Cosmic American Music


Slightly OT for a Monday, but I thought of Lucinda Williams's "Drunken Angel" when reading this review of David Meyer, Twenty Thousand Roads: The Ballad of Gram Parsons and his Cosmic American Music. As the review expresses, Gram’s work brought together “the sex of rock and the pain of country.” Physically attractive and immensely gifted, Parsons was a visionary. Gram preached the gospel of what he called Cosmic American Music, “a holy intersection of unpolished American expression: gospel, soul, folk, Appalachia, R&B, country, bluegrass, blues, rockabilly, and honky-tonk.”

That's the intersection where some soul food and some transcendence get served. It always seems to come at a cost for sacrificial lambs and drunken angels who give out at the extremes so the self-contained can see something beyond, just for a second.

These lyrics from L. Williams aren't about Parsons, but could have been, or about those who chase visceral religious experience in music:

Followers would cling to you
Hang around just to meet you
Some threw roses at your feet
And watch you pass out on the street, Drunken Angel
Feed you and pay off all your debts
Kiss your brow taste your sweat
Write about your soul your guts
Criticize you and wish you luck, Drunken Angel
Drunken Angel, You're on the other side

Some kind of savior singing the blues
A derelict in your duct tape shoes
Your orphan clothes and your long dark hair
Looking like you didn't care
Druken Angel
Blood spilled out from the hole in your heart
Over the strings of your guitar
The worn down places in the wood
That once made you feel so good
Drunken Angel

Now, back to correcting semi-colon usage on papers . . .