Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Tune: "Yours Truly, the Commuter" by Jason Lytle

Nobody likes to work (and if you do, you're either a nymphomanic prostitute or the senior taste-tester at the lollipop factory).  But what's worse than working?  Driving to work every day, the same tire treads digging a monotonous rut on your morning and evening commutes.

If you have to drive, then I suggest plugging in Jason Lytle.  He'll make the route fun to traverse.  The title track from his first solo album, Yours Truly, the Commuter, never fails to make me start tapping the steering wheel right from the start:
Last thing I heard, I was left for dead.
Well, I could give two shits about what they said.
I may be limping, but I'm coming home.
All work and no play might have done me in.
Lytle was the principal singer and songwriter for the band Grandaddy until he got tired of touring and gave up the band life up for a solo career.  His biography on this Anti Records page documents the flame-out:
If Jason Lytle learned anything from nearly 15 years at the helm of Grandaddy--the Modesto, California quintet whose celebrated five-album run started as a project in Lytle's bedroom and took him around the world--it's that he's just not cut out to be a 21st-century pop star.  There were triumphs, no doubt--they toured the world, created a technological dystopian classic with 2000's The Sophtware Slump, shared stages with Elliott Smith, and talked shop with David Bowie when he turned up at their shows.  But Lytle was a poor fit for life in a breakthrough indie rock franchise.  Touring was endured more than enjoyed, and he often found himself wishing he was biking or skateboarding, staring into hiking magazines while the band was trapped in the cycle of sitting on cigarette-stained couches, filling sweaty clubs, and hauling ass to a new city every night.  By the time he was writing 2006's Just Like the Fambly Cat, he knew it was over, that the machine had simply lost its momentum, its gears too clogged with years of frustration, substance abuse, and diminishing returns.  His choice became clear: he needed to go somewhere else and start over completely.  He needed to go to Montana.

Like all sensible people (myself included), he limped home to Big Sky Country.  Now he lives less than two hours away from me, just over Homestake Pass and across a stretch of ranchland.  The mountains and clean air have cleared his head and his lyrics are sharper than ever.  Judging by the spring in the step of this song, it isn't hard work at all.  In fact, it sounds like he's taking a day off and keeping it to himself.  If it weren't for the necessity of a paycheck, I would be, too.

(Click on the YouTube icon for a larger video)

If you would like to purchase "Yours Truly, the Commuter" from Amazon, CLICK HERE.

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