Cowboy Grizzly – COVID-19 and Hold You Up
Some lucky people remember only the good times and refuse to dwell on their tragedies. My family is not among that group.
Wherever two or more of my ancient ancestors gather together, the air becomes fetid with tales of the suffering experienced by the long-expired. The great-grandfather who died from an overdose of chloral hydrate. The cousin who died of lupus. The cousin who died on a motorcycle. The grandfather who was electrocuted on the same day that his sister-in-law died of tuberculosis. And my favorite: the uncle who was bitten by a rabid cat and then died in Central State Mental Hospital.
My family focuses on its own grief; the agonies of outsiders are rarely mentioned. Wars, depressions, famines, plagues of locusts, and past pandemics are only backdrops, the scenery that our ancestral actors chewed as their fat lady sang. The problems of every other person on the planet must be chronicled by someone else.
Cowboy Grizzly has penned a pair of songs — ‘COVID-19’ and ‘Hold You Up’ — that address our present predicament with the insight of one who understands the broader human condition with more empathy than my predecessors could have ever hoped to grasp.
‘COVID-19’ was released on March 20, back in those sepia-tinged times when we figured that all we had to do was wash our hands for twenty seconds several times a day and resist the urge to touch our own face.
This song came to me after experiencing a few days of quarantine-induced paranoia, Cowboy Grizzly writes on Bandcamp. The Coronavirus pandemic is no joke, but I figured I would try to make light of the situation and get some of my feelings about it out in musical form! Remember to wash ya filthy hands and keep social distancing, we’re gonna get through this!
Tear off the calendar page, and shit’s gotten major league real. ‘Hold You Up,’ released April 12, reflects how life has changed in ways that few of us could have dreamed only three weeks earlier.
They say hard times create harder men
This isn’t somewhere that we’ve been
Fighting over toilet paper
A young mama with no bread
Struggling to keep her children fed
What will we do?
From the Bandcamp notes: I wrote this song after losing my job to the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeing that 281,000 people had filed for unemployment that week, a record high at the time, which has only gotten higher as time has gone on. There are so many people in the same position as myself, and I wonder what we will do to fight this virus and the damage that it has caused! Hope you can take something from this song, God Bless ya!
And while we may not be re-experiencing the Great Depression, we are definitely living through the Pretty Shitty Depression.
The grocery’s empty
Depression’s gotta hold on me
It’s not so Great, pretty shitty
And I feel like I’m Dying
Cowboy Grizzly is Grant McMahan of Austin TX. We’ve been fans of Grant since the release of his first LP, Mockingbird, which was our Album of the Year back in 2018. Today’s tracks mark Cowboy Grizzly’s fifth appearance in these pages. We have previously featured ‘Wash Away,’ ‘Southern Rider,’ ‘For the Moment,’ and ‘Stainless / Lovely Lady Night.’ The latter is a special treat: Cowboy Grizzly covers Wild Daydream’s ‘Lovely Lady Night’ while Wild Daydream covers Cowboy Grizzly’s ‘Stainless.’
Cowboy Grizzly’s music is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music. Grant tells me that he has some new tracks coming out on Friday, when Bandcamp will once again be waiving their revenue share on all sales. I’m sure Grant wouldn’t mind if you wait until then to buy his tunes. In the meantime, be sure to follow Cowboy Grizzly on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.