High afar on a rust colored ridge Stares a transparent rider who’s fixed upon my gaze. He whistles past his saddle cutting through the morning haze. I can hear his dirge repeating, counting out my days.
Oh, I think that I can see. The features of an empty man straining to be free. “Please come to me.” His call. So enticing.
I saw his specter rising when I crossed into my teens. On his back a star-bound satchel laden with my dreams.
Oh, I think I can hear. The pleadings of a hollow man cries a silent tear. “Please come be near.” His voice. Without fear.
Crossing deeper water, treading through the sinking light Brings a galloping reminder of wrong turns taken right.
Oh, his scent fills the air. His ashes rise and burn for me to climb the final stair. “Please come be me.” He waves. Come and see.
Behind The Music
Behind The Music
What’s special about this tune for The Juantanamos is, it marks the very first collaboration between John and Ryan.
John showed Ryan the Dm / F / C progression he had been working on, inspired by “John Barleycorn Must Die” by Traffic and, from there, Ryan and John wrote the chorus riff together.
After writing the music, the two started pondering where to take the lyrics. What does this song mean? It almost sounded like a tune you would hear in an old Western like “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid”; but it also had a haunting, ghostly quality to it.
For Ryan, it evoked images of Roland Deschain – the main character from Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series – being chased across the desert by The Man In Black.
From that imagery, Ryan dreamed up a metaphor for all life: each of us is like that rider – riding hard across the desert, carrying our hopes and dreams in a never-ending pursuit; always trying to stay one step ahead of our pursuer – Death.
John took those ideas and started writing the lyrics on his way to the Reno Air Races. That afternoon at the races, a terrible crash occurred involving an airplane named…Galloping Ghost.
Eerily, the name of the airplane evoked similar imagery to the lyrics John was already writing and so he decided to name the song “Galloping Ghost” – in tribute to the airplane struck by tragedy that fateful day.
In the end, the Man In Black catches us all. The question is…how fast and how far can you ride before he does?