Ode to LRC

Today’s selection is the third song I’ve posted by Charleston, South Carolina, USA-based Band of Horses. (Please see my 2021 post on “Monsters” and 2020 writeup about “On My Way Back Home.”)

I’m not sure when I first heard “Ode to LRC,” but I Shazamed it the other day to catch the title after recognizing the vocals of bandleader Ben Bridwell. It’s a rocking number, with a wall of rhythmic guitars and a strong and toe-tapping beat—a very catchy song.

A listener annotated the lyrics on Genius.com recounting a story in the online database Jambase that tells of Bridwell having stayed at a place called the Little Red Caboose. In the song, he reflects on LRC guests’ journal writings in the 20 or more years before his stay.

“In the logbook of the LRC
Well I knew I’d find something
A hundred stories sitting there to read
I got my ‘focals out I put ’em on

And all is calm, all is calm

There’s a doggie coming here to eat now
Which dated back to 1993
I don’t care what the people say cause
That dog he don’t come around anymore

No, no the dog is gone, the dog is gone
The dog is gone, the dog is gone

The town is so small
How could anybody not
Look you in the eye
Or wave as you drive by

The world is such a wonderful place
The world is such a wonderful

I see everyone before me
There was birthdays, sex and sleep
Some weren’t getting along
Nobody’s outside trying to murder
Nobody’s outside, there’s no one really at all

What the hell I saw, the hell I saw
The hell I saw, the hell I saw

The town is so small
How could anybody not
Look me in the eyes
Or wave as I drive by

The world is such a wonderful place
The world is such a wonderful place
The world is such a wonderful place
The world is such a wonderful place

La da-dee-da-da
La da-dee-da-da”

“Ode to LRC, ”by Ben Bridwell, Creighton Barrett, Rob Hampton.
Unofficial lyrics courtesy of Genius.com.

I think Bridwell is making a commentary on modern society, how people often won’t take the time to greet those they pass by, especially if such folks are from somewhere else. Whether it’s people prejudging or being exclusive of foreigners, or just being wrapped up in their own lives, it obviously made an impression on Bridwell that no one looked him in the eye or waved to him. Maybe he just needed a friendly greeting that day, something that costs nothing but can mean everything to a lonely soul.

That part of the song reminds me of a habit my dad had, one I have written about here before, I’m sure. When I visited him and my mum, and we’d go to a store, he’d always smile and say hello to strangers. It made a profound impression on me, and I vowed to do the same as a remembrance to him after he died.

The greeting we give a stranger today might be the only warm human contact they have that day or for longer. What incredible power there is in such a gesture!

“Ode to LRC” comes from Band of Horses’ second album, Cease to Begin (2007), released around the time Bridwell moved the band from Seattle, Washington and three founding members left the band. While reading up on them again today, I see Band of Horses has a new album, Things Are Great, dropping later this month. I look forward to hearing it.

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the official audio for “Ode to LRC” from Band of Horses’ YouTube channel:

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