R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood have written a new song titled “Roswell,” which was inspired by the Brent Hendricks book A Long Day at the End of the World.
Being Georgia natives, Buck and Hood both share a deep connection to Hendricks’ book and their southern roots.
Talking about the book and growing up in Georgia during that time, Buck said, “We watched ancient buildings being torn down to make way for 7-11s, malls, and multiplex theaters. It was a place that we never really left, and which never left us. Brent’s book captures the feeling of the reluctant Southerner, carrying in his heart a place he can neither forget, nor remember without pain, as well as anything I have ever read.”
The track has Peter Buck on guitar with Patterson Hood doing spoken-word vocals. Hood has a history of using music to fight against the overdevelopment of small towns and suburbs. In 2012, the singer wrote the song “”After It’s Gone, advocating for the preservation of historical areas in Athens, Ga. The song was a protest against the building of several major construction projects, including a Wal-Mart, in downtown Athens. “After It’s Gone” was recorded by Hood and the Downtown 13, a group of Athens musicians, including R.E.M. member Mike Mills. In “Roswell,” Hood spouts off the lines “Those tin shacks? Forget it. Now they’ve got malls. They got ‘marts.’ They got Kmarts, got a Wal-Mart, got a mini-mart, got a super-mart. Mini-mart’s bigger than a super-mart. I don’t know how that works. Everything you took for granted as being forever in that part of Georgia is gone.”
“I woke up one day in the spring to find an email from Peter, saying that over a sleepless night he’d written a song about our teenage years in the northern Atlanta suburbs,” Hendricks said, “All around us, the countryside was being torn up by backhoes and bulldozers to make way for malls, shopping centers and lousy subdivisions. It was a disturbed landscape whose nothing wind emptied us all out. You can hear that wind in the background just behind the guitars.”
According to Hendricks, “Roswell” will be released on Peter Buck’s upcoming second solo record. Listen to the track below.