Perennials: 1 Band. 1 Year. 52 Songs. 12 Charities.
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This week's Perennial, May the Road Rise to Meet You, has been a long time coming…
The musical heart and soul of the tune dates back to the time of In Verses, our second record - we laid down the bedrock for it with the help of JSS engineering stalwarts Dan Wise and Rob Niederpruem. But, the song didn't make it onto the album because, even though we loved the music, we couldn't find lyrics to match the laid back, wide-open energy of the track.
The song went through more than a few lyrical incarnations in rewrites, and everybody but Sam (who drums on the track) took a shot at singing the lead vocal. Eventually (and by 'eventually' we literally mean a period of years, marked by not one, not two, but three failed hard drives that housed the sessions for the track) Walt finally nailed it.
Inspired by Sam's desire to blaze a trail in environmental law, Walt riffed lyrically on the traditional Celtic and Irish blessing/prayer of the same name, allowing the tune to fall into place as a love letter to a close friend (who just so happens to anchor the JSS rhythm section):
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
From Walt: 'When these lyrics were finalized, it was an emotional time for the group. I had hoped the lyrics would achieve a kind of multiplicity of purpose: a farewell to our beloved bandmate; a note for our active listeners that could frame the change for them; a kind of catharsis for us that the band will indeed play on while adequately mourning the loss; and a more generalized sense of all these ideas for a listener taking the song at face value and making their own meaning.'
For those of you keeping tabs, Sam is exactly 2 months away from finishing his law degree (go Sam!), and he also happens to be active as ever on the JSS drum throne - sweating and smashing away, as is his want.
So, finally, in the context of Perennials, we've been able to bring this one home. We love that. And while that is all well and good, what still matter most to us is this: We hope you dig this tune!