Conventional songwriting wisdom says to “write what you know,” but sometimes, the best inspiration comes from finding out what other people know, then writing about that. This was the case for the Houston, Texas-based Americana/folk band Market Junction with their latest single, “Nebraska,” which is being released on May 29.
In this case, frontman Matt Parrish was channeling his former brother-in-law’s life experiences. “After my divorce, my ex-wife’s brother moved in as a roommate to help pay the mortgage,” Parrish says. “When the house sold, he moved off and got a job with the railroad. They sent him all over the country and I rarely saw him. We were catching up on the phone one day while he was working the rail in the middle of nowhere. So I asked what it’s like out there. He said, ‘If you don’t love wind or dust or corn, then there is no reason to visit a place like this.’ That line hit me in a special way and was the genesis for us to write the song.” The resulting ballad seems to perfectly capture this sense of lonely restlessness.
“Nebraska” is taken from Burning Bridges, Market Junction’s third full-length album, which will be released on August 7. The album features the kind of deft songwriting that has earned Parrish and guitarist/keyboardist Justin Lofton accolades since the band’s debut album, Heroes Have Gravestones, in 2012. Between the two of them, they have won or placed as finalists in every songwriting competition they have ever entered, totaling around a dozen or so, including the 2019 Southwest Folk Alliance Showcase Artist.
The lyrics on “Nebraska” seem particularly poignant. As Parrish explains them: “Home is not a place. It is a connection to another person. When you lose those people, you feel uprooted, disconnected, and lost. Being out on the road is hard on a relationship, yet the constant war inside us wages between the dreams we chase and the people we love. Sometimes the road wins and we are left with nothing but our own wanderlust.”
Market Junction’s lineup features Parrish on lead vocals and acoustic guitar; Lofton on background vocals, guitar, mandola, lap steep, and keys; Taylor Hilyard on bass; and Michael Blattel on drums. Using a mandola was actually not Lofton’s original choice at all: “Justin plays mandolin but needed a new one. When it arrived, it was actually a mandola and the seller was giving him a hard time about returning it, so he just learned to play it,” and that is how it came to be used on the album.
Coming up, Market Junction have shows planned starting on July 4 and running through the end of September – those dates and details can be found at their official website: https://marketjunction.net/