There is a Chris Whitley song called Bordertown off his first stellar recording ‘Living with the Law’, that has lyrics that are almost surreal in places. When the record came out, some critics faulted this song and its lyrics because they didn’t quite get it. I liked this song immediately– nothing like a border town to make one feel like their string has been played out. Like they are at the beginning or the end of something or somewhere. They seem way stations–places like Laredo or Juarez , or El Paso–places that are not quite America and not quite Mexico. The landscape is merciless. Scrub trees, tar-paper shacks, barbed wire, and roadkill; it is a limbo of the spirit and yet has its own kind of gray world beauty.
This piece is called ‘The Viper Tree.’ It is about those places where somebody’s world ends every day.