Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Leading Cause of Grey Hair

Song 297: For this week’s playlist track you can hear Daddy Turned Grey by John Sonntag, who also wrote the song. Seven weeks after my last post of a song by a personal friend, this week’s cut is by my friend John Sonntag. I mentioned him in my post 2 weeks ago (Song 295 — Car Wheels on a Gravel Road) because he was the one who introduced me to the music of Lucinda Williams, and in the same era that he did that, I also heard him perform this song, which I really liked. The lyrics paint a very clear picture of a town betrayed by the management class and robbed of its industrial employment base. I know John comes from the Pittsburgh area, and though I never actually spoke with him about his family’s history, I would bet this track tells a true story, and that his father probably worked in the steel mills there when he was growing up. This betrayal of the working class by upper management has repeated itself over the last few decades for far too many times to even keep score, and in almost every case, as the workers and their town turned grey overnight, those upper management types, strangely enough, they’re doing well, if not very, very, very well. I wrote a song similar to this one, about the same topic, using the former steel town of Bethlehem, PA, as my inspiration, because I’ve spent a lot of time there, being quite fond of the Godfrey Daniels Coffeehouse, and over the years, on my visits, I picked up a lot of clues from the scenery, leading to a track that I called Cold Company Town, which you can listen to here.

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