• Fredy Rivas

Guitar Sounds and New Morning Streets: the Old Tunes of Peace River

Actualizado: 2 de abr de 2020



Shake Buzz´s hand

It´s 10 o’ clock in the morning. The pub next to our motel –a small contruction at the entrance of the town– at this hour seems like an exhausted dog taking a deep nap after a nervous night. From the other side of the street everything look quiet and calm and every single bird, surely flying from their homes in the near forest, wistles a little bit as passing over the town. ‘It´s good to be here’, say Fredy, taking on account the sunny day and the promise of a dry weather.





Inside the restaurant things get a little bit noisy. Senior fellas read the newspapers on high voice and then commented their opinions with their seat companions. All is groaning, laughing and new country music as sound track. The aspect of our breakfast it´s a kind of material projection of the sound dynamics in the place: colorful omelettes, shiny and clear-edged cubes of fried potatoes. A greasy feast for our hungry mouths.


Up to here, sound and music were an unconscious presence for us while driving through the highway II; something as natural and unconsciously atmospheric as the fragance of the air on the fields and the plains. But this morning something different happens. Every note, every noise, it´s a thread of a universal tapestry hanging over the heads of Peace River. If you pay attention and listen to the air it´s possible to hear the hiss and the bliss coming from the yellow-red forest surrounding the town, and then you come around that people voices and chatter it´s a kind of chorus or antiphone of the wood´s vocal register. Oh, yes! Peace River´s wood sing and talk, and his voice is as sweet and graspy as that of the old fellas comenting disdainly the news of the world outside. Even, you would say, the wood sing and talk through the old fellas and every living person breathing there.


You can reinforce that intuitions just getting outside at 10 o´clock in the morning and walking to and fro for a little while. Town buildings, in the valley, look like the very continuation of the courtain of trees protecting kindly the perimeter of Peace River. Doesn´t look like a little city stealing ground from nature. It looks like a shiny bird nest holded and supported by the woods. And then, a few blocks after leaving your motel, you could find a local bard named Buzz. At 10 o’ Clock Buzz is playing his guitar seated by the sidewalk, as an early bird saying feasting the morning. He plays tons of Tom Petty songs –some of them authentic anthems to the life in little towns and reminders of warm and nostalgic cabins in the outdoors–, but suddenly he could decide to take a break in his everyday setlist to sing his own songs, and then play for you –if you´re lucky enough– ‘Robot Love’. If you’re lucky enough and in tune with the sonic spirit of Peace River, you could hear the wooden grain in his voice and the freedom of his guts, a freedom that mirrors the gentle and enlivening air of a Peace River morning.


Finally, if you shake Buzz´s hand and say thanks for his present, you could hear -if you´re the luckiest man of the our, of the day and of the season-, the more sincere, glowing and fresh phrase ever said by a folk star: ‘you´re a gentle man, brother!’.


Juan Carlos Montero Vallejo.

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