Profiles in loneliness
Engine Driver, Wichita Lineman, and Fisherman’s Blues by The Waterboys are all invariably linked to me like they are just a complementary trio in my mind forever. I do love the occupational biography songs!
I lived in Havre for a few years, and traveled along the hi line for work. It definitely imprints upon you quickly.
You have to buy into the magic of the region or else the desolation will overtake you. It definitely wasn't for everybody. The -50 temps didn't help either.
One of my favorites! Never too inside baseball.
This is my go-to Decemberists track.
Personally love the moneylender verse. It feels the most lonely of all the profiles in the song. Something akin to a Biblical tax collector resonated with me when I first heard it--a man acquainted with many people and a common enemy of all--not sure if it's accurate, but that's my feeling.
Never enough inside baseball. I love when artists who really know what they’re doing get super technical about their craft. Like listening to Paul Simon talk about music. I don’t always understand every word, but I love it.
I think the engine driver is my favorite song in the whole world. I could listen to it over and over again. Something about those pained lyrics just hits.
Great song, Colin, and I really appreciate your comments on the chord progression/lyric interaction. Your lyrics, as usual, wonderful.
God this song breaks my heart every time I hear it. Coupled with "On the Bus Mall" and you have one of my favortie album passages of all time. I've been lucky enough to enjoy at least a handful of the (248!) live performances and reveled in that connection with both the band and audience. Thank you so much for this deep dive, Colin!
Wonderful to read the inside story of one of my absolute favourite Decemberists songs. I also never get tired of playing this song, that pre-chorus is such a wonderful musical moment!
I’ve seen you guys many times and my heart always lifts when I hear the beginning on this song. Please play it 248 more times.
This was the very first Decemberists song I heard! I’m still not sick of it either.
I love hearing this song live - don't stop playing it!
If it wasn’t for me being an actual Engine Driver (Train Driver in the U.K. ) I might never have heard anything of the Decemberists. Another train driver I work with got a disc of songs on the front of a music magazine over here and Engine driver was on it. He played it to me. Hooked. I was the guy in Bristol asking you lot who Burps the most in the Q&A 😆
I love this so much. Hearing about your intention for tone and characters is interesting, because you put such emotion into these few words that I found I was able to discern so much of what you had intended already. Even the small details. Fascinating to hear the backstory and have confirmed what I’ve felt within that song. Thank you so much for sharing!
A) This is not too inside baseball - these are the exact inights into your songwriting process that I keep coming back for! Us fans/songwriters have a lot to learn from you!
B) I don't have a 12-string (blessing and a curse), so I've been covering this in Drop D - not as open sounding as a 12-string (is anything?), but slightly more open-sounding than standard
Love this song, and love these posts!
I'm not sick of it, either, Colin. Never will be!