One year ago, to the day - adding a day, Counting Crows visited Maquoketa, Iowa, for our Barn on the 4th show at Codfish Hollow. It was a day constructed out of the most oppressive weather imaginable and yet, what came of it that night, was nothing short of epic. Filled with almost 700 people, this old barn, in the middle of heartland America, proceeded to roast its visitors. A light show made for an arena didn't cool things down and the Counting Crows, Field Report, Foreign Fields, Filligar and Dave Godowsky accomplished - some of them in suits, ties, dress shirts and long pants - was improbable. It shouldn't have happened. Everyone should have passed out and woke up on the other side, drained of all energy, exhausted by the 100-plus temperatures and dried out of anything that keeps them upright. Rather than avoid the bullish heat and humidity, the Counting Crows played the most exceptional set of their career, taking no breathers, never even walking off the stage until over three full hours had passed. They closed the night with a group sing-a-long, performing the entirety of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Our Land." It's hard not to think about that night and Crows lead singer, Adam Duritz, emphasizing that if you hadn't actually listened to the whole song, and paid attention to the lyrics, that you were missing out.
A year later, sitting on a patio, looking out at a bustling lake, on a summer day fitted with a constant, cooling breeze and meant for a sweet memory, it's easy to be amazed at almost everything. Duritz and the Counting Crows have been writing songs about sadness, amazement and the amazing parts to both sadness and happiness since they started. It's no wonder that they helped put into context an Independence Day that will never be forgotten. We know that they felt the same way. This session, recorded the day before that 4th of July show, happened in just as nasty of conditions, in our Rock Island studio with feeble wall-mounted air conditioning units. When Duritz sings, "You're not getting any younger/But what I know is that you're not really very old," it feels like the way we should be reminded of our mortality and the ways we have to still sweat and play and love and be happy and be sad and carry on every single day. Last July 4th was this kind of reminder.
The lyrics to "This Land Is Your Land"
"This land is your landThis land is my landFrom California to the New York island; From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and Me.As I was walking that ribbon of highway, I saw above me that endless skyway: I saw below me that golden valley: This land was made for you and me.I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts; And all around me a voice was sounding: This land was made for you and me.When the sun came shining, and I was strolling, And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling, As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting: This land was made for you and me.As I went walking I saw a sign there And on the sign it said "No Trespassing." But on the other side it didn't say nothing, That side was made for you and me.In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, By the relief office I seen my people; As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking Is this land made for you and me?Nobody living can ever stop me, As I go walking that freedom highway; Nobody living can ever make me turn back This land was made for you and me."
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