“Everything hurts, everything aches, everything’s bad, everything sucks, everything’s wrong.
Everything’s dull, everything’s gray, everything’s sad, everything drags on so long.”

2020. We’ve seen all the memes. Between boredom, suffering and dread, it feels fair to say that no one alive has ever gone through a year like it. And, except for the small detail that it was actually written more than twenty years ago, the above lyrical opening from the criminally underappreciated alt-country/alt-rock titans, The Bottle Rockets, seems for many of us like a reasonably apropos description of where we’re at. Band songwriter, Brian Henneman, in fact, is unmistakably suited for these times: Out of a boulder of misery, he can reliably still chisel a rock and roll jewel.

In two weeks we’ll have an election. And then, whichever way the outcome goes, who the hell knows what awaits us. But, one way or another, unless the just-received warnings from Neil DeGrasse Tyson of a coming asteroid strike manage to stop things short, under two months later the annual calendar will get flipped. Few, other than Zoom and Purell investors, will mourn the end of 2020. With auburn leaves and the temperature now both inexorably dropping, I can at last see the 2021 light at the end of the tunnel. As the saying goes, we can only hope that it’s not a train.

The song, ‘I’ve Been Dying,’ is, coincidentally, from The Bottle Rockets’ scorching 1998 album, “Brand New Year.” Bring it on, boys. Please.