IMAGE // VIA Alexandra Valenti

I was thinking about On The Road yesterday, reading all the early reviews of the film, which are all over the place. Oh Reader, did you ever read that book?

Let’s be honest: It’s not perfect. It’s more then a little misogynistic. But man, did that story burrow its way inside me.  And at age 20, no less. Shortly after I read it, I took a road trip with my boyfriend and his buddies up to Alabama to visit the hot springs, and while so much of that trip is a blur, I remember hiking up to the top of this mountain (okay, foothill), where we discovered this tiny lake at the top. My boyfriend was moody, but he had his moments. He screamed, “SUUUPERMAAAN!” while tearing off his shirt and launching himself into the water, frightening all the proximate wildlife. After he passed away years later, I meant to tell his sister about that moment, but always forgot — so, hopefully by writing it down here, I’ll actually remember.

Anyway, during that trip and for months afterward, my boyfriend got Iron & Wine’s first CD stuck in his car stereo. Henceforth, I memorized several of the songs. “Upward Over the Mountain” is a song for sleeping, “Lion’s Mane” is for rolling down the window, “Faded From the Winter” is for making up. It’s forever known to me as a driving album, and I’m always looking for driving albums now, whole CDs that don’t require me to skip around around with songs. Ross and my friend Jason are in a band together, and I started carrying around their album recordings before their new record was finished. “But it’s not mastered!!!” they would cry indignantly. I didn’t care. I would play them anyway.

(PS: This is mastered.)

This song, “Valentin,” is about a trip Jason took with his sister to Guatemala, and a Spanish class they took together in a small hut. It was in a slice of jungle where a war had taken place, and the lights kept going out. To me, it sounds haunting and shimmery.

Here’s another one (also mastered, for the record): “B-12.” This is a love song, a group love song, best sung in a car, best sung if  you’ve packed at least five individuals in said car, and best belted out through a sun roof. (Although for now, I just have to imagine the sun roof.)

These are “sneak listens” off The Lennings’ new album, releasing later this year. They will play these songs and more this Saturday with Delta Rae.

If you are there, come find me!