Song 55 – Brothers

Way back when I was a kid, my brothers and I used to stop off at the Hollow Rock Filling Station on Erwin Road, the unofficial “back road” between Chapel Hill and Durham. It was an old, dusty place with a wooden bench in front. We’d sit on the bench and drink Coke from those large 16oz glass bottles that you don’t see too much of these days. After we emptied the bottles, we’d entertain ourselves by sucking all of the air out of the bottles and getting them stuck to our tongues. Once this became too easy, we tried sticking the bottles to our cheeks. This left a perfectly circular “hicky” on the side of our faces, but we didn’t mind. Mostly, though, we just talked, told jokes and watched the cars go by.

Years past and my brothers moved away and the filling station eventually closed down. The site was demolished and is now so overgrown you’d never know what was once there.

Here’s where the Hollow Rock Filling Station used to be. The trees have filled in pretty well. You can see my car parked on the side of the road just passed the “No Parking” sign.

I still drive past the empty lot where the gas station was from time to time and I always remember the good times I had there. A few months ago I drove by and the first part of the chorus came to me. I sang “A different place, a different time…” over and over until I got home. About a month later, again, while driving past the same spot, the second half of the chorus came to me. The next time I passed over the New Hope Creek bridge (the creek is featured in the video), which is right below where the gas station was, the verses popped into my mouth. The rest was easy, for me at least, all I had to do was sing. Dean Herington played clarinet, David Digiuseppe played accordion and mandolin and Hank Marr played upright bass. Getting to record these guys play one of my songs was one of the biggest treats in this whole “song-of-the-month” project. My instructions were “play what you feel”. That’s all it took from me. I hit record and they brought the magic!

Poe helped record the song by sniffing all of the instrument cases.

Folks, it’s been a great month. When I wasn’t recording, I went hiking in the mountains with my sister and her son. If you’d like to sing or play along with this tune, here’s the song sheet.

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