When Koe Wetzel released his highly-anticipated new album Harold Saul High back in June, pretty much by surprise, the fans immediately grabbed hold to track #13, affectionately titled, “Ragweed.”
Paying homage to the great Cross Canadian Ragweed, “Ragweed” is at its heart a love song, one built on a shared affection, reminiscence, and longing for the days back before the Oklahoma band called it quits in 2010.
The song immediately connected with fans, it became the most streamed song in Texas that week, and it prompted a zillion tweets just like this one.
Now Parker McCollum probably wasn’t the first person to make this connection, but at 13.4 thousand likes, there’s no doubt about it that “Ragweed” is hitting home for Turnpike Troubadours fans as well. Of course, Turnpike announced their “indefinite hiatus” back in May after a string of canceled shows and Evan Felker’s clearly intoxicated performance in Guthrie, Oklahoma. We’re not sure if, and when, Turnpike we’ll be back, but much like Cross Canadian Ragweed, we’re missing them like crazy.
Hopefully, Evan gets the help he needs and they can make a comeback. Parker himself even offered to fill in for Evan while he takes time to heal, but as we all know, and I’m sure Parker would agree, Evan is irreplaceable.
I have admittedly been on one helluva Turnpike kick lately. I’ve been diving back into some older stuff, replaying some of my all-time favorites like “Good Lord Lorrie,” falling in love with deep cuts that I might have missed over the years, songs like “Morgan Street.” I find myself watching old performances and trying to relive the shows I’ve seen in the past few years, and of course playing the shit out of that Koe record too. But now, every time I hear “Ragweed,” I can’t help but think of Turnpike as well.
I love the way music can bond people. We identify with the message and come together, united in a specific truth that we all share. But I also love the way that a song can take on a life of its own and serve a different meaning, one that the artist may have never intended. And yet, that new meaning still bonds people together just like the original one.
So whether it’s Ragweed or it’s Turnpike, maybe it’s both and maybe it’s some other band entirely, either way, this is why I think “Ragweed” has hit home for so many fans. Just insert whatever artist or band you might be missing these days, and you’re instantly transported back in time, and at the same time, into a family of people that feel the exact same way as you do.