He Takes the Train is the last song on the album Gravedigger’s Boy. The first song, California Zephyr was also a train song. This is it’s matching bookend. The whole record is a train sandwich.
I thought I was finished with the record at Bring You Home. But then I wrote this and played it for Sabrina, and we figured it had to be included. I busted it out in an afternoon with my co producer, master-of-the-machines, Christopher Krotky. He owns Soundwire Studios in Fairfax. I love that guy. You should record there.
My songwriting buddy Scott Taylor from Oklahoma, does a bang up cover of this song. My favorite cowboy is a reverend. My favorite reverend is a cowboy. Both those guys are Scott Taylor.
This song is about my son Nate. A couple of minor details are conjured from thin air, but the rest is all him. He’s always loved taking the train. He had recently left home by train to go to college in Washington. We were missing him big time, and this song popped out easy as pie. Sometimes they come lucky that way.
Nate is our oldest son. We have another son, his little brother Matthew. It rankles me a little to have a song about one son and not have one about the other. My muse tells me not to rush these things, but I’m getting impatient. Matthew is equally song worthy. I’ve been working on it.
If Nate is my Train nut, Matthew is my beer nut. We are in a golden age of brewing, and Mathew has developed a deep appreciation for high class swamp water. While he was nursing this taste for the finer things, it grew more and more difficult to keep the fridge stocked sufficiently to meet my own meager needs. This prompted a song for Matthew that is still fermenting.; a cry-in-yer-beer tune inspired by the bitter disappointment of opening the refrigerator door. It’s called “Every Beer Disappears (Whenever I’m With You).
I think that one of the reasons that I’ve had a hard time finishing this tune is because He’s Take The Train has a heartfelt, tear-jerky sentimental moment in the third verse, and no such moment has bubbled up in Matthew’s song.
I can picture a time down the road where Matthew might say, “Hey, where’s MY tear-jerky sentimental moment???” To which Nate would probably respond with, “Hey, where’s MY beer???” I can answer that for you Nate. Matthew drank it.