It ain’t Country unless we’re talking trains, or trucks, or prison, or momma, or getting’ drunk. Only Steve Goodman’s song “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” ever managed to cover them all in a single song, and if you’ve heard that song you’d probably agree with me that you probably can’t improve upon it.
So this song is about only one of these cornerstones: prison. More specifically, life after prison. Or even more specifically, life after prison for someone who elected to leave early.
We live in the age of Twitter and Google, where everything we say and do is recorded, for easy access, for the rest of our lives. Unlike earlier generations, we all have to face the possibility that some foolish (and/or downright wrong) action of our past lives will follow us forever. It’s something that politicians and famous people have had to deal with for some time now, but modern technology is now bringing the phenomenon to the masses. Rather than singing about someone’s heartbreak over an ill-conceived tweet, I decided to stick to the somewhat more romantic image of the fugitive: the person living among us who is secretly hiding from his or her past.
The inspiration for this song were some classics such as “Cocaine Blues” and “Mamma Tried”. I wanted to do a song that was a little more powerful, with a strong kick-drum and a bass riff that hopefully gives it the hook it needs. And oh, yeah, how can you go wrong with banjitar as your lead instrument?
It is said that “good artists borrow, great artists steal”, so in an attempt to be a great artist, I stole the name of the character (“Willie Lee”) from Cocaine Blues, the line “You don’t know me but you don’t like me” from Streets of Bakersfield, and the line “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” from Solomon (Proverbs 23:7).
Hope you like it.