Phil Lesh. A musician and founding member of the Grateful Dead, with whom he played bass throughout their career. Box of Rain (with lyrics by Robert Hunter) was recorded in 1970 as the first track on the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty. Hunter is on record as saying that by ‘box of rain’ he intended the world we live on, an observation taken up in this image. The song was written at a time when Lesh was visiting his dying father in hospital.
Lucinda Williams. Singer, song-writer and musician, Williams recorded Side of the Road, the second song taken up here, in 1988. It is track ten on the album Lucinda Williams.
Both these songs might be said to be linked to the genre now known as ‘Americana’. My interest in them is in the ways in which ‘the rural’ figures in these songs in ways that are not simply nostalgic.