Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Boy Who Was Caught - Story Behind the Song


Driving home from a northwest tour, we were coming down an Oregon mountain on 101, a summery pretty day, and started passing cops on the side of the road, looking for something in the grass. We thought it was curious, started paying attention. After 2 or 3 of them we saw a big line-up of police cars with flashing lights, the freeway closed, and a bunch of police with their guns drawn, pointing to the middle of the road, just as we passed, a young man, 16 or 17 years old, in front of a beat-up car that had run into the middle barrier, throws his hands up and falls to his knees.

The look on his face: terror, sadness, childhood.

To see such a turning point, such a vulnerable, awful moment for another human, tore me up. I couldn't help but cry it out, write it down, want to help him. I don't know what had happened, what he was involved with, if he'd done something bad.

But at that moment I just wanted to help him know it would be ok.

The song came together in the weeks after that and I recorded it at home and it was put on the shelf for a few years. And on one of those listening sessions I do sometimes, that covers songs I've recorded at home over a few years, I found it again, and it got to me, I wanted it out in the open.

I sing it for that young man, for myself in times when you feel like you can't get lower, that there's always a way up again. Things shift up, they shift down, this can always be counted on.

There's a good human element in us I think, that when we share such an intense moment with someone, we keep a part of that person with us always, we bond with them, even if we never know them or see them again, our paths have crossed in a way we'll remember. I hope he's ok. Send him some good thoughts.

To the boy who was caught
Crashed the car and gave up
I saw your face
As you fell to your knees

I don’t know what you did
I saw them look for something
I saw them in the grass
I cried for miles after
Just like your mama will

To the boy who gave up
In the Oregon sun
With the red shining lights
And the dogs waiting by

I don’t care what you did
I saw them pointing their guns
I saw your arms raised high
I cried for miles after
Just like your mama will
Oh Boy don’t give up

Music verse and chorus

To the child who was trapped (double octave)
Guns at your back
It’s not your last

Why’d you do what you did?
You’ve fallen hard upon the pavement
The sun is shining kind upon you
Let it go, take it off, take it off here
Spread it out on the ground , it feels good

We leave Tuesday, July 29th for Salem and the Northwest! A new tour!
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing lyrics and a touching story. This is a really good song on the CD, and now that I've read the lyrics I like it even more.