Recently, Chris Stamey has been all over the musical map, as a performer, arranger, composer, musical director and producer. With the 11-track The Great Escape (Schoolkids), the dB’s singer/guitarist successfully set his sights on the early-‘70s SoCal country/rock of the Byrds/Burrito variety, bringing friends like Mitch Easter, Peter Holsapple, Don Dixon and Caitlin Cary along for the ride.
Speaking of rides, the video for the LP’s opening title track finds Stamey taking one in the back of a pickup truck, strumming his banjo. Though it shares a title with the 1963 Steve McQueen war movie, Stamey’s “The Great Escape” is about conflict of a more personal variety.
Says Stamey, “I was chewing the fat with a friend a few years back. A guy who seemingly had everything: a loving wife, a beautiful new house, lots of money in the bank, a successful career. When out of nowhere, he confessed, ‘Every time I get to that stoplight at the top of the hill and turn right to go into town, I have such a strong inclination to turn left instead and just keep driving. Leave it all behind. Disappear and never look back. Every day I feel like this.’ I was kind of shocked: ‘You, of all people? Really?’ But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that perhaps some part of that impulse is in all of us: to run from happiness, just blow it all up, hit the road, find that path not taken and burn it up. So this song explores such a guy, someone who did turn left. Who is now on the run from his past and looking for his future, perhaps sleeping days in the parking lot at Walmart, hoping to win the lottery.
“When I mixed it later, I was thinking of summer-car records by the likes of Mungo Jerry, Norman Greenbaum and T.Rex, although I can’t claim to have approached that level of greatness. But I wanted it to sound like something that the guy in the song might have dialed in on his car radio, something that might have been his soundtrack.”
We’re proud to premiere the video for “The Great Escape.” Check it out now.