There’s no shortage of great music being made in Texas, by Texans: from slide guitars to 808s, from accordians to distortion pedals, the tapestry of Texas includes the traditions of George Strait, Pantera, UGK, At the Drive-In, and Freddy Fender. Today’s burgeoning artists are tomorrow’s legends, and on the Daily Post’s song premieres, artists explain why their latest tracks are worthy of your time and attention.
This week, Austin’s folk-punk trio I Am The Albatross bring us “The Weed,” the newest song from their album, Lonesome Son, out Friday. Singer and guitarist Jesse Berkowitz and drummer Marc Henry answer our questionnaire below.
Can you walk us through the songwriting process on this song?
Jesse Berkowitz: Some people like things natural and simple, they don’t mind if their yards or their neighbors’ yards are overgrown. This song was born from that thought. It was written mostly while walking around Austin, looking at the many different ways people like to live.
Constant change and growth is inevitable, but it can be hard on people who like things fine the way they are. This song is all based around that idea.
Marc Henry: Most times Jesse will hammer out his guitar parts and lyrics himself before bringing the song to the rest of us, at which point we’ll write parts around what he’s got down already, expand a bit, and work together on some arranging and rearranging. Until it feels just right.
When did you know that this song was finished?
Marc Henry: I suppose it wasn’t finished until we recorded it. A song is hardly ever finished, it’s live form is changing from the minute you call it “done” to the minute you stop playing it all together, if that day ever comes.
Jesse Berkowitz: Eventually it was clear that the story was fully told, and there was nowhere left to go without turning back. Had to move forward into the next story, the next song. Yeah, a song is probably never really done but you have to let it out into the world at some point, you have to let it go.
Is this the best song you’ve ever written?
Marc Henry: Of course it is! Each new song feels like “the best work we’ve ever done”… Until we start writing the next record, which can be a great way to go about writing, constantly trying to one-up ourselves and be better than everyone else.
Jesse Berkowitz: I think since the recording of this album we’ve already started to write better songs. So, no.
What do you think people should be doing while they listen to this song?
Jesse Berkowitz: Walking alone, out to the edge of town.
Marc Henry: Driving through West Texas, using the song — and the album — as the soundtrack for the desert. Jesse grew up in Silver City, New Mexico, a town sandwiched between the desert and the Rockies. I think a lot of our music reflects that balance of desolate but beautiful landscape. Windows down, just hitting the open road, I think Lonesome Son fits the moment.
If you had to compare this song to a food, what food would that be?
Marc Henry: A smoked brisket. All the intense flavors and the extensive time and hard work it takes to smoke a solid brisket, it’s right in line with a hard working band, and all the subtle intricacies that go into a song like “The Weed.”
(photo credit: Kimberly Jean)