relationships.

  4. Amanda says:

    Wow! I’m going to have to check them out. Thanks!

  5. Courtney says:

    Aunt Jone – LOL, after I posted this song I realized how incredibly depressing it is – but it is a GREAT song!
    SA – Life coaches! Our destiny. I guess it would go something like this : surround yourself with those you love most in the world. pour a drink. take it outside. repeat. for, like, ever. Can’t wait for our trip to chicago in Oct!
    Litlove – I am very blessed!
    Amanda, no problem!

  6. Emily Barton says:

    Never heard of them, but now I must go check them out.

  7. A Free Man says:

    I missed this post somehow. Just wanted to say that i absolutely love The Hold Steady.

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