Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunflower Songs + Bonus Giveaway: Lawrence, Kansas by Josh Ritter

Today's post is part 2 of a series I'm doing on songs about Kansas and an accompanying recipe. Today's post is special because I post my first link to YouTube, and I'm having my first official giveaway.
Lawrence, KS (Can't Leave This World Behind)

Dirt roads and dryland farming might be the death of me
But I can't leave this world behind
Debts are not like prison where there's hope of getting free
And I can't leave this world behind

I've been from here to Lawrence, Kansas
Trying to leave my state of mind
Trying to leave this awful sadness
But I can't leave this world behind

***Josh Ritter

My favorite singer-songwriter at this moment is Josh Ritter, a literate down-to-earth soul who is passionate about his craft. His passion is contagious. I challenge you to go to one of his shows and not go away inspired. I own all of his albums, and while I love all of his songs, I have to say his song "Lawrence, Kansas" is my favorite because today I call Lawrence home and I relate to the song's narrator. In the song, the narrator sings about escaping, leaving his life behind, and finding greener pastures. For him, Lawrence, KS. represents greener pastures; however, he just can't shake his former life. There are some things you just can't leave behind; some things are always in the rearview mirror.

I relate to the song because Lawrence represented greener pastures for me.

I grew up in a small town of less than 1,000 folks. While it's fashionable to make disparaging comments about growing up in a small town, you won't catch me doing it here at The Greasy Skillet. Growing up in a small town, I was blessed to have family, friends, teachers, and an entire community that wanted the best for me, and on most days they gave me the best they had to offer. I'll always be grateful for my hometown, but I'm also grateful for Lawrence -home to the University of Kansas and only a 30 minute drive from my childhood home.

(Downtown Lawrence)

Like a lot of people who grow up in small town, there were times when I felt out of place. I was a hyper-sensitive soul who craved literature, poetry, and the bohemian spirit. I occasionally needed a break from my hometown. Surrounded by people who listened AC/DC and talked incessantly about sports, hunting, and muscle cars made a guy like myself feel awfully alone at times. I needed Lawrence. In high school I'd visit Lawrence about once a month, and I'd spend the day hanging out in book stores, record stores, and coffee shops.

(Love Garden Records)

I would catch some live music at one of Lawrence's numerous music venues.

I know there are other great towns and cities out there, and many might be a better place to live than Lawrence, but this town will always be special to me and a place I'll always call home.

In the future I plan on talking about more than food here at The Greasy Skillet, and one of my goals is to document what I love about Lawrence, KS.

What do you love about your town? Share your answer to this question in a comment, and your name will be placed in a drawing to win one of Josh Ritter's albums or you can choose a cookbook from my basement bookshelf (I'll give you your choices later). The deadline for submissions will be Tuesday at midnight. Early Wednesday evening I will announce a winner.

Now you're probably wondering: Where is the recipe to go with the song? I'll share that tomorrow.

take care,


P.S. For more Josh Ritter music, visit the following sites:


Ritter on Mountain Stage
: Full, live-in-concert set from Josh and the band's performance in August 2008, streaming on NPR's website.

Hilary Hahn and Josh Ritter - An Uncommon Duo: Full concert stream + bonus features from NPR's Morning Edition.

Josh Ritter in Concert (9:30 Club): The full concert from The 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. - with interview - streaming at NPR's All Songs Considered. Josh sings "Lawrence, KS." about 1 hour and 18 minutes into this show. Check it out.

Josh Ritter in Concert (XPN Fridays): Full concert performance from Josh and the band's performance for NPR's "XPN Live Fridays" at The World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.


rebel said...

Great post, great pictures. I have never heard of Josh Ritter but after listenin' to him I would love to win some of his music.
What I love about my town is the small town atmosphere. I like that everybody knows who you are even if it means they know a lot more of your business than you want them to. I love the way that if something bad happens to someone the whole town pulls together. This is not the town I grew up in but it is my home now, and has been for many years. I have always lived in a small community (except when I was young and first out of school). My folks were farm people, so small towns and farm life kinda go together.
I can't wait to read more about Lawrence.

12th Man said...

I made an iTunes smartlist of just Josh bands. Josh Ritter, Josh Rouse (Nebraska boy, by the way) and Josh Joplin, among others.

Love the vid clips and pix of Lawrence. Lordy, I spent some time at the Bottleneck when I was working up the road at Leavenworth.

Hey — speaking of cookbook giveaways — I found a pile of our cookbooks with a bunch of large manilla envelopes, and now I can't remember if we ever mailed you one. Meant to over the Christmas break, but got a little busy with little Zebb.

Kate said...

Great post!

What I love about my town (city, really) is it's duplicity. Half the city rolls in and out with the administrations and buzzes with the wonky thrill of life in the Capital, but the other half of the city doesn't ever leave. A smaller, harder to find D.C. with a lot of character that is often overlooked.

muddywaters said...

Rebel: Thanks for your comment. I still connect with small towns, and I sometimes think about moving to a smaller town. Lawrence at times has a small town feel to it though, so maybe I have the best of both worlds.

Steve: I'll need to get on Itunes, and checkout your playlist.

The Bottleneck used to be a 2nd home to me, but now I'm lucky if I get there twice a year.

You did mail us a cookbook. Thank You! I'm enjoying it, and I love your manifesto at the back of the book. You should post that on your blog.

Kate: Thanks! I liked your comment about DC. There is a big segment of the DC population that gets overlooked. Recently I've been reading a lot of fiction by DC crime writer George Pelecanos, and he writes a lot about the other side of DC. He really captures the neighborhoods and the people, and when I read his books I can tell he loves the community.

Kate said...

I think George Pelecanos took Anthony Bourdain to Ben's Chili Bowl when he filmed No Reservations here, but I'm not sure. I'll have to pick up some of his books!

I love Josh Rouse as per "12th Man"'s comment. I had no idea he was from Nebraska (Josh Rouse I mean).

Rechelle said...

Well shoot fire - I am up for a free record.

Marianne said...

What I love about my town is that I witnessed the evolution of the place. Your favorite restaurant, Free State Brewery, was once an alley way for the bus depot. Downtown in the 70's was very different....Dirty Herbie's was a great place to get a beer back then.

Jane said...

What do I like best about New York City?? No question...the food. You could eat at a different restaurant every day of your life, but you can also find any ingredient (no matter how out of the ordinary it may be) SOMEWHERE in the city. There's an amazing little shop right by my apartment called Kalustyan's that sells every spice known to man. It'a amazing!! I'll miss the food more than anything else when I leave this place.

High Plains Drifters said...

My best shot at it:

Pamela said...

obviously I told you that I was sure fond of the Blue Mountains in my post today.

Thanks for signing up -- I went in and changed your link to come directly to this post.

Exactly what I'm looking for. It's been years since I visited Kansas -- but I think I recognize it anyway!!

Karmyn R said...

Now that I'm middle-aged - Lawrence looks like a great town to live. As a younger self, I would have hated it (I felt like I had escaped my small town and moved to a big city!).

Hayden said...

very evocative pics!

I was feeling confused abt Fun Monday, since I have 3 places I call home right now. But I focused on SF where I've spent most of my adult life, and I prize it for it's vitality, energy and incredible variety.