I don’t have a bad attitude but wanted to do a rock album. I chose the theme of cars and driving. It seemed sufficiently rock’n’roll.

The electric guitar used on this album was paid for by mowing lawns before some of you were born. That’s how long I’ve dreamed of playing shredding guitar solos!

Drums are done using digital loops from Apple’s Jam Packs. Everything else is me and a microphone or analog-to-digital input.

Track Notes

1) “Wide Awake”
– The mileage to Headingley is accurate. The drive takes 14 hours and has less than 10 turns. Lyrics below.

Late at night
Peering into darkness
Another mile the same as
All other 800 miles I drove today

(Headingley. Right turn.)

Edmonton all the way to Steinbach
Another hour to go
But I could keep on driving till morning
Though I started break of day

Who stopped in Yorkton for coffee?
It was a 16 ounce
Who’s got the window wide open?
Who’s got this song in the car?
Turned up loud!

Darker now
And the car is colder
My girl is fast asleep
She nodded off but that’s okay since
I am wide awake!

Who stopped in Portage for coffee?
It was a 16 ounce
Who’s got the window wide open?
Who’s got this song in their head?
Turned up loud!

I am wide awake, baby!
Wide Awake!
I am wide awake baby!
Wide Awake!

2) “That Chick Can Drive” – I screamed for 2 hours trying to make this rock, then had a sore throat for days. Lesson learned: write in songs a different key.

Driving right through the pouring rain
That woman might stop for a hurricane;
Pops down to 3rd passing some old turd
If she needs to get down to the greenhouse on time.

That car speeds up on amber
Squeals tires when the light turns green
Rounds turns like the trunk’s on fire
Making that straight four scream

That Chick Can Drive
That Chick Can Drive

Sometimes when I’m late for choir
That woman burns gas like a house on fire
Flips on her shades, hair pulled back
And there ain’t nobody getting in her way

That car speeds up on amber
Squeals tires when the light turns green
Rounds corners like the trunk’s on fire
Making that straight four scream

That Chick Can Drive
That Chick Can Drive

3) “I Love You, Gasoline” – Rock albums need at least one unplugged contrast piece. This album has two.

For $1.30 a gallon, back in time
I’d pay the attendant, and you were mine

When we drove through the prairie
and we saw the flax fields bloom
When we drove through the mountains
you lifted us up into the sky

You give such motion to these wheels
You blow up in the motor & my tires peel

When we drove through the city
to the short-cut, to the drive through
When we drove through the parking lot
you swung the back end round and round and round

I’m not crazy about where you come from
I’m not high on what you leave behind
I may be happy where I am right now,
But I love how fast you take me somewhere else

20 years later & many miles
We’ve had good times, there’s no denial

For $1.30 a litre, here in time
I swipe my card, and you are mine

4) “Turn Up the Volume” – My first attempt at double-tracked rhythm guitar.

This car is very loud
and there’s a good song on the radio
I just wanna listen to this song
but this car’s got so much noise
so I turn up the volume.

5) “Winter Morning” – If it sounds like I’m crying and this confuses you, you haven’t lived through 30 prairie winters. Lyrics below.

I awake and go outside
The dawn’s first light
Driveway silent

Minus 38 degrees
The battery’s charged
I sure hope that thing starts today

If I breathe, the windows cake
The seat’s rock hard
The gearshift’s too cold to rest my hand

Why on earth do I live here?
Why not move down south,
And never freeze off my face again?

The heat starts to blow
But my feet, they are still freezing

My seat still is too cold

6) “The Beast of Land and Sky” – This song is about the family station wagon when I was learning to drive.

The style I’m going for is apocalyptic evil metal usually reserved for some dystopian epic narrative. This album is about cars, so I made the song about one beast instead of another.

If this isn’t proof that audio engineering is harder than I thought, I don’t know what is. 🙂

In elder days there was a beast
twas made of iron and wood
It roared and passed all other cars
eight demons ‘neath the hood

There was no speed it could not reach
no bog it could not rent
it would not rest at day or night
though other cars were spent.

      It was The Beast of Land and Sky
      Its donuts perfect every time
      With mighty name of “Malibu”
      It tore the Earth. It pushed blue.

      It was The Beast of Land and Sky!

This beast was not just Lord of Earth
It jumped upon command.
It’s first flight East of Bothwell,
no ‘rents could understand.

It roared through the air and shook the
ground on which it landed.
It made the prairies flatter than
Lake Agassiz itself could.

Auto mirum spargens sonum (The car will send forth its wondrous sound)

Its wake when pounding puddles
Gave the Trident holder fright.
The gust of wind when it did pass:
electric dynamite.

The beating of its fiery heart
rang clear across the plain.
When taking off from stand-still
Only Rubber would remain

Lux aeterna luceat auto (Light eternal shine on auto)

Transition to car afterlife was
nowhere in its plans.
When its replacement filled garage,
it would not yield its place.

It only growled louder.
Its smoke plumes grew in size.
It drank the gas more wildly.
Odograph stopped counting miles.

Malibu, it would not die,
long years of death watch thwarted.
It was not given parts or care,
yet still it soldiered on.

From whence came its direction?
Without, or from within?
Hath it a mind of metal?
Hath it neurons of tin?

Insanity was in its lights
Its whistle loud and clear
Some brave ones looked on with delight
while fair folk hid in fear

Known by many names, it was,
This Beast of Land and Sky.
But on its heart was stamped in steel:
the number 305.