When Clem Snide began recording albums more than a decade ago in New York, the band’s clever alt-country songs often came across as an ironic take on Americana. Everyone knows you can’t do country music in the big city, and where did Israeli-born singer/guitarist Eef Barzelay get that twang from, anyway? After years of slogging through the indie-rock touring circuit, a band breakup and a move to Nashville, the reunited Clem Snide has earned the all-American desperation and heartbreak that lies in the marrow of its latest album, The Meat Of Life, out this week on 429 Records. Barzelay is guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our Q&A with him.
Barzelay: Every summer, my friend Peter Kayafas rents a car and drives around these United States taking pictures. He has a keen and compassionate eye for the discarded and forgotten things, like an old one-room church covered in kudzu or a declaration of love written out in stones along the highway. I collaborated with him on this book by turning part of a Walt Whitman poem he had given me into a song called “The Open Road.” (A CD of it comes with the book.) Lately, I’ve been much comforted by Whitman’s words: “Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune. Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.” Video after the jump.
“The Open Road”: