You can hear lots of musical touchpoints in Jackson Emmer’s music. There’s the lyrical perceptiveness of Jackson Browne, the melodic air of fellow Colorado artist John Denver, and the occasional flash of wit reminiscent of Todd Snider. It all comes together quite nicely on Alpine Coda, Emmer’s forthcoming new album (arriving 2 Oct).
“When the Lawn Gets Dark”, the lead single, is an uncompromising reflection on addiction and despair. The details are raw and riveting, all the more so with Emmer’s restrained and half-spoken delivery:
There’s an old man in the park
singing Alabama hymns when the lawn gets dark
Lonesome pilgrim, lonesome thinker
Sand bar baby and a heavy duty drinker
Oh, that rat race, he don’t run it
Slow livin’ buddy got no eye on the summit
I know you see him but will you walk
Turn your lucky back the moment he talks
The oft-repeated chorus – “how did you get the way that you are” has a strikingly duality, contemplating both the addict and those who turn away from the suffering.
Twangville is honored to premiere “When the Lawn Gets Dark”, the haunting new single from Alpine Coda.
This song is about compassion. I wrote it while on tour in South Carolina, and observed the fallout of addiction and poverty- people using in the street, passed out on highway medians. I’d seen this many times before, but for some reason, it cut deeper that day. I wondered what twists of fate or broken systems had brought them there. Everyone has a story. The song came quickly, but it’s a fragmented narrative at best, reflecting my own limited understanding of the forces at work. Sure, I could point fingers, but it seemed more fitting to paint the picture and simply ask: How?
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.