3 Songs From the Avenues Video Archive

It’s been hanging over my head for about five years now to edit down the archives of live Avenues video and place them on a digital format so I can share them with, well, the other 4 guys from the band. Slowly but surely I’m getting to it — I have the raw files imported and separated, and now I’m just sorting through them.

The majority of video comes from our EP Release / Farewell Show from February of 2005 — a show memorable for many reasons (it was our likely our best, drums were caught on fire, Hulk Hands, Crocodile Rock, secret t-shirts…).  Here are the first two songs from that show.

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Avenues Rarity — “All The King’s Men”

Sorting back through the music library today for Christmas music, I found myself scrolling through the Avenues outtake library (specifically, to find the Avenues Christmas Epic — “Merry Christmas, Donkey Babies.”  It’s a long story.) Anyhow, in the process I stumbled across this little recording of “All the King’s Men.” Had almost forgotten about this one — I think this is the only recording we have with vocals, done with myself and Dan and Kevin Honnoll in Ocean Way studios right around the time Kevin and I were finishing our last semester at Belmont, spring of 2003.

By the time this recording was made, I think the song was well over a year old. I remember that I was listening to Dylan’s “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” about twice a day every day (still one of my favorite songs) while I was writing the lyrics/melody, so this worked its way into being an homage of sorts.

If recollection serves me right we played this live twice, and the live version had drums in the chorus, lap steel, and Kevin played mandolin on the verses, and I remember how ridiculous he looked holding that tiny mandolin sitting on his drum stool.  Still, wish I could remember what it sounded like with everything.

Avenues — All the King’s Men

Rediscovering Old Work

Going back through some old work today for a point of reference on some new writing I’m doing. I’m stumbling across things I have little to no recollection of writing.

In late 2003, Avenues were working on what would eventually become our EP, These Years Come To Rest. I had a very vivid idea of what I wanted our next recorded work to be about, and this came from a very real and personal place, but I struggled more than I would have liked in the actual writing of that concept. I’ve got pages upon pages of freewriting– hours spent blankly scrawling whatever came to mind. Looking back today, I’m surprised to see how effective this practice was — even writing “nonsense” with no self-editing, in retrospect, was laying all the concepts out on the table. I had more than enough material here to seam together a complete narrative.

The piece below is the most surprising to me — it’s almost structured enough that I’d consider it a finished work, and a pretty succinct summary of exactly what was going on in my head in those days immediately after graduating college. It’s a bit stream of consciousness (typically not my thing), but I guess that’s kind of the point here.

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November Eighteenth Two Thousand Three. A Crisis of Beliefs.

I looked back. everything was close to me. interstate lines and hotel rooms. a morning met too soon. I set things down, couldn’t keep them in. a flood that sweeps from within. There’s light in a window miles away. you are there, I think. shifting light without me. I knew the first day. things would end this way. salt and sea. we’d drift apart. I believed. the bus stop. your last request. words secular and sweet seeping from my breath. my fingers trace. every word refers to you.

this might have been what I wanted. a hundred nights. a river wide. a parting scene. parked cars and gasoline. I waited for something to come, something to stalk up from behind and take me. something to mean. anything to believe. something that gives. a silent ending to relive. a year to regret.

I looked back. I didn’t breathe. you still hold a part of me. you still hold a part of me. you still hold a part of me. a hotel room, a night or two. eleven hundred days full of you.