An Alabama Road

3 Min read

Music

Writing for the senses

Songwriting

AVAILABLE ON PODCAST

SPOTIFY

Each singer stepped towards the front of the stage, put a hand on the mike, and burst into five-part harmony.

There are stars in the southern sky
Southward as you go
There is moonlight and moss in the trees
Down the seven bridges road

Seven Bridges Road by Steve Young

The guitar comes in after this verse with that soothing and famous strumming. And I’m on a winding road, down from my childhood home, across the stream and around Deer Spring, at the base of Braddock Mountain.

Do you have a seven-bridges road?

I looked it up. Steve Young wrote the song and was thinking–get this, surprise surprise–about a girl. It’s a real place, this road in Alabama, like that corner in Winslow, Arizona from another Eagles song. Anyway, Young had been there, riding south of Montgomery on the way to Cloverdale.

*

Daytime shot of Woodley Road (Country Road 39) south of Montgomery which inspired Steve Young’s song (Source: Googlemaps)

Got to thinking about the Alabama folks I know and how we’re tied to the land. The sensual language, moonlight and moss in the trees, puts us there. After the first verse the guitar kicks in and the Eagles–who made the song famous–continue:

Now I have loved you like a baby
Like some lonesome child
And I have loved you in a tame way
And I have loved you wild

2nd verse

Tame and wild. Like a baby and like a child. What loving is like through the ages and the stages, traveling this two-lane road across bridges, moving on in life and love, counting the crossings.

Sometimes there’s a part of me
Has to turn from here and go
Running like a child from these warm stars
Down the seven bridges road

3rd verse

Warm stars and running like a child, turning from here to go. The senses are awakened, way up there in the stars, the warmth and comfort of the southern sky. Heading southward.

There are stars in the southern sky
And if ever you decide you should go
There is a taste of thyme sweetened honey
Down the seven bridges road

4th and last verse

At the close, the lyrics implicate us: if ever YOU decide you should go. The taste of this journey is thyme sweetened honey. Different lyrics show up online.

Time sweet as honey.

OR

Thyme-sweetened honey

Honey is sweet and thyme adds a layer of taste. Both work. Listening takes me on the winding road, the seven bridges, or however many bridges are on the road of the mind. The feeling is sweetened through the lens of memory. Nostalgia.

In four short verses every sense is heightened. The sound of voices in harmony, the taste of honey, the smell of thyme, the feel of the road and bridges moving beneath me, and the sight of moonlight in the trees and stars in the sky.

*

Video link of Seven Bridges Road (Live 2013 Remaster of Eagles) Visit site to listen. Play podcast for live clip.

*

There’s a feeling of being in the world, a personal place that I’ve been and I’m going back to in my mind. I’m moving and feeling and living and breathing. I’m hearing it in my head as I sit on the couch.

The band played tribute* to the Eagles with hits like this and tunes I hadn’t heard in years. The guitarist let loose on a solo, the spotlight on him, a half dozen guitars lined up behind, like rifles in a rack. He shot his arm into the air and snapped his fingers towards the audience.

Like stardust the speck arced out and I put up my hand. My husband did the same and closed his as I closed mine.

“Got it!” He opened his fist and there it was, in his palm.

A moon-silver pick. It’s a crazy thing, coming to me off that Palace stage into a theater filled with people, like a gift from the universe.

*

Like moonlight in the trees, this pick found its way to me.

*

FOOTNOTES

*Many musicians cover this classic written by Steve Young.

*Best of the Eagles is a tribute band and the guitarist that night who sent that bit of cosmic dust (Johnny B’s Pick) my way was John Bushnell. I include an audio clip from the concert in the podcast of this tune, which stood out for me and has stuck with me since. The guitarist was incredible and played a double neck guitar for Hotel California.

*Spa Guy on the Real Seven Bridges Road, (Alabama’s Woodley Road ) — He counts the bridges and looks for moss in the trees. If you’re from Alabama, or you like the Eagles, or you’re just plain curious, it’s a fun ride and Spa Guy has a surprise well worth the wait at the end. He’s local I think and has a lovely southern drawl.

*Home Free Vocal Band, acapella version of Seven Bridges Road.

*Seven Bridges Road by Steve Young

There are stars in the southern sky
Southward as you go
There is moonlight and moss in the trees
Down the seven bridges road

Now I have loved you like a baby
Like some lonesome child
And I have loved you in a tame way
And I have loved you wild

Sometimes there’s a part of me
Has to turn from here and go
Running like a child from these warm stars
Down the seven bridges road

There are stars in the southern sky
And if ever you decide you should go
There is a taste of thyme sweetened honey
Down the seven bridges road

Feb 4, 2024

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About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

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