“Trouble in Mind” by Willy Gantrim
This mad & arty dive-bar lyricist roils the very membranes of one’s innermost wants & desires; his is a top-shelf brand of bottomed-out blues, a Tom Waits-level weirdo whose rambling voice, when it breaks, breaks your heart. I caught Willy at a small show here in Brooklyn & thought, Why the hell isn’t this kid famous? A mere minor error in accounting that’ll one day catch up to him in a big way, & make those of us in the know prideful but petulant as others champion our secret.This particular song I’ve chosen, “Trouble In Mind,” is a sad-dog wallowing honky-tonk sort of pain & heartbreak channeled through a symbolist fantasy. A bus explodes, an injured insect steals your watch, and a mime with a pen-knife in his back appears bleeding at your window. It’s all very strange & hilarious, but sung so earnestly you can’t help but feel these poor souls are stand-ins for a barrage of terrible common truths we all experience. & in our choruses, an act of resilience: “The trigger’s at your finger, but hope impedes your aim.”Download everything Gantrim has ever recorded & binge-listen on a sweet-windy Sunday afternoon.
Joe Pan is the author of Hiccups (Augury Books) and Autobiomythography & Gallery (BAP). He is the founder and publisher of Brooklyn Arts Press, serves as the fiction editor for the arts magazine Hyperallergic, and is the founder of the services-oriented activist group Brooklyn Artists Helping.