On May 11th of 2017, I sat in a van from Denver to St Louis. The day before, I'd picked up a used copy of Train Dreams, the novella by Denis Johnson. I read it in one sitting, which I never do, and it blew my mind. Its beautiful, so simple and so profound, rough at the edges. It feels hard won, meditative. A still lake with a depth to the heart of the earth. I got to a guitar after staring out the windows at the prairies going by and mountains behind us and this song just fell out. Another rarity. For the next two weeks, I flipped back through the book again and again.
Then Denis Johnson died on May 24th of 2017.
We spent a lot of time at Portside Sound trying to create a world for this song to live in. It will be on the album we're nearly done with, but this stretch of time, May 11-24th, that felt surreal and profound a year ago, with thoughts of art and mortality and meaning flying fast, felt important to mark. So we're going to share this version of "Train Dreams" for that time. Thanks for listening. Thanks Denis Johnson.