Andrew Cashen Back in TexasWhat I Do Now Next? Chop Wood?

By Jay Armstrong

Kerouacian in the finest most brilliant sense, “Frank Sinatra’s Yacht” reads somewhere between coming down out of the mountain in Desolation Angels and saying goodbye to the mice in Big Sur; every line, every note owning us as Andrew Cashen (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit) cries out to eternity, “what I do now next? Chop wood?.”

Late nights when the neon chanted ohms take in breath, when the fog of contemplation mists through cracks in conversation, hinted just below the sighs, a weighted cloud, ominous, ever-present, telepathic, exists. Our cosmic beings defeated before the nothing and no reason of existence. Existential truths we have burned madly to avoid tap us on the shoulder breaking us in the moment. Those of us taking Jung’s advice in full stride, “had they kept nothing back, all that wanted to catch fire would have been consumed, and the quiet of old age would be very welcome to them” come out on the other side of ten years believing the passion and sacrifice of sediment never settling of wild times in a wild life must have been worth it through the consoling rhetorical, “what else could I have done?” We close the lid each night in this velvet coffin knowing the price must have been worth it. Now what though? Why do I feel so lost in it? How do these numbed nerve endings of our souls not feel fulfilled? Moments pass knowing we MUST DO SOMETHING but what? NOW!

Pressing play on this first Andrew Cashen solo track, the Austin of here and now blasts me to the floor. This weight is a bit much to carry but the open absolute honesty of it all is far too beautiful for turning down better yet off. I cannot shake the long nights with anchored heart friends which turns the vantage point we look out from in this cocoon we love in all its ideological optimistic hope to face the mirror of time in asking what was it for and what is next. Who are we? Why is progress so definite? Nostalgia grows pointless fast. While those giving up would look back, we find ourselves longingly looking inward wondering where did this void come from and how does one heal it? Is it me? I see the question stealing the good times from the faces of those I love and want to scream “IT IS NOT” with such force the gods themselves turn to back me up.

The feeling may have been inevitable but nowhere as bleak and permanent as it seems. The bottom when hit buries us always as if it were the final destination. The sun also rises. Summer will return once more and we will look back feeling alive as though low could never happen again in denial of the cycle going on ad infinitum for the rest of our lives. Even in a life such as Cashen’s where to spectators it might seem the highs of successfully making a permanent importance to the all through that which he creates should seem sustaining, we must not forget how much the counter must feel when those ineffectual dark days come around. The circle cannot be broken. This song pointedly reminds us how true this truth of time remains to be.

Frank Sinatra’s Yacht” is one of the powerful ones to take us as listener out of the equation; someday after many listens we will hear our voice aligning his but with the first few it is solely about Cashen’s experience. Despite the personal nature, the weight this song carries is awe and wow and forever; absolute beauty in the deepest sense. For all my love towards A Giant Dog and Sweet Spirit there is an importance to this direction for Cashen–whether his solo album Back in Texas (Nine Mile Records) is momentary as a side or a career move for the future, one can only speculate. Certainly this record carries significance in personal escapist release for Cashen and will meet the ears of an eager waiting audience in need of what he is pouring out; you cannot lead with this song and have any other result.

When sitting down to write this review my plan was to type out the lyrics and walk away; obviously things spun out a bit between then and now. The words do though speak far more eloquently of the sentiment than I ever could attempt so let us leave with that.  Someone give the dude a hug, he fucking needs and deserves it!

I don’t know how I got here
I Don’t know how I’m gonna leave
there’s no one to impress here
and nothing to achieve
I think I need some good vibrations
Somewhere besides my mind
let’s take a strange vacation
a destination to unwind
Please don’t take me away from here
lost in ever changing atmosphere

I don’t know how I got here
I Don’t know how I’m gonna leave
there’s no one to impress here
and nothing to achieve
I think I need some good vibrations
Somewhere besides my mind
let’s take a strange vacation
a destination to unwind
loaded feeling for the nearest switch
lightning guiding blinding eyes bewitched

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