Genre: Alternative Country
Hey little Hollywood
You’re gone but you’re not forgot
You got the cash but your credit’s no good
You flipped the script and you shot the plot
And I remember I remember when your neon used to burn so bright and pink
A Saturday night kinda pink.
I’ve never heard of the genre ‘alternative country’, but that was how this song was classified and I can’t beg to differ. If at all I could, I’d call the genre of this song ‘folk rock’.
The song’s got a bit of a history behind it.
C. Schnebly was an enterprising young man from Gorin, Missouri who had married Sedona Arabella Miller. T.C.’s brother, Ellsworth, had moved to Arizona for health reasons, and convinced T. C. and Sedona to join him in red rock country. The Schnebly’s built a large two-story home that also served as the area’s first hotel and general store. T.C. saw a need for regular mail service, and organized the little village’s first post office. T. C. suggested the names, Oak Creek Crossing and Schnebly Station, to Washington, D.C., but the Postmaster General at the time had a prejudice for one-word names for postmarks. Ellsworth advised him, “Why don’t you name it after your wife?”
And that was how this place in Arizona, with its red sand stones, got the name ‘Sedona’. Remember, no song is without its significance. Every time I go on a spree collecting more information about a particular song, a genre or an artist, I learn something new and fascinating.
I’ll tell you now folks, this song’s got a great deal of metaphors and a careful reading in between the lines, research and consideration is what it took people to decode this brilliant song. What’s wonderful is how Sedona refers not to a person but the place itself. Apparently, Sedona was a prime area for movie shootings, back in the 60’s, before people went after Los Angeles. John Ford, a renowned director back in the early 20th century, has shot numerous movies in the place, owing to its beautiful plethora of sunset red mountains and natural scenery. The song is a dedication to the magnificence of the beautiful desert and not an aspiring actress back in the black and white era of making movies. After the creation of the now official Hollywood, directors deserted (pun intended) this place, hence the ‘little Hollywood’. How many songs you find have historically significant facts like this one? That’s what gives the song its substance.
I found this tune on Spotify (funny thing, this was categorised as Indie Rock), along the likes of Vance Joy, Angus and Julia stone, with their slightly folk-ish disposition and this song has been a favorite on my ‘road trips’ playlist, ever since. Listening to the song while driving into the orangish pink sunset is almost transcendental.
The video is particularly what caught my eye (I only watched it today). A striking minimalist film with picturesque motel – desert shots, all so relevant to the entire setting of the song, with the band members all happy and cheerful, going about their business and playing chess; a few concert shots in and there you go: a wholesome, eye-catching video with a wonderful dusky theme. If you could capture America in a video, this would probably be it (not that I’m quite sure). The Sean Penn-meets-Louis Tomlinson (yeah, the bloke from One Direction) lead singer kicks things up a notch, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better. Needless to say, the feel-good, retro-esque song is just as remarkable as its other components; The vocals are strong and perfect for the song, the electric guitar so accurate and the introduction of a stronger strums and thicker vocals, with a little help from his fellow band mates makes it ever-the-more appealing. Has the perfect band been discovered now or will they just be forgotten like a thousand other unknown ones? I sure as hell hope not!