Julian Talamantez Brolaski just released a new album called "It's Okay Honey." To celebrate, Julian tells us about the song "Goin to Nashville." Here is the story:
"Goin to Nashville" is the story of a singer who dreams of going to Nashville to become a country musician ("I'm goin to Nashville, gonna be a star / And when they ask me just what I are / I'll say I'm a country singer, a writer and a rambler"). The song is "partly truth and partly fiction" as Kris Kristofferson says in "The Pilgrim" ["He's a poet, he's a picker / He's a prophet, he's a pusher / He's a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he's stoned / He's a walkin contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction, / Takin ev'ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home." (Kris Kristofferson)]
There was a moment where I was living in Queens and deciding between moving to Nashville and coming to Santa Barbara to help my grandmother work on her book on Apache ceremony. I decided on Santa Barbara-it was the right thing to do for me at the time, and I'm glad I did it. But I do harbor dreams about Nashville like any country singer.
The song's a little bit hyperbolic and over the top (like in the rhyme of "gonna be a star" and "just what I are"). It has both a western cowboy and honky tonk flavor, like Austin (or the West) meets Nashville. Musically, the song is the most experimental on the album. The song moves between 2/4, 4/4, and 3/4 or waltz time. There is also a "rubato" or free-time part, where the music gets almost psychedelic, like a dream state, with a lot of ambient pedal steel and some weird distorted bass harmonica that almost sounds like a didgeridoo.
The singer contemplates their past and the places they've rambled. And then comes back again to the chorus-this desire to be a country star in Nashville. The song solidifies in focus with the choruses, both emotionally and musically, with increasing swagger and bravado. The song ends with the drums kicking in and some lap steel flourishes as it fades out, with a feeling of riding off into the sunset.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself below and learn more about the album here