Well, the fact of the matter
There ain't no facts involved
Downtown Boise, Idaho, in fall
In the 80.05 square miles that is Boise, Idaho, there are a lot of "notoriously friendly and buoyantly happy" people (Movoto blog), yarn bombers, craft beer, trees, a complete change of seasons, and a lot of potatoes. There are plenty of tractors, ATVs, and snowmobiles.
And there is also a ribbon of highway that'll take you clear outta Boise, about 2244 miles due south (and slightly east) to Sonoita, Arizona.
It was this highway in (approximately) 1985 upon which a 17-or-maybe-18-year-old Roger Clyne embarked, along with his dad, "Doc" Clyne, to collect "horses or hay or baling wire in bulk, or barbed wire in bulk, I can't remember." What he does remember is the music they listened to, the Boone's Farm they consumed together, and the velvet black interstate that brought them to a place just outside of Boise and back.
For the uninitiated (forsooth! Go get initiated. Now.), Roger Clyne is lead singer and songwriter for Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers (RCPM), the best band to come out of the southwest since ever. Back in the days of recording this song - 1996 - he was lead singer and songwriter of The Refreshments, which first tasted success with the album on which this song appears, Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy,
a big-machine production experience which so soured Clyne on major labels that he converted to indie cold turkey. But that's old news.
In slightly newer news, it was on tax filing day (April 15) in 2013 (which also sadly turned out to be the day of the Boston Bombing) that Clyne told me the story about this song
. He described the trip as being something of a rite of passage for him. And as anyone in at least the southwest United States knows, Boone's Farm is
the rite of passage for anyone reeling in their teenage years. It's a syrupy sweet wine concoction that tastes like cough medicine, but goes down easy in spite of that, making it the choice for most teenagers who are attempting to get drunk for the first time. Not that this was Roger's first time - he didn't say - but Boone's would have been a good choice for it. And after chuckling that they were "drinkin' and drivin', it's what cowboys do," he not-so-convincingly corrected that statement by explaining that they'd pull over to do the drinking, and sleep afterwards at the rest stops.
Roger Clyne c. 2013
(thanks, Jeff Kollar)
As far as the handgun, the new pair of shoes, and the stone-cold meal, none of that was confirmed nor denied. Although a couple of cowboys driving hundreds of miles to pick up horses or horse-related things, it stands to reason they'd be driving a '69 Ford and carrying a handgun. So I'm not the one to call BS on those claims. But who's to say... as the song says, "there ain't no facts involved..."
Why Clyne didn't choose to stay in Boise is the truly puzzling thing. Consider that it's made almost every "Best Cities in America" list since its birth in 1863, the fact that in the three lengthy blogs I read about it, there was not a single negative comment, that many descriptions on the Internet describe the city's streets as "tree-lined," I'm thinking every person in the world should pack up and move there. For its 205,671-and-counting citizens, however, it's probably a blessing they don't.
For RCPM fans everywhere, it's a blessing of a slightly different sort that the Clynes elected to go back to their Sonoita ranch in the Southern Arizona desert, as the dusty warm desert sunshine to which Roger was born and raised continues to instill in him musical inspiration with every breath on his dad's ranch and in his own hometown of Mesa, Arizona. And the end result is maybe akin to the feel of that velvet black interstate stretching out for miles ahead, with the sunset of a Boise, Idaho, sky disappearing in the rear view mirror.
~ Shawna Hansen Ortega