Release Date: 8/09

Album: GO WEST






Standing in Chicago when I got the call
Someone said they saw you smile
Then they saw you fall
Halfway through Ludlow before I felt it well

We were raised with transparent walls
That kept us from the world
Swung the bat to cause a crack
With religion, or with a girl
You were my responsibility
And that's the irony on which I dwell
And so I bummed out the Clientele

Two people headed west
As they are wont to do
With things to find and leave behind
Like me and you
No fear, no clue

Standing in Chicago
The midpoint of east and west
That's as far as either of us got
Maybe that's for the best
You thought you'd found your place
I guess we'll never know

We used to stare through telescopes
When we were kids
Were we the life on other planets?
I hope I get closer than you did:
Standing backward, walking forward
2,000 miles to go
Passing strange and walking slow

Two people headed west
Like siblings often do
With things to find and leave behind
Like me and you
This is their story
This is our story too


Adam - vocal, Wurlitzer electric piano, synthesizer, bass
Teresa Cowles - bass
Eric Summer - viola

Adam sez:

We all remember where we were when someone important to us dies. When my brother Stephen passed away suddenly from a heart attack, I was in Chicago on the long and grueling tour that following DAYLIGHT KISSING NIGHT. I was just about to go onstage and missed my cell phone. I went out to my car to retrieve it, got the terse message from my other brother notifying me, and staggered back into the club. I was onstage five minutes later, having a great deal of trouble keeping it together. I had a regular intro I did to the show, starting into "Ludlow 6:18," a song about trying to find your home and place in the world and only touching it fleetingly. I thought of how that was my brother's fate even more than my own, and I was a bawling mess by the time I got through the song.

I was well into recording GO WEST before I figured out how to incorporate my brother's experience, and what it felt like to lose him, into the whole theme of the album, which is basically about trying to find your way in the world and continually getting lost. I wanted to tie all that together and at the same time introduce the concepts of the album in a way that people would understand it without sounding like I was forcing the issue.

That was as far as I'd gotten with it when Eric Summer from Get Set Go had come in to record an awesome viola part to the song "Go West." It went so quickly, and the viola had recorded so well, that I asked him if he'd be willing to play on something else. He said sure, but it didn't really fit any of the tracks we already had. So he went out to smoke a cigarette and I, under pressure to come up with something quickly, pulled together the chord progressions for this song on the Wurlitzer and recorded the track in about 10 minutes. Eric then busked over it and, as happened often with GO WEST, it sounded perfect without having tried very hard.

The words came as quickly and when I started them, I resisted them. This wasn't really a pop song per se -- the cadence of the lyrics and the production style is actually closer to hip-hop or something Beck would do -- but they came straight from the gut and I just had to get out of the way. I knew I'd gotten the feel of the vocal right immediately and I didn't mess with it, in fact I think I only did two takes of the whole thing. It had originally been planned as just a short intro song but it came together so well that it felt too insubtantial, so I lengthened the track to more of a normal song length.

The simple, quarter-note bass track was a challenge to record because, except for the drum pattern on the chorus, it's the only time on the song and it had to be perfect. I had originally tracked the bass but then brought in Teresa to re-do it and she had almost as much trouble with it. It wound up getting pretty heavily edited because it had to have precise's almost like a drum machine on the track.

Return to "Lyrics and Stories" Main Page

Return Home