The second track off the debut album, Thief & Love, pulls very much from Wallflowers-era rock ‘n roll. I’ve always loved Jakob Dylan’s ability to marry poetic verse with strong, accessible rock melodies. Moving On was one of the last songs written for the album. Driven by emotion similar to something akin to a protest or a break-up, this song was my way of finally taking stock of our surroundings at the time and being honest with myself about who we were as a band and who we were not, what we had accomplished and what we had not, who we were winning and the many who we weren’t. And getting the hell over it all.
The opening verse is taken from a scene in one of my favorite films, Master & Commander. The crew encounters a dangerous storm in which a sailor is washed overboard, only to discover his fortune of clinging to a piece of wood and rigging that is still tied to the ship. (SPOILER alert!) In their haste to pull him to safety, the captain quickly realizes that the raft temporarily saving one man’s life is acting as an anchor in the stormy seas that will soon cost the lives of the entire crew. They are forced to make the terrible decision to cut the rope. With resolve in their eyes, they lift the hatchet, cut the rope, and watch their comrade carried away to his certain death.
Moving on. That’s how I felt at the time. But it was important for me to come to terms with this musical expression as something that was for me and by me. A few of my personal highlights include:
- “A house of cards without a joker in the deck, This town tips their hat to the guys with the tricks.” My favorite line in the song and one of my favorite lines on the album. Our band had begun to feel like a house of cards, an endeavor that was going to collapse at any moment. Furthermore, we had no “joker” or wild card in this outfit, nothing that stood out or grabbed attention or gave us an advantage. We were stricken with abysmal normalcy: 3 guys who just had day jobs and wives and kids, like subjugated minions of suburgatory:)
- “That twisted tongue that always whispers in my ear, He doesn’t raise his voice because he knows I want to hear.” I’m dangerously hard on myself; not like self-harm, but overly critical. Every now and then I have to pull that lying tongue out of my head.
© Wes Gow
Do you know that sailor tied onto the boat
His life raft crumbled in the wake of the storm
And if we try to pull him in we’ll never make it to port
Go and cut that rope.
Oh, we’re moving on.
A house of cards without a joker in the deck
This town tips their hats to the guys with the tricks.
And however far we go I’ve made my peace
There’ll be no homecoming shows.
Oh, we’re moving on.
Cut the anchor chain and get in
Raise the sails up to the wind
And chart a course into the dawn
Oh, we’re moving on
That twisted tongue that always whispers in my ear
He doesn’t raise his voice because he knows I want to hear
And that garrison I’m hiding in of questions & fear
I’m burnin’ it to ashes & smoke
Oh, I’m moving on.
That horse you brought to water doesn’t ever want to drink
And that mocking bird you bought doesn’t ever want to sing
That golden calf didn’t usher in your dreams
Then what choice have you got than to let that creature be?