I'm going to come right out and acknowledge the elephant in the room. Yes, Pontiacs by Texas John Baumann is a startling 9 minute song.
Now that that's out of the way, we can focus on why this song is worth nine minutes of your time. John Baumann's increase in popularity has not been by accident. If you listen to Here I Come off his latest album, Proving Grounds, you will learn a little about his quest to become a fulltime country poet. The admittedly shallow-surface scratching songs he used to pen failed to satisfy him. Some artists may have become content because they wrote some songs and maybe their family stroked their ego. Not Baumann. He mentions writing nearly 200 songs before one finally hit home. The songs that pull at our heart strings and leave those lasting impressions. The songs that every artist strives to write and put them on the map.
While there are many songs that I could have discussed, I felt compelled to spend some time showcasing Pontiacs because of what it stands for. As someone not too much younger than John Baumann, I found this nostalgia filled song incredibly relatable. Many of us in our mid to late twenties begin to feel the yearning for our childhood again. We begin to regret wishing time would speed up as our parents and teacher predicted. We always wanted to stay up later, "leave this town", or get away from the cliques of high school. Later it began about the good times in college and ultimately wanting to "Just get a real job." Yeah, we're all guilty of this. It's human nature to want to keep moving onto the next best thing, but little did we realize how much we would crave for those day back.
From the days of being the warriors of the street on our two wheels, to playing pick-up games of baseball, we were growing up faster up than we thought. We became busier and more involved with the opposite sex as the pressures of dating came into play. Like the Acela train, gone in a flash. College graduations, journeymen and women in the trades, more hours at work. Everything just coming at us in the blink of an eye, leaving us feeling as if we had no time to enjoy ourselves.
I catch myself looking back at my more youthful days and wondering what I'd change. I worked a ton of hours (usually more than 40 between jobs plus full time student) which left me with little free time. What time I had was precious and I had to savor it as I knew I wanted to pay down college, pay all my bills and be responsible. Do I regret my choice to work that much? No, especially having recently paid off my student loans in barely 3 years, but I certainly missed out on a lot of things some of my friends got to enjoy.
Pontiacs will make you reflect on your fleeting youth and question if you grew up to fast. While there is no measure of certainty if we were able to take full advantage of those days, it's completely natural. Something may remind us of a childhood experience and make us smile fondly. Some memories may make you want to cry or become over-run with anger. No matter the case, it's a reminder that as life goes on, we will always look back and wish for the past. The key is to prioritize living in the present and take advantage of the short time we have in life. Putting off things until tomorrow quickly becomes last month and then a decade before we know it. Slow down, savor life and have no regrets.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
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