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ex-Whiskeytown singer/violinist Caitlin Cary covering a song written by ex-DB Peter Holsapple. Originally recorded by Peter’s band The Continental Drifters, with a vocal by Vicki Peterson from the Bangles, but this is the version you have to track down.

The singer sketches a life lived not necessarily in the fast lane but definitely too fast:

Business as usual usually goes
All the way always and never means no
You shoot past the mountains on en route to the store
There’s no time, no windows for us anymore

She remembers when there were hours of just standing still. She assures herself and the partner to whom the song is addressed that there will be such hours again.

But in the meantime, caught in the hustle-and-bustle-clash-and-clatter-working-all-day-and-into-the-night life they seem to have found themselves in, she proposes a solution, a small way to touch base with that quieter part of their lives. We should, she suggestes, learn to waltz:

Two arms curled at the waist and then
Two hands held out in space and then
Three/four, let there be more
And there will be, believe me…

Waltzing here stands for whatever small thing you do for yourself or your relationship to provide just enough fuel for the rest of the craziness. Could be taking a mountain bike ride, could be cooking a meal on a Friday night or watching a video on a Wednesday night, could be reading a book together in bed (ask me about the short story I wrote on that topic) or even just talking quietly at the end of the day. Could be anything, as long as it’s active and nourishing and done together (drinking doesn’t count), but as any advice columnist will tell you it’s gotta be something.

In my own currently-insane day job I learned a new word yesterday: quiesce. It means “to render temporarily inactive or disabled” but I prefer the definition as it’s been appropriated by our technology friends: “to pause or alter a device or application to achieve a consistent state, usually in preparation for backup or other maintenance.” That explains exactly what the singer is suggesting here.

Beautiful song. Beautiful voice: a grittier Linda Thompson, but less aching, more hopeful. This is from a 2003 solo album. I also enjoyed Caitlin’s 2005 album of country duets with Thad Cockerell, but I haven’t heard much from her since. Who knows, four years of trying to get along with Ryan Adams might have worn her out for the hustle-and-bustle-clash-and-clatter of the music business. I like to think last night she sang to a small but appreciative audience at some North Carolina dive bar and then came home and talked it over quietly with someone who understood her need to do that.