Chicago-based band sings about a couple of dysfunctional parents from the Salt City:
Unlikely as it may seem, one of the most popular tunes performed by a Chicago-based band is a song titled "Syracuse."
When Windy City guitarist James Weigel wrote the song a half-decade ago he had yet to visit the Salt City. His inspiration was not our bedraggled burg itself but a pair of our rowdier residents. A young couple who lived here had crashed at a communal home of musicians, including the songwriter, and their devil-may-care behavior inspired his tune.
The guy and gal, who drove a new SUV, had a baby boy with them when they visited the Midwest. Raising a child, Weigel noted, didn't stop those poor little rich kids from their primary pursuit -- getting high.
The song depicts the couple driving back home to Syracuse from Illinois. It features a catchy chorus with the lyrics: "And when you get back home to Syracuse/ You can rest your weary head/ Take some pills, sniff some cocaine,/ Put the baby to bed."
Now, some six years after writing the song, Weigel can be seen performing "Syracuse" on YouTube.com with his neo-bluegrass band, the Henhouse Prowlers also known as Sexfist. Despite its upbeat rhythm, it's a dark and brooding composition, a bitter slice of life prompted by a couple of wayward parents from our home town.
The tune's description on YouTube describes it as "a poignant and riveting song about a young couple's propensity for drug use while raising a newborn child."
Weigel's composition, one of the tracks on the Henhouse Prowler's self-titled debut disc, will also be played this Sunday night, Nov. 16, on Bill Knowlton's "Bluegrass Ramble" radio show which airs from 9 p.m. to midnight on WCNY-FM 91.3.
Story behind the song