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There's a great book called "Blue Highways" by William Least Heat Moon, about dropping out of society and going on the road, always taking the back roads which are marked in blue on the old road maps. That was one inspiration for the lyrics, along with memories of late night drives and long road trips of my own, especially the particular feeling you get when you leave Southern California going south, and realize you'll soon be in Mexico. The phrase "gettin' on to sunset" could mean both the time of day, and literally turning on to Sunset Boulevard, headed towards downtown and beyond.

Originally, the song borrowed the title from the book and was called "Blue Highways" but a few years earlier I had already co-written a song called "Blue Lizard Highway", for a collaboration between myself (librettist), composer Marc Ream, the Peruvian National Ballet and a modern dance company from San Jose. (You can hear that track on the Marc Ream collection on this site.) It didn't matter so much until I started putting together this comprehensive archive of all my different projects, at which point the similiarity of the titles bothered me. I always in my mind kind of thought of it as "the all night driving song" anyway, and that's what it is, so I think this is a better title in the end.


Gettin' on to Sunset
Soon the prince of the sky is bedding down
Ocean in the distance
Tide turns away from town
City hummin' like a crazy jewel
Coyote moon rising overhead
I know I'm gonna
I know I'm gonna be there soon
I'll drive, I'll drive, I'll drive
All the night
Headlines shinin' on the cat-eyes
Only take the blue highways
Pickin' up the Tijuana stations
And the money-preachers
Cracklin' radio - that's the sound the road makes
I'll drive, I'll drive, I'll drive
All the night
Coyote moon risin' overhead
I know I'm gonna be there soon
Headlines shinin' on the cat-eyes
Only take the blue highways


from Shimmer (Los Angeles 1994​-​2003), track released August 30, 2002
W.C. Harlan, guitar and drum programming
Jake Rivera, bass guitar
Remastered by Kai Schluenz, Katapult Tonstudio, Karlsruhe




Diana Rosalind New Orleans, Louisiana

After being discovered by Bobby McFerrin as a young vocal improviser in San Francisco, I spent some years writing and performing with ensembles that remain important in the history of Bay Area arts, then did time tangling with the music biz in LA & NYC, followed by a decade in Europe, recording all the while, before coming "home" to NOLA. This is a partial musical record of that journey. ... more

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