Is this the way everyone’s life is? Neither a success nor disaster; something that just rolls along. Today I worked seven hours in the garden turning beds; the soil is clay heavy and tired; I’m digging in manure and compost and sand. While I work I think of friends in the city who have never owned a spade. I watch the dark earth heave up and collect on my boots. Then I think about the new collection of short stories by Diane Williams that I’m reading. Then I think about an upcoming trip to France and Germany that I don’t want to take. Then I think about my father who’s old now and mostly silent. All this stuff moving around inside my head. Come evening I sit down and listen to a Sun Ra record. Then, because it’s Sunday and I’m my father’s son, I play a few tracks from a gospel album by Ralph Stanley. Finally, thinking of my friends at Caught by the River, I randomly pull out a single from the shelves. I put it on and I’m in the Bronx, it’s 1980, and I’m thinking: what the hell is this record? I remember pestering the DJ until he told me: Funky Axe by Spaghetti Head. I thought he was joking; who calls their band Spaghetti Head? It took me a few years to find a copy. I was in Amsterdam looking through boxes of junk and I pulled it out and thought: damn, he wasn’t joking. It is called Spaghetti Head. It’s still, after all these years, a killer groove. And now I’m thinking: none of this makes any sense. No plan, no order. No connective tissue. The arbitrary bricks that make up the building of me. Is this the way everyone’s life is?
Jeb’s new record, Country Hustle, is out now. Buy a copy here.
Here’s his website and Twitter account.
Jeb’s Jukebox archive/Brand spanking new Spotify playlist