Long Desert Train
Long Desert Train comes from Jason Molina's mysterious Pyramid Electric Co. album. Pyramid was recorded in my home state of Nebraska. The Pyramid sessions were alluded to in the liner notes of the first, magnificent, Magnolia Electric Co album. When I finally got ahold of the record, it sounded like a revealing of Jason's private ghost, his muse. The songs are unfiltered, sung in a stream of consciousness, and ever so spare. The echoes dwell, the sadness hangs, and yet the command and poise in Jason's voice deftly guides his listener through haunted spaces.
"Long Desert Train" hit me hardest while driving late at night from Omaha to Lincoln back in 2004. I was on my way to record guitar at the studio where Pyramid was recorded. Something about the interstate lines, the purple-black haze of the night sky, and the rhythm of the tires compelled a sort of trance. I listened to the song a few times, and felt that swell my throat. I think I even circled the studio a couple times to let the song finish and sink in.
Covering "Long Desert Train" turned out to be quite a challenge. Jason's lyrics and delivery give a sense of eavesdropping on half a conversation, listening through the walls. The cadence is so wholly his, and so for this rendition, I had to submit to it. In doing so, I'll think of it as Jason guiding me through his terrain, taking me on that long night drive once again. I'll sing along this time, still with a swell in my throat.
Stephen Bartolomei April 2014
Long Desert Train from Pyramid Electric Co.
Performed and recorded by Stephen Bartolomei
Stephen Bartolomei is a singer/songwriter/record engineer originally from Omaha Nebraska. He currently resides in New York City. Stephen's most recent album, "All The Ghosts", was released as a limited edition vinyl LP earlier this year.