Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 017
Sat, Feb 2nd, 2013

“The Sandman, The Brakeman, and Me [feat. M.Ward]”
Monsters of Folk


“♫ Make
way/ for
will be/ will
be/ between
the Sandman,
the Brakeman/
and me

Monsters of Folk are a postmodern Traveling Wilburys’ take on the heavy metal Monsters of Rock tours of yesteryear. Instead of just playing shows, high profile Indie rock members Conor Oberst, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Portland singer/songwriter M. Ward and Bright Eyes co-member and producer Mike Mogis decided to record an album in honor of their rare and fruitful musical alliance.

The breezy air and ocean filled nights of Malibu must have had some inspirational wonder on M.Ward. Most know Matt Ward from his critically acclaimed She and Him collaboration with actress and singer Zoey Deschanel. What makes Ward unique his is fluid more tenor and tender Tom Waits like vocal. He sounds rough yet dreamy. One of his best songs is the timeless lullaby “The Sandman, The Brakeman, and Me.” Ward’s “Sandman” sounds like a perfect melding of Jimi Hendrix’s “Hear my Train A Comin’” and John Lennon’s “Watching The Wheels.” Ward takes Hendrix’s train imagery with Lennon’s laid back dream like vocal.

Ward talked about the inspiration for “Sandman” when he told Under The Radar magazine, “I think a million different things inspired it, but if I had to say one thing, I would say [it was] the beauty of those metaphors. I’ve always loved the idea of letting off some steam. I think it’s a beautiful image, and the idea of the sandman is, as well. I’m inspired by those sort of ancient ideas. Letting your wheels go is a helpful way of looking at the imagination.

Matt’s Monsters of Folk band mates, themselves are very fond with M.Ward’s “Sandman” as they explained in this interview exchange from American Songwriter magazine.

Conor Oberst: “I personally have a great love for the song “The Sandman, The Brakeman, and Me.” I really enjoy that one. Matt’s music has always had a special quality for me. It’s kind of like an audio Xanax. If I ever feel anxiety or something, and I’m like in an airport, or some place I don’t want to be…”

Jim James: “Mmm hmm…”

CO: “I can put on, like, an M. record and I’m instantly calmer. And that song has that, that’s like a really beautiful tranquilizer shot. It makes me feel instantly as I’m in like, a wonderful dream.

Mike Mogis: “That was one of the ones that M. brought in a one-track demo of the song, and we were like, “How can we beat that?”

CO: “Yeah, it’s one of the ones where we used an element of the demo in the actual song, because the demo was so sweet.

Not only was Conor a huge fan of M.Ward’s “Sandman,” Oberst himself learned some pointers from his infamous friend from Portlandia as he explained, “I feel like I picked up a few of their secrets, the reason that M. Ward records sound amazing to me. Matt is completely right. You need to take a lot of the instruments out right here to have more space. Wow. That’s why M. Ward records sound so peaceful and chill, because he lets things breathe.’ I want to apply that to my music in the future.”

If you want to experience a peacefully chill and timeless lullaby, discover this lovely penultimate song on the Monsters of Folk debut album, M.Ward’s tender ruggedness will take you there; close your eyes, feel the waves flow and while dreaming “♫ whatever will be, will be ♫,” with “The Sandman, The Brakeman, and Me.”