This seems an appropriate topic for the issue in which SFR celebrates writing. Every so often, I look around Santa Fe and ask myself, Why aren’t there any great songs about this place?
I mean, open your eyes. It's gorgeous here. And spiritual. And iconic. Everybody in Santa Fe who isn't an artist is a writer or a musician, so where are the songs?
Let me back up for a minute. There is a Santa Fe acoustic trio I really enjoy called American JeM. Their genre is Americana, which I think means they give you an old-timey feeling without using a banjo. I asked them once why they don't sing more songs about Santa Fe, and they said they don't know any. The closest they come to it is "New Mexico Rain," an exquisitely crafted song by Michael Hearne, who's not in JeM.
Well, I tell you honey, if I had the money,
We'd be on that first plane to Spain
But as long as we're here, the answer is clear,
We'll dance in the New Mexico Rain.
Great lyrics, but not Santa Fe-specific. Anyhow, my friends in JeM said if I wanted Santa Fe songs so badly I should write some myself, so that's what I've been doing. Like this one, to the tune of "California Dreamin'"…
All the shops are brown, and the hair is grayI’m breakin’ into retailHere in Santa FeSellin’ turquoise jewelry, and maybe pots made of claySellin’ to the touristsYou know they come here in MayConcho belts and ponchos, cowboy boots, they sayAll the tourists buy them‘Cause they’re in Santa FeKokopelli statues, ristras festive and gayI’m breakin’ into retailHere in Santa Fe!I’ll set up in La FondaThat’s where the tourists staySelling tacky tchotchkesRight here in Santa Fe
Selling tacky tchotchkesRight here in Santa Fayyyyyy!!!!
Thank you. You're a great audience. This next song was inspired by "New Mexico Rain," so JeM can just recycle the same tune. I think that's considered a sign of respect in the music business. I call this one "Santa Fe Heat."
Those bright farolitos remind me of Cheetos,As the Santa Fe sun sets in townAnd the old señoritos make a pie out of FritosWhile I pray for some rain to come downI’m here with my perro, if I had dinero,I’d buy him a banquet of meatBut as long as we’re here, the answer is clear,We’ll broil in the Santa Fe heat
That Santa Fe heat, oh it’s hot at the PlazaThat Santa Fe heat, it’s hotter than mostIf I ain’t comfy here, then I ain’t comfy nowhereThat Santa Fe heat, when my skin starts to roastThe Sangre de Cristos have beautiful vistosBut crap, is the weather here hotIf it weren’t for that wall, I’d hear Mexico’s call,And get me away from this droughtOh, in las Golondrinas, this guy lost his…
Wait! You're stopping me here? What? Just because señoritos and vistos aren't really words? That's harsh! Well, you should've let me finish, because that Golondrinas rhyme would have put us on the map! It could have been the city anthem this town has needed for 400 years, but now it's gone.
And, as all of us are starting to realize, you don't know what you've got till it's gone.
Robert Basler’s humor column runs twice monthly in SFR. Email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org