Rye & Angostura
A songwriter never dies. Because songs live forever.
A while back, my dear friend Mark Selby lost a battle with cancer. He was too young. He was a brilliant songwriter (“Blue on Black”, “There’s Your Trouble”, etc), a killer guitar player, and had a thriving career as a blues artist. He had a wife who adored him (my friend and collaborator Tia Sillers), and they were the kind of couple that was born to be together.
Mark spent his last months on life, and the last of his earthly strength, writing and recording a final song. He and his wife Tia wrote it together, and it’s a song about life, death, joy, and pain, written with the wisdom that only someone in Mark’s situation could have. Because in the end, what else can a true songwriter do?
On the day of Mark’s death, Tia called all of his friends over to his house, and we passed the guitar around and played songs until the early hours of the morning. Then we made his funeral into a tribute benefit concert for MusicCares at City Winery, where we all performed an entire program of his songs alongside the artists who recorded them. It was beautiful and awesome and absolutely hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-raising to hear Mark’s words coming to life like that. It was like he was speaking the eulogy at his own funeral.
Then, we did one final thing. That last song Mark wrote - the one he recorded right before his death - had never been released. And it needed to be. So Tia gathered some of Mark’s friends together, and we studied the song and the way Mark sang it. Then we made a music video for it, and we became the mouths for Mark’s words. It was a hard day. But it was a beautiful day.
Mark’s wife Tia played the bartender in the video. You won’t see her much until the end, but the moment that you do…well, it will pretty much undo you. It’s worth watching all the way through.
So here is the video for “Rye and Angostura”. I hope it speaks to you.