Song-of-the-Week #5: “red August”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “red August”:

i wrote “red August” while driving home from Bellair Farm the other day.  every week or so a new color of wildflower emblazons the roadside.

photo: red, antlering up in the form of staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina). eat him! lemony.

we’re into white now, too, with lots of Queen Anne’s Lace (aka, wild carrot or Daucus carota.  one of my faves.  those who don’t know her might be interested in her long history of usage as a contraceptive.)  in many places right now both blossoms and seed heads are in season.  eat her!  in a tea, or salad, or battered & fried.  carrot-y.

( please note: this flower is similar in appearance to poison hemlock.  make sure you or someone you trust can positively identify Queen Anne’s Lace before ingesting ! )

photo: queen of carrot flowers…the largest i’ve seen…from Stone Mountain, GA

i recorded vocals, drums and keyboard for “red August”.  Ken gave mastering help.

we pick & pack a knapsack
full of staghorn sumac
silver underbellies show
as leaves in the wind blow

so we make a little picnic stop
in the red clover cover crop
as sun beat our bones down
buzzard drones wing around

red August
it’s hottest
the pale blue chicory’s
all gone withery

red August
its hottest
came and blasted the grass
that grew so fast

how does she walk on the side of this road
where there’s no shoulder there to hold her ?
it’s so hot and dry on this road
find your water, zombie daughter
drivers flying blind on this road
head for the ditches, scare up some witches
green as it’s gonna get
summer isn’t over yet

we make a little gang of three
as she tumbles in our cup of tea
we leave behind the fallow field
for berries that the brambles yield

middle summer in the south
these berries ripen every mouth
so kissin’ leaves a bloody stain
burnin’ August in the brain

red August
it’s hottest
the pale blue chicory’s
all gone withery

red August
its hottest
came and blasted the grass
that grew so fast

Share some thoughts ?  yesssss →

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20 comments on “Song-of-the-Week #5: “red August”: Preview & Discussion

  1. I love your music and i love that plant, but I’ve always wondered what it’s called!

    • it’s staghorn sumac. the powder around the berries is edible–it’s used to make the spice mix zatar, and also mixed with water as a kind of lemonade drink. try !

  2. Diane, at the risk of redundancy, all of this music is really wonderful. The only thing that would be better would be living next to your studio window.

  3. This song is SO amazing! Every week I’m like, ‘ok, this is the best one yet’, but somehow they just keep getting better…I’m baffled and endlessly pleased.

  4. Nice. Light. Summery. Now you’ve got me wondering how your music will change as the seasons change. I’m excited to hear what sounds fall and winter will bring us. Thank you for you.

  5. Hi Diane –
    I just came across your project. Is it too late to still subscribe for all the songs? would i only get the remaining songs? I want them all ! <3

  6. hi Julia,
    you can subscribe to the project at any level, at any time
    and we’ll catch you up with all songs that have been released–
    so far, that’s five…nineteen more to go !
    thanks for your interest.

  7. Miss Cluck, that song is the burning imprint of Summer itself. I love it so. It made me cry it’s just so ripe and tasting of Summer. Thank you for it!