By: Thomas D. Mooney
Early last week, I caught up with Daniel Fluitt of Thrift Store Cowboys to discuss one of the band’s best tracks off their 2010 release “Light Fighter.”
“Bright Fire may get more of a response, but with “Nothing,” Fluitt dives deeper than before where he becoming more storyteller than singer. It’s by far, the band’s most minimal achievement to date. Amanda Shires’ fiddle dances effortlessly as Fluitt’s lines slowly sink in with the sad realization that you indeed have nothing.
And what’s maybe even more dismal, is the understanding that you have nothing to remind yourself of those preferable times.
You can check Daniel playing November 20 with Ivory & Ash and La Panza at the Meatlocker.
New Slang: So the song “Nothing,” it starts off with just you on acoustic guitar. And, it kind of builds up differently than a lot of the other tracks on “Light Fighter.” What was different about writing that song?
Daniel Fluitt: Well, that’s basically what the band brought in. I had written the song basically acoustic. And so, once we brought it to the band, we wanted that feeling of starting with nothing, building it up to the end, and then basically breaking it all back down. That was more of a “band-type” decision [to build it up as the song progressed].
NS: Even when it builds up though, everyone is so subtle and softer compared to other tracks.
DF: Right, it is. Everyone is just building on each other and it does sound full. But, when you take it all apart and look at everything individually, it is really pretty simple stuff.
NS: Where were you when you were written “Nothing?”
DF: I was actually in Denton at Rodney Parker’s house. I had gone out there to just do some songwriting with him. We had ended up mainly just getting drunk [laughs]. But, he was out doing something and I was at his house by myself. It is actually two songs. I had written half of it earlier. And then I did this other half and when I put them together, it made perfect sense. It’s kind of weird like that. That’s kind of why it has two different types of verses and two different types of choruses. Same idea, but just written about a month apart from each other.
NS: I know you said that second part you wrote in Denton, but is that also where you decided to put those two songs together or did that come much later?
DF: It was basically right after I wrote that second part. Right after, I had remembered I had it and just ripped out that page from the notebook and put it next to that and started messing around with putting them together that day.
NS: How long ago did you write it?
DF: I guess it was about three years ago…three or four years ago. I can’t remember for sure, but I’m thinking it was 2008.
NS: What’s the story behind the lyrics? Were you writing with anyone in particular in mind or anything?
DF: It’s based off a true story, actually. Out here in the 1880s, there was a group of Buffalo Soldiers stationed outside of Tahoka. And the Comanches had come and were raiding on a settlement around there so the Buffalo Soldiers were sent out after the Comanches. You know, back then it was all grassland. The Comanches were smart enough that they recognized little landmarks and things so they knew where they were at. Well the Buffalo Soldiers were just wandering around looking for them. And then eventually were just completely lost and were just wanting to find their way back home. They were wandering around in circles trying to find water. Basically, they were dehydrating and starving. Eventually, they had to kill some of their horses and drink the horses’ blood to stay alive. So yeah, based off a true story.
NS: Have there been any reactions and/or thoughts from people who have talked to you after a show about “Nothing” in particular?
DF: There have been a few. I think one person said it reminded them of their grandparents. I can’t remember exactly why though.
NS: What’s your thoughts on the song in general? How does it stack up to some of your others?
DF: It’s one of my favorites I’ve written, just because it’s one of the few songs I’ve worked on, put it away, forgot about it, remembered it, then finished it up. Most of the time, a song I’m writing is just a continual work in progress while I’m working on it. But with this, like I said, I completely forgot about it.
NS: When you’re on stage and playing “Nothing,” what’s going through your head? What’s are you hoping gets across to the crowd?
DF: Just trying to get the–especially in full band–trying to get the openness and emptiness of the song. Like you said, it starts off stripped down acoustic and builds up. That’s always the part that people get into; when it’s building and building and then that last chorus is just rocking out. It’s really the same idea, (behind the lyrics) where you have something and then it’s gone.