Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of Monica Taylor’s song “Rescues,” from her forthcoming album TRAINS, RIVERS, & TRAILS, which will release July 29th on Horton Records. The album was produced by Travis Fite, Jared Tyler, and Monica Taylor Fite; engineered by Travis Fite; and mixed by Jared Tyler.
Musicians on the album are Monica Taylor on acoustic guitars; Travis Fite on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, dobro, mandolin, and harmonies; Jared Tyler on acoustic guitars, electric guitars, dobro, banjo, Weissenborne guitar and harmonies; John Fullbright on piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, and accordion and lead vocals on Minor Key; Jake Lynn on drums and percussion; Casey van Beek on electric bass; Luke Bulla on fiddles and mandolin; and Roger Ray on pedal steel guitars.
The video was directed by Monica’s spouse and bandmate, Travis Fite. “Give a hand,” “give a heart,” “give a care,” to those you see struggling mortally in life: “we’re all rescues.” Beautiful, and based on the saddest, wrenching story that’ll linger on your mind, Monica Taylor goes further still, to suggest we love the most forlorn and our enemies too.
I began this song with the 2nd verse when I was sitting in my van after having gassed up at a gas station west of Tulsa just a mile or so. Across the road was a McDonald’s and in front of the restaurant was a man and his two dogs. He was obviously without a home, and his dogs were his family. Then mother dog, a mix breed, mostly pit bull broke her frayed rope leash that was tied to a tree and ran into the traffic. The puppy was still tied up and leaped and leaped trying to get to his mother as she lay dying in the street. The car that hit her stopped and the owner came back to help the man collect her from her spot, the homeless man waved him back as he wanted to take care of her himself; so the driver kept the busy traffic at a reverent standstill. I had just watched a man – who I had already made a quick note of – lose his traveling companion. His best friend, truly. And the puppy lost his only mother. It was heartbreaking. I drove over and went close to him where he had brought Brownie, as he called her. Knelt down and over with my heartfelt sorrow for what had happened. He said “bring Hercules over here.” That must have been the puppy struggling so hard at his own rope leash to get to her… I untied the leash and brought him over to her body that was certainly in the throws of dying. He got right down to her face and licked her mouth, she licked him back and looked into his eyes. I was watching the most intimate of thoughts pass from one creature to another. I knew this. She looked at her human friend with the same thoughts passing to them both creatures- each one blessed with breath and life, dog or human forms, the same.
I wrote the verse about John as I found out was his name later. I thought about the other characters in the song and sketched out a plan to write their verses later, and did that job later in the week.
This all happened a few years ago before Travis and I were married. He was a longtime friend and had been running the sound for a concert series that I produce here near Perkins. After the next concert I played the roughly written song for him. Told him the premise…he said to me: “Was the name of the mama dog Brownie?” I had not mentioned the names of the dogs. “…And was the puppy named Hercules?”
I had named the dog in the verse Zeus because Hercules didn’t rhyme with the other lines I had written. Travis had met this man in his north side Tulsa neighborhood streets a few months before and had offered to help him find work and a place to live. John was so thankful and had done well at his job for a number of weeks but missed life living in his tent down by the Arkansas river with his friends, so he quit the job and went back to the life he loved… living outside with his two dogs, Brownie and Hercules.
I don’t think we could have been more goose pimply if a ghost had floated down the stairs at that moment. It was something that gave us an even stronger bond. Both he and Jared say that when they hear the song, they both have played on and have mixed the song, they still cry or at least tears well up in the hearts. People do love the song for the same reasons. — Monica Taylor
You can order the music here: http://orcd.co/trainsriverstrails