Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter.
?A lot went into writing your favorite song--but how much do you really know about it? This week Seattle singer/songwriter Jesse Sykes of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter delves into the loss of a loved one, embracing a past intimate connection, and trying to give "a voice to the dead."
Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter.
Song: "Oh, My Girl"
Album: "Oh, My Girl"
Release Date: 2004
When it was written: Feb. 2003?
Where it was written: My living-room couch in Free-lard, Wash.
Favorite line in the song: "Between them trees, is all the world's fuckery"
Which part was the hardest to come up with? This song was written the morning that a friend's husband who had been suffering from an illness for a long time passed away. Phil got to say goodbye to him moments before he died and was deeply affected by it. I wasn't at his side, but a lot of friends went to their house to say farewell. The song came to me in one fell swoop after Phil called and told me about what had just happened.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be? I know this sounds arrogant, perhaps, but it's one of those songs where I wouldn't change a thing. I kind of feel that way about most of my songs. I mean I suppose after I make an album, I could obsess on production elements. There are always things in recording that can haunt you . . . decisions made that may have seemed like good ideas at the time but don't sit well with you later. However, I tend to not listen to my albums once they are done--I just move on. Each one makes me more fearless and excited to conquer the next. This song, though--well, it just "sounds" like that day "felt." It sounds like my perception of what their love looked and felt like, so iI would never change that.
Odd fact about song: Well, I don't know if its an odd fact, but I sing it from the point of view of the one who has passed away.
What was your inspiration for writing the song? Like I said, a friend had died that morning and once I got word it just flowed out as I cried. As I said, it's rare I write in one fell swoop. It happens, but it's rare when it happens start to finish like that. What's even more rare is the kind of love these two people seemed to have. My friend always talked about her man in a way that made you pay attention. It was touching. She wasn't afraid to let everyone know how proud she was of him, how in awe she was of him. It's so rare to have a connection like that with someone that lasts a lifetime. When I think on that song I like to think of all the people who loved real hard through the ages, but are dead now, and had that kind of love that maybe only happens like once every hundred years. That's why I sing it from the dead man's perspective. I guess to give a voice to the dead? I figure just because you have died doesn't mean the love disappears.
What is the meaning behind the song? This friend I've been speaking of had told me of a moment she and her husband (who was the love of her life), had had while laying on their bed one afternoon. She said the sun was gently shining through the curtain, and it was so still, so beautiful, and it was just she and him wrapped inside this beautiful moment. She said to him, "Look, it's just us, this is ours. This moment belongs to us." It was something to that effect in how I remember it. It wasnt so much what she said to him, it wasn't the actual words, but more so the way she related the story to me--the fact she wanted to tell me, and was able to share a seemingly mundane moment in their day so beautifully. It really resonated with me. It still does. It's what I dreamt about for myself back then--to share such beauty with someone. It most certainly raised the bar for me. So when he passed, it just seemed like I needed to try and pay tribute to them and that simple yet beautiful moment of theirs. The line in the song is, "My girl, let's dance across that sunlit room, oh my girl, i'll hold you in the afternoon." So simple.