This is cheating, I know. Today my creative energy has been pulled away from the holy anthology. Today I wrote a song.
It’s time for me to come clean. I’ve had ulterior motives all along. My hope was to dig deep enough into this old American music that my own songs would begin to come from that same hole. Maybe it’s presumptuous, that I could tap into the great American spirit from whence all classic folk songs come. But a boy’s got to try.
“Empty Ring” is part “My Bonny,” part “Ring of Fire,” part death-of-a-lover ballad. Close your eyes and tell me, honestly, if Lomax might have transcribed this song from a field recording back in the day. If so, I’ve achieved my hidden purpose. If not, I’ll keep trying.
Ten days to go, after all.