November 5

Today I shuttled over the island of Oahu, to Honolulu. Quite a change from rural Kawai… nearly 1,000,000 people on Oahu and the area is not much bigger than Kawai!

I have plans to stay local, to see an old Air Force buddy of mine named Ira.

We were stationed together in the early nineties at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. We became fast friends and did a lot of activities together at that time. We’ve kept in touch, but I had not seen Ira for nearly 20 years.

One of my fondest musical memories of our time together started at a bar (shocker, I know). I was the new guy and was going through a bit of a rough patch personally. He took me under his wing and made me feel better about things just with companionship and humor.

We were at a small tavern just outside the base entrance… drinking beers and playing pool. We were being served by a young, pretty, bartender named Renee. We asked her what mixed drink she would recommend and she suggested a mixture of cranberry juice and amaretto, which was sweet and delicious and a beautiful ruby color. I’m sure these cocktails had a proper name, but we just called them “red drinks“!

We had enough but we wanted more than enough, “Renee! More red drinks” we would holler from the back of the bar like the drunken buffoons we were.

Eventually it was time to go home. Neither one of us were in any shape to drive so we had to call for a ride. Ira’s wife came to the rescue, to pick us up and drive our drunk asses home.

We were still in pretty good spirits and somehow convinced her to take dirt roads and trails for part of the trip. Bouncing around on the Colorado planes, the radio picked up the song Seven Bridges Road done by the Eagles.

The beautiful harmony.. “There are stars in the southern sky!” We stopped talking and laughing and listened to that song intently, probably for the first time.

After the song ended Ira and I decided to compare our vocals and harmonies with the Eagles for the rest of the ride home, his poor wife!

That song, whenever I hear it now, reminds me of that night, our friendship and red drinks… maybe even a little bit about Renee.

While researching the song Seven Bridges Road for this blog, knowing the Hawaiian trip was coming up, I realized that like so many of their hits it was not an Eagles and song after all. The song was written by a fellow named Steve Young on his 1969 debut album Rock Salt & Nails:

I’m embarrassed to admit that I did not know who Steve Young was! Apparently he still active but his writing credits included well known songs by Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr.

My copy of Rock Salt & Nails came from a garage sale this spring. The style of the album is alternative folk or alternative country depending on your perspective I suppose… what has become known as Americana?

Young is a good guitar player and a fantastic songwriter and there is something in his vocal style, not any type of perfection but somehow a truth that you can hear.

My pristine copy brings Young’s haunting vocals to the forefront and was a great listen. “Renee! More red drinks!”

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