Across The Rubicon

Dustin Welch, Super Rooster Music (SESAC); Jeremy Nail, Lazy Pendejo Music (BMI)

Stepped outside on my front porch this morning and lit a cigarette
I was putting all the pieces back together but hadn’t got it yet
Sometimes I need a minute for my eyes to adjust to the light
And I couldn’t quite remember what it was that kept me up all night

I woke up from the middle of a dream just as dawn began to break
Slowly it is starting to sink in, suddenly I’m wide awake
There was a dark storm that was closing in on us, all the light disappeared
You said something about staying on the move or else you’d die right here

Now the water’s rise on the river wide
You’ve already gone across the Rubicon
But you will catch me coming around
Once the sediment settles down
And I will brave the narrows deep
Just to sweep you off your feet

Now there comes a time when nothing is for certain and you’re working ‘gainst the clock
The worst ain’t ever over till you’re all alone and sober taking stock
But when we’re out of explanations, we turn all of our questions to the sky
As I stand beneath the heavens, I swear this valley won’t run dry

Repeat Chorus

Dustin Welch: lead vocals, acoustic guitar; Jeremy Nail: electric and acoustic guitar, background vocals; Scotty Bucklin: piano; Trisha Keefer: violin; Steve Bernal: bass, background vocals; Eldridge Goins: drums, percussion, background vocals; Nathan Singleton: background vocals

I first met Jeremy Nail a few months after moving to Austin in 2008. I was running sound at a club called Momo’s downtown, and his band came in and played late one night to a handful of people. I’ll never forget it. Every song was like listening to a record, great arrangements, great writing, and his voice was so pure and heartfelt. I basically insisted that we begin writing together. He moved into this great place around the corner from where I was living in a house Brian Keane was building with Colin Brooks, both formerly of the Band Of Heathen’s. I spent a lot of time over at Jeremy’s, and we wrote a ton of stuff in those first few months. The first verse of this song kinda fell out of us and then promptly went nowhere. I think we had a whole different melody to it as well.

A couple years later, I was basically living out of my truck and sometimes crashing at my sister Savannah’s place where she lived with her fellow Trisha bandmate, Kelley Mickwee. The girls were just getting their band going and I set out to write something good for their big harmony sound. I wrote the chorus and the last verse and then like magic, was able to plug in the cool little thing Jeremy and I had written. The girls never got too far with it, but it had legs of its own enough to work for me.

The title comes from the river that Caesar crossed before invading Rome, which in the modern lexicon has become synonymous with ‘the point of no return’. Once he ‘crossed the Rubicon’ he’d essentially announced their intentions and there was no turning back. The conflict in this story isn’t uncommon; the narrator’s a wreck, his lover can’t take it anymore and splits, leaving him with a choice to turn his life around or drown in his misery. My characters generally have to suffer a great deal to achieve victory. To me, the classic hero’s tale is one of being dragged through the pits of hell, or having to ‘brave the narrows deep’, with virtually no chance of redemption but one tiny glimmer of hope to guide them, and still manage to maintain an almost insane resolute determination to succeed.