Track 5 - 19th C

Let it be known that I was a fan of the six-part A&E Pride and Prejudice mini-series before it was cool.

Anyway, I used to always announce this song by saying, “This song is about Jane Austen.” Often when I announce a song by saying, “This song is about . . .”, whatever follows is invented on the spot. (If you listened to the previous track, “Home”, you can hear an example of this.) However, this song was indeed inspired by Jane Austen, more or less.

I was sitting on the front steps of my friends' house, waiting to attend a professional baseball game. At the time I was living roughly 30 miles away from these friends. I thought about how in the Jane Austen's books, a visit to friends that lived 30 miles away was a visit of a least a week, if not the whole season, rather than an afternoon. So, the first line of the song appeared in my mind. Similarly to “Bitter/Better”, I liked the rhythm of this line and it had enough momentum for my imagination to carry it through the rest of the song.

I do love Jane Austen. I am aware that part of the appeal for me is my idealized, romantic view of a time period not my own. When I read (or watch) Pride and Prejudice, I do not think about the silent, ever-present servants. I don't think about the classes of people that had to exist to support the leisure class characters I'm reading about. I think about how Elizabeth lets rip constant zingers and how well Darcy writes that one letter. This is where the rest of the song comes from.

“19th C” is an early example of “songcraft” in my work, I think. I had a clear mental concept and I did what I could to execute it lyrically. I used a super simple pop chorus (something I'm not the best at) and the most standard of pop song forms (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus). I think it came off pretty well. This particular performance is the result of playing this song in every set for years. It is quick and clean. Sometimes I forget about songs I've written. I had forgotten about this song. But hearing it again, especially this confident performance, I really like it.