Terry Allen asked if I would submit a song for use in his installation of "Road Angel" at the Austin Contemporary site of Laguna Gloria.
The American romance with the automobile and the open road can be seen throughout Terry's decades-long career, as he came of driving age in the 1950s, filled with the promise of adventure and escape. He has noted: "The sense of hurtling through great black empty space...late at night on a dead straight line of asphalt with headlights shining...driving a car as fast as it would go...and listening to The Wolfman on the radio turned up as loud as it would go...is probably where every freedom I most value first began."
Road Angel, 2016, a bronze cast of a 1953 Chevrolet coupe, embodies a range of emotional and nostalgic associations with the American automobile. Terry has placed this three-wheeled car far from any road, resting haphazardly amid the trees, as if the vehicle has careened off its path or the stage were set for a lovers' tryst.
There is something spiritual in the way the sculpture of an abandoned car, spent, dissolving into the past efforts of searching for "adventure and escape" that meets precisely the spirit and faint hope of the song "Dance of Mother and Child." I can hear the mother sing the song to her child, hear the 1950's radio station playing the song in the car radio, see the sweep of the desert and the one lonely road that leads everywhere, and touches all lives.
I was happy to comply with Terry's request and proud to be a part of the installation.
To learn more about the installation, you can read about it here.