After spending a month gathering up the bits and pieces of lyrical and musical ideas that I had been collecting over the past year, I planned to start writing the new album's material up at Maiden's Mill in January of 97. On New Years Day we got the tragic news that Townes Van Zandt had died. Townes is the songwriter who has inspired me most in my adult life. His songs are what I feel great songs should aspire to be - tiny peep-holes into our souls. We had had the great honor of touring with Townes. We shared a joint with the man who had shared a joint with Lightnin Hopkins, who had shared a joint with Robert Johnson, who had shared a joint with the devil. His death was a great blow. The song Blue Guitar was written the day I heard he died. It was meant as a tribute to the man who had the bluest guitar that I had ever heard. But somehow I couldn't finish it and I put it away. A month later I came into possession of some of Townes' unpublished and unfinished lyrics. In that bunch was a lyric called Screams From The Kitchen. There was a handful of lines in the song that popped out at me (Goodbye to the highway / goodbye to the sky / I'm heading out goodbye, goodbye). With Townes' widow, Jeanene Van Zandt's approval I incorporated them into the unfinished Blue Guitar, which now stood finished. The song had been waiting for Townes to finish it off. I think that Blue Guitar is my favorite recording on the album. It is a perfect example of what John Leckie brought to the process. Lots of swirling atmosphere and a transparent denseness. - Mike

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