Friday Factory Tune: California Zephyr

By January 21, 2011Friday Factory Tune

So glad that singer/songwriters continue to write train songs. For a while you had to worry whether “City of New Orleans” would be the last.

This one is former Husker Du drummer Grant Hart performing “California Zephyr,” which namechecks many of the famous train lines. The Empire Builder!

Hart stopped off in Washington, D.C., last week for a show in the downstairs bar at the Black Cat club, with maybe 50 people in the audience. Bob Mould has had the more commercially successful post-Husker Du career, but Hart remains an appealing, quirky performer who wrote some of the best rock songs of the ’80s.

The Washington Post’s review nicely captured the evening in its review, “Grant Hart at Black Cat: Softer by Husker Du standards, but attitude still punk.” Along with the music, the audience learned that Hart was Harold Stassen’s paperboy and that he went to school with Tim Pawlenty. Boy, he does not like Tim Pawlenty.

Interestingly, there seems to be an outbreak of “California Zephyrs.” Here’s Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard performing a different tune with the same title.

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