New Orleans-based blues-roots-rock quintet Honey Island Swamp Band, just released their sixth studio album, "Custom Deluxe", to celebrate we asked frontman, producer and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Wilkinson to tell us about the track "Gone". Here is the story:
I started writing this while driving our bus home to New Orleans overnight from somewhere we were playing up north. The chorus came to me first, and it was actually inspired by the harmonies in one of those old love songs from early 1950's rock and roll. The bus is the "ghost of glass and steel" in the first line. The sun was coming up as we crossed from Tennessee into Georgia; I changed that into sunset for the song.
The rest kind of wrote itself. A lot is autobiographical - I spent a lot of years as a carpenter, so that's where the "I can swing a hammer, I can drive a nail" lines come from. And then the last verse is explicitly about the life of a travelling musician - the spotlight of the stage versus the isolation of constant travel.
I love the video for that reason - some of it was taken recently, at various locations on tour in the US and Europe. But other parts were compiled from old archival videos or even cell phone footage. So it really captures a lot of the journey we've been on all this time.
I suppose it's one of our more autobiographical songs - just about all the years spent on the road. It's about being gone not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. And implicitly about the toll that takes on relationships and the rest of your life.
But there's a reward to all that sacrifice, and I hope some of that shines through in the video too. It's a great look back to some of the amazing places we've been over the years. We've been lucky and we feel blessed to have been at it this long.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here