“Sloan River,” a tune that came to me almost exactly on this day in 2019, was finally released today. I say finally. Really, it was one of those rare ones that just came all at once, even pretty much the lyrics. If, back then, I was thinking like I am now, I would have chased it down and gotten it out then. I never thought it was the greatest thing in the world, although I did think it was interesting and organic, and I was impressed by the way it made me sing (really high, especially on the verses!), but what I mean by that is that it captured the mood of a moment in time very accurately and spontaneously, and I think it’s better to chase those down in the moment and get them out closer to when they are born. Maybe all of them should.
Another reason I think it’s good to get them out quickly, especially when you get the rare gift of the music and lyrics right there all at once, is that doing a million different demos sucks the soul out of you and makes what is exciting (making art!) suddenly not just a chore but a neuroses! And it nags at you! This little song, which again, I don’t think is anything special, has been nagging at me for the better part of two years! That’s just not healthy, either for the artist nor the art. I think what I’m looking for is that exact middle ground between rushing (as if it has to be out tomorrow) on the one hand versus procrastination on the other. That middle ground is a psychological state of acting, of progress, but within the bubble of calmness, relaxation. It’s a state that’s rewarding in and of itself, no matter what activity it is applied to.
I am proud I at least got it out though, and with each new release I feel like I’m learning more and getting better.
-Stephen Pickering, Little Rock. July 2021
Lyrics for "Sloan River": [Opens with four line chorus] Sloan River takes you down Sloan River makes you drown Sloan River takes you down Sloan River makes no sound I wanted to pay Pay my mistakes Tried to walk away But I could not escape [chorus first two lines only] I wanted to skate And walk away But memories of your face I could not erase [Chorus first two lines] I wanted to leave I wanted to find The lady of the lake Lady of your mind [Final Chorus full] 'Cuz Sloan River takes you down And Sloan River makes you drown That honey river will take you down That haunted river makes no sound.