FOTW: Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, Pt. II
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FOTW: Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, Pt. II

For fans of Front Porch Step, The Mountain Goats, Lucero, and Circa Survive

FOTW: Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, Pt. II

After "St. Joe Keeps Us Safe" comes "Runnin' Scared," which details a reminiscent Aaron West reflecting on his past life with his then-girlfriend Diane when she was dancing in a backyard in North Jersey (before they married and moved to Brooklyn). While reveling in these memories, though, Aaron is currently sleeping in his car, shaking due to the cold, cursing the dashboard heat, and feeling empty. Under such conditions, he is forced to scrape ice off his windshield as he gradually drives down south, seeing her face in northbound traffic, crossing state lines on his way to Georgia, where he picks day-lilies that he will one day give to his wife, when, if she ever, lets him come back home.

"Divorce and the American South" picks up with Aaron calling Diane from a phone booth, lost at some truck stop in the South, asking her to pick up the phone because he knows she's home, as he assures her he knows where he went wrong. He guesses about where he might have gone wrong, ranging from his smoking that caused the coughing fits that she hated or the fact that he isolated himself emotionally after their miscarriage. He then almost dreamily wonders if the bugs will eat him whole if he stays where he is or if the darkness will eventually take him home. He then recounts an actual dream in which he flew back north, only to have the plane crash before they landed and that she didn't come to his funeral, despite him hoping that she would. Yet he promises her he won't let go, even if she says so.

"The Thunderbird Inn" then proceeds with Aaron observing his surroundings, observing that the local residents are taking down their Christmas lights though the temperature doesn't really grow that cold. He then informs us that he has been sleeping in a motel off of 95, where a nice desk clerk chats with him and ask if it's been a long night. Aside from the motel, Aaron also frequents a bar outside of town, where he drank his last paycheck dry; after one of these visits, a homeless man approaches him asking for change, to which Aaron looks him straight in the eyes, causing the homeless man to apologize and tell Aaron that God has a plan for him and that everything will be all right; Aaron never realized he looked so pathetic. He then mentions how, despite the owner giving him a break on his rent this week, he came up short again and sneaked out at 2 a.m., being the coward that he is. He then continues to drink heavily, for the daughter he'll never meet, the wife that doesn't love him, as he counts his blessings for a half tank of gas and a bottle that isn't empty.

While my time in featuring Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties is unfortunately over, three songs on the album remain: "Get Me Out of Here Alive," "You Ain't No Saint," and "Carolina Coast," so if you like Dan "Soupy" Campbell's solo project or are even just interested in seeing how the narrative of the album ends, then be sure to check it out.

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