Dinkytown Square
by Steve Krum and Memphis Evans

Command-click here to play the song in a separate window while you read about it.

In December 2021, Steve Krum of the Rivertown Rats sent me some questions about a song he was working on. I answered the questions as best I could but also asked him to send me a demo. I was so excited about it. It immediately made me think of "Song of the Rivertown Rats” from their absolutely essential album Blue Sundress. I answered back:

"Aw dang! This is gonna be one of those great, evocative Steve Krum numbers about a special period of time that has all but vanished."

And so it is! We sent various revisions back and forth over the course of the next two or three months and arrived at this. While I was practicing for the livestream I noticed I could include a call out to Steve's song "Northern Lights" with "the narrow bridge from this world to the next" and not have to sacrifice meter or meaning so that was pretty neat.

I tried out my new Akai Electronic Wind Instrument in lieu of Scrappy playing a flute solo, which obviously would be preferred.

Lyrics:

I stood in line for breakfast at that hole-in-the-wall cafe
Spent some time poking 'round the music store
I crossed 4th Street to the cobbler's mall where I heard a busker play
I joined the crowd that was gathered 'round a door

A single stair his only stage with some chips in the cement
In a doorway where the door was always locked
Something in his clothes, his skin, his voice, and his intent
Made the people stop and listen as they walked

It seems like only yesterday
But it's just a memory
of times ago and things no longer there
In dreams I still find it
and I wish that I could be
on that corner in Dinkytown Square
on that corner in Dinkytown Square

The hipsters and the tipsters and the students of the street
Saw he thought every song he sang was true
Around the gravel in his voice, his calloused hands, his tapping feet
They huddled in and they believed it too

He picked up a guitar when he put down his gun
after serving overseas with the corps
Now he plays Pancho and Lefty, he plays House of the Rising Sun
and songs about his own civil war
His civil war

Instrumental

We shared this moment in the warmth of an Autumn afternoon
Then each of us went off our separate way
The busker knows the winter wind and cold are coming soon
And he'll need to find a warmer place to play

He could stand inside the narrow bridge from this world to the next
Or downtown in the skyway now and then
He might just settle in his room and take a little rest
'Til the snow is gone and the sidewalk's warm again
warm again

It seems like only yesterday
It's just a memory
of times ago and things no longer there
In dreams I still find it
and I wish that I could be
on that corner in Dinkytown square
on that corner in Dinkytown square

Next song: The Law of Love Law

Episode 4 Index

Livestream Season 2 index

Memphis Evans Home