Fred Eaglesmith - "Water In The Fuel"

This post isn’t going to be any sort of official list of my favorite alt.-country songs of the 90s or anything, but it’s close. That time period and genre were crucial in my development as a music fan, and I go back to those artists, songs, and albums all the time when I need a little twang, a little insurgency, or just a little shuffle beat to pick up a slow day.

When I think of my favorite songs from that time it’s mostly the standards that spring forward. Son Volt’s “Tear Stained Eye”, The Old 97s “Timebomb”, and Uncle Tupelo’s “New Madrid” were all fixtures to nearly every mixtape I made during the last years of college and that blurry time immediately after.

But another song from that era that I consider just as great is “Water In The Fuel” by Fred Eaglesmith. While Farrar had the voice, Tweedy the spirit, and the Old 97s the spunk, Fred Eaglesmith’s classic trucker song was all about the story. I’d dare say it’s the best trucker song since “Willin’” actually. A little lost treasure at the end of his Lipstick, Lies, & Gasoline album from 1997, the song spins a heartbreaking tale of a couple separated by the endless turnpike miles. Everything about the song is perfect - Eaglesmith’s gruff vocals, the microscopic detail (“I got a left front tire throwing thread..”), the mandolin that sweeps in halfway through the song, and the image of driving a truck out on the ice and spinning it round and round. Highly, highly recommended….

MP3 :: Water In The Fuel
(from Lipstick, Lies, & Gasoline. Buy here)
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And while we’re on the subject of this song, Australian singer/songwriter Kasey Chambers recorded an unlikely cover of it as a b-side for a song from The Captain, I think. With her child-like voice she obviously doesn’t sound at all like she’s lived the song, but it’s a beautiful rendition in its own right.

MP3 :: Water In The Fuel
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2 comments:

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geekRN said...

I've been a big Fred head since the late 90s when I lived in Santa Cruz and listened to KPIG. Saw him bunch of times, but only got to hear Carmelita once (damn fine song). Water in the Fuel is a great choice, and is definitely on top of my list as well. I've loved Kasey's version for many many years; looks like it was on "The Captain - Bonus Disc", along with "Freight Train."
(found you through hypem.com when searching for Kasey to find a version of this song as a matter of fact)