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