After a year of reading and research, I was finally prepared. A hefty stack of photocopies, notes and books collected on the table. From these I patched together the working outline of what would become Jack Straw. The moment had come. It was now I, my laptop and MS Word. But, I couldn’t face this alone and as for practically every moment of my life, I knew I could rely on a faithful companion to tease this muse forth: Music.
Of course I had given this some forethought and I turned to Neil Young and his guitar to stretch the torch forward and lead the way. The album that was on constant rotation during the drafting of the first two chapters was the album, Dead Man. The soundtrack to the Jim Jarmusch film of the same name.
The album is essentially instrumental with clips of the film blending the tracks together. Neil wrote and recorded the music while watching the film. Dead Man, is a western. Often called a “Psychedelic Western”, the film is often cited as the finest example of the post-modern Western.
Jack Straw and Dead Man grow from the same Earth. And if one were to put his ear to the land, Neil Young’s brilliant score would sink into their skull.
Listening to Guitar Solo. No. 5 and reading of the first lines of the 2nd Chapter will put the reader into that world.
Neil Young – Guitar Solo, No. 5
Splinters of light dwarfed the distant framework of peaks. Beams of Sun exploded over ancient crags. Jack and Shannon sat and gazed at this sight. Jack rested his chin upon his closed fist and he leaned into a stiff wind the train began to carry. Shannon pointed out toward the playa, where veins of light reflected off what was left of the alkaline lake. Passing the clay and saltbush, the train shook the birds foraging in that waste. Birds sprinkled into the sky and dispersed down again over the playa. Jack closed his eyes and felt wind over his nose. His lids opened slowly to find dusk impeding the country. The steam whistle blew.
Brian Nann. Jack Straw
In fact, Guitar Solo, No. 5 is about 15 minutes long. A reading of Chapter 2 while listening will take you in and out of Steins, NM along with Jack and Shannon. It’s one hell of a ride.
Read Jack Straw and then watch Dead Man.