6. Spirits

A box on the shelf where the spirits form

A box on the shelf where the spirits form

I was in the back of a tour van with Hiss when the idea for this song came to me.

Leonard Cohen had just died, and we were playing in Montreal.

I was rooming with MC Taylor at the hotel and he had the wherewithal to get up early and take a cab to Cohen’s Montreal home where people held a vigil and there were candles.

I didn’t make it to Cohen’s vigil before we had to leave town, but I ruminated about dead songwriting heroes that afternoon. As we drove out of the romantically snowy city limits, I thought about how many lost heroes were stacking up.  

It dawned on me that when Bob Dylan dies, it’s gonna be a musician death more overwhelming than all of them have been to date, and there had already been a lot that year- spanning Bowie, to Prince and beyond.

I thought about radio airwaves of a half century of music that is endlessly traveling into the outer reaches of our solar system. I thought about how a star in the sky could die, but we would not know it here on earth for thousands or even millions of years while the end of the star’s light travels to us.  

I still love the jokes about what kind of world we’re going to leave behind for Keith Richards.


GUITARS + BASS - Scott Hirsch DRUMS + PIANO + SYNTH - Mike Coykendall HARMONY SINGING - Lauren Barth, Bernie Larsen



All you spirits in the airwaves
You’re set free
Your voice belongs to the big sky
Phasing on the crest of the wave

You got buried in his wall of sound
You took your band on the lake
Singing under that Cajun moon
Oh! You towed us in your wake

We dreamt our dreams up in the old hotel
We drank some whiskey and gin
Singing blue and wailing songs all night
Oh! The shape we were in

I saw your star up in the evening sky
Its burning black tonight
You warned us that the dice were loaded
We still rode on through the night

We knew that this day would come
End of an era they would say
The day our steward and shepherd
Lay down in his big brass bed

All you spirits in the airwaves
You’re set free
Wear your heart on the outside
Phasing on the crest of the wave