Calexico: Nature’s Way

Joey Burns explains how acclaimed environmental artist James Turrell came to be namechecked in a Calexico song

On “End Of The World With You,” the first single from The Thread That Keeps Us, Joey Burns references environmental artist James Turrell when he sings, “Turn up the microphone on the national parks/You gotta switch something off if you wanna get it right/A crater full of wisdom in James Turrell’s eyes.”

“I call him a kind of naturalist” says Burns. “He’s taking sky, space, light and framing it so it becomes a focal point. He takes the everyday beautiful sky and clouds and light and gives you a time and place to observe it and take it in. It’s incredible. I wanted to touch on that sense of minimalism and the importance of taking time to appreciate and reflect and distill those feelings into your own life. It could be a good remedy for bringing you to more enlightenment.

“He’s done a lot of installations. He purchased Roden Crater here in Arizona, where he’s building a huge installation as part of the natural landscape. We have some amazing artwork that is all done in nature in the most beautiful inspired ways, much in the same way years before John Muir worked to protect and preserve nature so we can enjoy it.”

—Steve Klinge