GTC REWIND: MARK J. LEE & the SADDLE KINGS Vagabond Blood
by Walter Price
Life on the road is a romantic DNA-embedded state of mind. The folks you sympathize with in passing, the ever-changing landscapes that new sunrises shine upon, the dingy barrooms, and the breeze that licks your cheeks on highways and backroads are the things freedom is all about. And the new single, “Vagabond Blood”, from wandering troubadour Mark J. Lee is a classic country and western tribute to the songwriter’s then, now, and future way of life.
With nods to Faron Young, Jones, and Betts, and delivered in a slowburn swagger that conjures up thoughts of Orville Peck and Orbison, this track is a pure honky-tonk noir stunner. Lee isn’t particularly prolific when it comes to releasing music, but when he does you can be certain about two things. First, the lyrics will be from lived experiences, and second, he’ll respect the spirit and fabled history of the genre. And with this new song, he’s bested himself in many ways. Which is to be expected if you’ve followed his long and winding career.
Taken away all of my reasons to leave.
Hello walls around the very air that I breathe.
My heartstrings feel the strain like a Doberman on a chain.
One way or another I will die a ramblin’ man.How I long to follow the Westbound shine.
Of a setting sun disappearing down a railroad line.
Or to give my weary head some rest, back seat National Express.
One way or another I will die a ramblin’ man.
As he sings about distant trains, being liberated as he adds up the reasons to leave, the lyrics are clearly cinematic. So, again, it’s no surprise that the accompanying DIY music video has a hint of David Lynch to its on-the-road-again and through-the-forest psych aesthetics. And a cameo by a Japanese Maneki-Neko is a brilliant touch. You can stream “Vagabond Blood” and see its film, now at the GTC.
MARK J. LEE & the Saddle Kings
Photos via Facebook // Spotify
Mark J. Lee
One way or another
I will die a ramblin’ man…