By way of introduction, a tale of synchronicity:
In early December, during the first cold spell of the season but before the rain and snow descended upon us here in southern California, I made a drive up to the Ridgecrest branch of the Kern County Superior Court. This involved a drive of some 150 miles each way, most of it along California Highway 14, which works its way up through the high desert and eventually north along the eastern front of the Sierra Nevada. I took along a collection of CDs for company, including Ken Layne & the Corvids' Fought Down, which I have been listening to regularly and with pleasure for over a year now. As I approached the town of Mojave around 8:00 that morning, desert temperatures hovering at or below freezing, the Corvids were working through "Glitter On," and Ken Layne was singing mysteriously,
Silver Queen on the 14
And you can't escape me . . .
and there before my eyes was this sign. I still have no idea what this forlorn spot means to him (enough for him to name his music publishing company for it, too), but at least I now know what he's singing about in that lyric.
Here ends the introduction, which brings us to the latest Ken Layne project,
a weblog-like site devoted to exactly that: the roads, backroads, roadsides and roadhouses of the West. Anyone who lives out here, or plans or desires to visit the big vasties of this side of the country, will likely find something interesting. In the early going, Ken has reported on towns such as Bishop, California, and Moab, Utah (which I'll be passing through with the family in June), and on western phenomena such as roadrunners, bristlecones and Wyoming's Official Critter: The Jackalope. Today, he links a terrific collection of panoramic photos that should make you all want to hop in your cars and explore.
Ken Layne writes at least as well as he sings -- or better, depending on your tastes -- and we should all click through frequently to encourage him.