Wednesday, January 21, 2009


It's not like I haven't been busy.

We three of Doc Abbick in Trinity have just released our second album, one of fifteen original train songs called The Last Caboose. I wrote most of the lyrics for fourteen of the songs; the other is an instrumental. Dean Schechinger wrote most of the melodies. Doc Abbick put words and melodies together, arranging and producing our effort. And it's a good one.

I've always thought that if a song writer was any good, he will have written a good train song. So why not write a whole album of them? My band-mates agreed to give it a try. Certainly there are a lot of ways to approach the topic: love songs ("Lay Me Down" and "Sweet Wild Rose"), the break up of a love affair ("One Way Out of Town"), stories of a sick old man giving a little boy a train yard tour ("His Last Tour"), a ghost train coming to take trainmen on their last ride ("Ghost Train"), the midnight train that doesn't come through town any longer ("Midnight Train"), and a young model railroader at the controls ("Mountain 4-8-2). You add, maybe, a couple of hobo songs ("Tramps on the Track" and "Hobo's Admonition"), one "talking blues" recommendation for how to deal with the nuclear waste problem ("Glow Train"), and a lilting song about a railroad in the tropics ("Railroad in the Sun"). What could you be missing? Oh, yeah – you gotta have some train wrecks ("Last Love Letter" and "Slow Your Engine Down") and an instrumental ("Roundhouse"). And, of course, you need the title song ("The Last Caboose"):

There she sits
The last caboose
In the park
Of no more use
Her ghost is
But a shadow
Like her paint
She's faded now

It always helps if you've got Johnny Cash working with you. We were on the verge of throwing out "Slow Your Engine Down" as unworkable when I asked the guys if we could maybe sleep on it before making a final decision. About four o'clock that morning, Johnny Cash sang the song to me in a dream. I woke with a start. When the band got back together later that morning to continue work, we revised the song to approximate what I'd heard in my dream, and we now think of it as something of a tribute to the Man in Black.

I'm the guy who writes, so I'm charged with doing the promotion. I've created a presence for us on MySpace: . I've ordered postcards with the album cover on one side and the list of our songs on the other (if you'd like to have some of the postcards, let me know). I've gotten review copies out to the magazines and promotional copies out to radio stations. I have written some train magazines to see if they'd be interested in featuring our CD. I've written train museums to see if might want copies of The Last Caboose for the gift shop. I was interviewed by the Ripon Commonwealth Press and featured in the editor's column. And like that.

As I say, it's not like I haven't been busy.

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