Salter Cane


Yesterday evening, Jessica and I found ourselves at the Pressure Point in Brighton for a concert. No, not to play a concert. This time we were there to enjoy the music-making of the excellent Okkervil River.

Actually, Chris was the one who originally bought the tickets for this gig, organised by Brighton’s mighty Gilded Palace of Sin, but his workload got in the way so he passed the tickets on to us (thanks, Chris).

The support act was a young singer/songwriter from New York called Jaymay. As soon as she started singing, Jessica and I both looked at each other and asked, Where do I know this from? The songs were really familiar. Had we heard her on the radio or TV? Had we played together at the same concert or festival? We racked our brains but we just couldn’t figure it out.

Once Jaymay had finished her set, Jessica had a chat with her and asked if she had played Brighton before. Yes, as it turns out, she played support to Cherry Ghost… which happened to be the last non-Salter Cane concert we had been to. The mystery was solved.

It’s a testament to the catchiness of Jaymay’s songs that they seemed so familiar on just the second listen. And, if proof were needed that all this gigging pays off, I purchased a copy of her album, Autumn Fallin’.

Okkervil River were, as expected, wonderful. It’s hard to believe that it’s four years since we saw them play in The Albert. There’s something Salter Cane-esque about some of their songs, especially the perfect mandolin-driven murder ballad, Westfall:

I’m surrounded, each doorway covered by at least twenty men.
And they’re going to take me and throw me in prison. I ain’t coming back again.
I ain’t coming back again.

When I was younger, handsomer and stronger, I felt like I could do anything.
But all of these people making all these faces didn’t seem like my kith and kin.
Didn’t seem like my kith and kin.

Colin Kincaid from the twelfth grade, I guess you could say he was my best friend.
He lived in a big tall house out on Westfall where we would hide when the rain rolled in.
Where we would hide when the rain rolled in.

We went out one night and took a flashlight, out with these two girls Colin knew from Kenwood Christian.
One was named Laurie, that’s what the story said next week in the Guardian.
Said next week in the Guardian.

And when I killed her it was so easy that I wanted to kill her again.
I got down on both of my knees and she ain’t coming back again.
She ain’t coming back again.

Now, with all these cameras focused on my face, you’d think they could see it through my skin.
They’re looking for evil, thinking they can trace it but evil don’t look like anything.
Evil don’t look like anything.
Evil don’t look like anything.
Evil don’t look like anything.