Slowness

Album: Carried to Dust (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Calexico lead singer Joey Burns, "Slowness" contains references to their home base of Tucson, Arizona. Gates Pass is a road known for its scenic views, and Signal Hill is a trail in Saguaro National Park. The song is about two people coming together from far away.
  • This song had the honor of being played in space. Calexico's congresswoman at the time, Gabrielle Giffords, is a big fan of the band, so when her husband Mark Kelly was aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2008, she had NASA play their song "Crystal Frontier" as his wake-up call.

    In early 2011, Giffords was shot in the head by a lunatic gunman, but survived. A few months later, when Kelly returned to space aboard the Shuttle Endeavour, Giffords was recovering so Kelly asked the band for a song to play. They picked "Slowness" - Joey Burns told us why: "It was more mellow, more romantic. It's a song that points out places in the Southwest. There's a clip on YouTube somewhere. It's a video of NASA control, and the operator is on with Mark up in space and you hear this song bouncing back through the wireless speakers and it's fantastic, beautiful. It's got this haunting quality to it, which is something I like in some of our music – not all of it – but some of it. That kind of melancholic or bittersweet sound. It fits in that genre that's hard to pinpoint because so many different cultures and countries tap into a similar vibe. They all have different names for it. I guess ours in melancholy."

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