Turnpike Troubadours Song Tournament: Day IV

imagettst4by: Thomas D. Mooney and Ryan Heape
Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor

Below, you’ll find the results and commentary on the second round. We’ll post the results of the next round  tomorrow. For more information on how exactly we came to these results, check our Day I post here,  first round results and commentary here, and second round results and commentary here.

Normal Street

1) Good Lord Lorrie 15 Votes
2) 1968 10 Votes

No one sets up a scene like Evan Felker. Each verse, Felker’s first line just sets the entire scene up time and time again. I don’t even know if we really realize just how amazing “Good Lord Lorrie” is. Yes, it’s one of Turnpike’s most well known songs, but really, it’s one of the best written songs I’ve ever heard. In reality, Felker isn’t exploring new territory with “Good Lord Lorrie” though. It’s a tale of a heartbroken break-up. There’s been millions of them written. What sets “Good Lord Lorrie” apart–not just from other Turnpike songs, but break-up stories in general–is Felker’s phrasing. It’s his details. It was writer Jack Kerouac who said, “It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.” I think that speaks volumes for “Good Lord Lorrie.” It’s “Lorrie lit a cigarette and smiled and waved the smoke out of her face” and  “Well D-Queens dry so I bought us both a bottle in downtown Broken Bow” and “And her words cut clean through drunk and dark and dimmin’ doorway light.” All these details just build upon themselves creating something more. And something that Felker does here that is probably the key to the entire song, is that he never once hints at what caused the riff between two lovers. Us as the listeners get to fill in the gaps. Hell of a song that features “la da da da da.”

-Thomas D. Mooney 

Morgan Street

1) Whole Damn Town 11 Votes
3) The Funeral 14 Votes

So how am I supposed to feel about writing the obituary for one of my favorite country songs of all time? How am I supposed to feel about writing the obituary for one of my favorite country songs of all time when its tragic end came at the hands of something called “The Funeral”?

I’m supposed to feel crushed. I do feel crushed. I know “The Funeral” is the favorite Turnpike song of many able-minded Americans. It’s about family and death and finding identity, and it’s devastating. It’s one of those Felker tunes that initially seems uncomplicated, only once you engage your cognitive process, the words sink in and the subject matter rears its complicated, ugly head. It sinks in slowly.

But “Whole Damn Town” dispenses all of its force at once; it’s the most punk rock thing they’ve ever done. Drunk and jealous, Felker hits all the angry breakup cliches on its way to mocking his subject: “The whole damn town’s in love with you.” What follows all this is probably the realest moment in Turnpike’s now stacked catalogue: Felker kind of loses his shit. “Well your worn-out favorite pair of jeans! Oh I remember everything,” he shouts, like he’s momentarily forgotten what kind of band he’s supposed to be in. The moment is so earned, the timing is so perfect, the feelings–so real, bro. For me, this song is exhibit A in What Makes Turnpike Troubadours Great. They can be clever, spontaneous, self-assured, ironic, anxious, and cathartic at the same damn time. So R.I.P. “Whole Damn Town.” If there were an N.I.T. to go with this thing, I’m sure you’d kill it, B.

-Ryan Heape

Easton Street

1) Every Girl 10 Votes
2) Diamonds & Gasoline 15 Votes

We’re all burned out on “Every Girl,” I suppose, but if we had heard it for the first time yesterday it would win this bracket, then subsequently defeat Georgetown and San Diego St. to advance to the actual Sweet 16.

-Ryan Heape

Main Street

1) 7&7 17 Votes
3) Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead 8 Votes

Ryan Engleman’s guitar starts up in “7&7” just like a Peterbilt truck. It’s filled with horsepower and pushes the song forward throughout. It’s the sneaky good part of the song. In a lot of respects, it’s always the sneaky good part in Turnpike songs. Sometimes he comes in and we catch just glimpses. Others, it’s up in the front. “7&7” showcases him right from the beginning. Often I feel as though Felker just has all these amazing one liners and phrases that he keeps written on slips of paper. When he comes to a standstill in the writing process, he just draws a line from a hat and it obviously just fits perfectly and then he proceeds to write some more. “7&7” is just filled with so many of these lines that say so much in so few words. I’m sure you’ve picked up on lines such as “Well I had no clue, I’d be the boy who your momma warned you about” and “these days you aint nothin just an interstate daydream.” But there’s even lines such as “And me I’m just a fool in a super market aisle” that carry just as much weight.

-Thomas D. Mooney 

Tomorrow’s Match-up’s

Normal Street-Morgan Street

1) Good Lord Lorrie
3) The Funeral

Easton Street-Main Street

2) Diamonds & Gasoline
1) 7&7 

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2 responses to “Turnpike Troubadours Song Tournament: Day IV

  1. Pingback: Turnpike Troubadours Song Tournament: Day V: The Final Four | New Slang·

  2. Pingback: Turnpike Troubadours Song Tournament: Day VI: Final | New Slang·

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