There are times in your life when you remember right where you were, and what you were doing when you first heard a bit of music. This is the case for me with the song we are featuring in this week’s edition of Nativology Vol. 2.
Mat Hutt’s dad, Sam Hutt, sometimes known as Hank Wangford strolled into the apartment Mat & I shared on 16th Street, told us he’d written a song on the flight over from the UK, picked up a guitar and played us this brilliant tune. It was full of wistful, faraway chords, haunting melodies, and the loveliest poetry.
I was sitting on our couch, quite probably with my mouth hanging open in sheer awe at the effortlessness Sam displayed in his performance, especially in light of the fact that he’d had no guitar on the plane. That moment forever defined the the long road I’d be on to be a real songwriter, not just somebody poking around with some chords and random words.
It was also at this the time of this visit that Sam asked a very cogent question as we viewed an old gangster serial — why do gangster’s henchmen simply accept their orders to go knock off an adversary? Or, as Sam put it, “How come nobody ever asks ‘And then what’?”
Years later, that question (sans question mark) would become the title of our third studio album.
I tell that story, not as a digression, but to illustrate how long we’d hang on to good ideas before incorporating them into our work.
It would be years before Native took up the song. But, once we did it became a tentpole of our shows, often popping up at the end. And there was little that could follow it.
When I produced the Exhale On Spring Street album, I somehow left off Sam’s writer credit — a fact that I regret every time I hear it. So, let me publicly apologize to Sam for the egregious oversight. It was not a slight, but rather a mistake made by someone just a bit over his head on his first album production. I’m truly sorry for it, Sam!!!
This version is our demo from 1996, featuring Mr. John Watts on keyboards. And, just as it served as a closer to our sets, the same is true today as it will be the final song in this volume of Nativology.
We will resume our scouring of the Native Tape Vault with Vol. 3 in the coming months. In the meantime, we are preparing a live album release, the details of which will be disclosed soon.
But, for now, sit back and enjoy a tour of the beautiful, rocky shores of —