Ruins

Album: Blight (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • When he was 13, Tim Higgins' family moved from the Detroit area to a neighborhood in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that was filled with old Victorian homes that were eventually razed. "Ruins" is about watching the area get torn down.

    "t was this really interesting community with little kids living with a big, shared backyard," he said on the Songfacts Podcast. "It was really a magical place where we were for about eight years, and at the end of our block was the ruins of the old state capitol building of Alabama from when Tuscaloosa was the capitol in the 1840s. It burned in the 1920s and what's left of it looks like ancient Roman ruins, with toppled columns and a big, antebellum column building... democracy for all, but maybe for the few.

    But it's about the fight to preserve our neighborhood when the all-seeing eye of city planning comes and looks at us and considers it all to be blighted. And of course, now it's all torn down there's an extended-stay motel there. Most people can go back to where they lived and say, 'This was my old stomping grounds.' Well, my old stopping grounds are gone."
  • "Ruins" is a track on Higgins' debut album, Blight; the title track also looks at preservation efforts, which can seem like a losing battle in Alabama. "There's an old saying that there are two enemies to historic building: water and stupid men," Higgins told Songfacts. "And stupid men got ours before the water. That's what I was thinking about when writing 'Ruins.' There were ruins at the end of the street all along."
  • Higgins has a deep, gravelly voice that is reminiscent of Tom Waits. He started a band in college called Bible Study (they weren't religious - the name is ironic) then launched a solo career. "Ruins" is on his first album, released in February 2020. Bad timing: the pandemic hit just two weeks later.

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