The Champion

I read Gilgamesh, translation by Stephen Mitchell (who brought Rilke to life for me). It's one of the oldest written stories, from around 7BC. I was fascinated reading it, thinking that a story so old would have some insights into some sort of purer human essence. How was society before some of the rules we assume now? I was thinking of the temple prostitute, how these women were considered priestesses. I was thinking of sex as a sort of spiritual strengthening practice, of life before Christianity's taboos. I was thinking of Hesse's Siddhartha, and his time spent learning the tantra as a step on the path to enlightenment. I was missing my man, who travels a lot.

I wasn't sure this song would come together at all, it was in fragment form when I got to Rob's studio. Once we decided that this was the song that the great Kenny Preston was going to play harmonica on, it all came together quickly. I really needed to have Kenny on this record. We had written a song together that didn't make it on the album, and I had it set in my head that he was going to play on this album. It worked out perfectly, his haunting harp running through the song, giving it some kind of ethereal and eerie quality. It informed everything else that happens in the song. Thanks Kenny!

Gretchen's guitar work on this one knocks me out too. Ask her what she does sometime, cause it's really cool.

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