Blow up your TV, throw away your paper, go to the country, build you a home . . .
I’ve been singing John Prine’s “Spanish Pipedream” for years, and – from time to time – I think he hit the nail squarely on the head. Who doesn’t want to quit the rat race, leave the cell phone and day job behind and head to the woods for a life surrounded by Mother Nature’s bounty?
Denver, Colorado, based singer/songwriter Jeff Cramer tackles that very sentiment in “Legend of Bo Tim,” a reality-based cautionary tale about a true to life character who eschews civilization for a life in the wild.
This week, Trail Mix is thrilled to premiere “Legend of Bo Tim,” a track featured on Cramer’s first solo record, Northern 45, which will release in January.
I recently caught up with Jeff to talk about the new record, outdoor adventures, and what it might be like to leave it all behind for a life in the wilderness.
BRO – The new record drops in January. You counting down the days?
JC – I’m excited to get it out there and have been doing a good bit of writing for the next record in the interim. It’s also shoulder season here in Colorado, so it’s a little too chilly for trail running and no snow for back country ski trails, and I’m feeling a little cooped up. Looking forward to touring with songs from Northern 45 this spring.
BRO – Your own favorite outdoor adventure?
JC – Depends on the season. By summer, I like finding a spot for my truck camper in close proximity to an above tree line trail run, followed by a soak in a nearby hot spring. By winter, it’s just about the same, but sub in a pair of skinny skis and enough snow on the ground to tool around in the woods. The outdoors and crowds don’t work well together for me. My favorite moments are those where you’re miles back by trail run or Nordic ski and you can see everything and hear nothing – peaks fifty miles away and dead silence.
BRO – We are featuring the premiere of “Legend of Bo Tim” this week. What’s the story behind the song?
JC – I was up in the woods in Montana last year with some friends and we were lounging around in our rental cabin, drinking coffee and telling stories, talking about hitting the big red button and moving to the middle of nowhere. My grizzly-bearded friend started reading a story about the “Legend of Bo Tim” aloud from one of those local culture magazines you find in mountain towns. The story was about a real dude that moved from the west coast in the 70s to find a more honest and, from what it sounded like in the words of my friend’s reading, more indulgent life. Parts of that theme resonated for me, as I’ve hit the big red button before and still have the impulse from time to time. In the fictionalized version of the story that I wrote, Tim ultimately succumbs to the forces that drew him there. Maybe there’s some deeper meaning in his demise, and I’m trying to kill off that impulse myself. Or maybe I’ve just seen Grizzly Man too many times.
BRO – Got a favorite outdoor hero?
JC – Hard to choose. While I’m not sure I’d exactly call them heroes, another song from the record, “Band of Brothers,” is inspired by the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Corps of Discovery. After learning more about their adventure, it’s hard to compare modern day expeditions to theirs. From the years of meticulous planning that went into the trip between Jefferson and Lewis, to the countless stories, plot twists, and feats along the way. They would eat eight to ten pounds of meat a day with successful hunts. How do you do that? Or to have been standing alongside the incredulous tribes watching these crazy foreigners plow down the old Class 5+ Columbia River on hollowed out Douglas fir trees. Crazy.
BRO – If you followed Bo Tim’s lead, what is the one modern convenience you’d miss the most?
JC – I can be pretty stubborn about coffee. I might have to rig up a backwoods espresso roasting, grinding, and brewing system, though I can’t imagine coffee trees doing so well in high-country Montana. Might be a problem. But Tim talks about all his wine, and I doubt he’s drinking wild gooseberry wine or anything.
Pour yourself a big glass or wine or a fine cup of coffee and enjoy the premiere of “Legend of Bo Tim,” from Jeff Cramer, right here.
For more information on Jeff Cramer, the pending release of Northern 45, or when you can catch Jeff on a stage near you, please check out his website.
And while you’re in the mood for some great music, make sure you check out brand new tunes from Gregory Alan Isakov, The Earls of Leicester, Whitey Morgan & The 78s, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix.