Lost, Downtrodden and Drunk in 'Pensacola'

Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Pensacola"
  • Artist: John Bustine
  • CD: Waltzes & Pleas
  • Genre: Rock
John Bustine draws equally from Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash.

John Bustine draws equally from Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash. hide caption

itoggle caption

"Pensacola" is just one of many haunting songs on John Bustine's debut album Waltzes & Pleas. Drawing equally from Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash, the New England-born singer paints vivid images that burst with darkness, desperation and religious hypocrisy, led by characters who are lost, downtrodden and, more often than not, drunk.

"While relieving myself on the church steps / I happened on Father McGee / who said, 'Son, your ways they've grown wicked / I think the whole town would agree,'" Bustine sings on "Pensacola." "'We all have our demons and weakness' / and this he explained at length / With his hand on my shoulder, he offered to help / but I hit him with all of my strength." The song would seem at home on Springsteen's Nebraska or Waits' Blood Money — albums that, like Waltzes & Pleas, are almost impossible to shake.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Purchase Featured Music

Waltzes & Pleas

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Waltzes & Pleas
Artist
John Bustine

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.