Album: Here Come The Miracles
. . .
After Sweetness and Light, Steve Wynn put out a couple of initially limited releases, 1998’s The Suitcase Sessions and 2000’s outtakes and covers Pick of the Litter, which sandwiched 1999’s official album, My Midnight. And because nothing off of any of these records did anything for me, I once again though my taste and Wynn’s muse had gone their separate ways.
Wrong!!!! Because 2001’s double-CD Here Come The Miracles turned out to be my favorite Wynn solo album ever, two solid discs full of great songs that brightened up a rather dark period of my life, that forever-seeming six-month period in the spring and summer of 2001 when I thought I might never get another web job ever again.
Recorded in Tucson, Arizona — the first of what Wynn called his “Desert Trilogy” — it only made sense that Here Come The Miracles featured a cameo from Howie Gelb, who’s recorded approximately a zillion albums there since the mid-1980s, only one of which I ever heard, 1994’s Glum, which I bought after seeing them open for someone in the Bay Area, and since it didn’t anything for me, that was that. Sorry, Howie Gelb fans!
Anyways, Gelb’s harmonica and maybe guitar dominate much of the instrumental sections of “Sustain,” which is sung by Wynn in a calm, measured voice, belying some of the desperateness of the lyrics.
The more I see, the less I think I want to see
Which only makes me dare to see
More than I really should
I test myself to show I can endure
Beyond the point of anything that anyone
Has tried to suffer through before
And only the pain remains (sustain, sustain)
Nothing that time can explain away
After the second and third choruses, Wynn calmly chants “and on and on and on / on and on and on and on” — with harmonies by Linda Pitmon, whose drumming drives the song throughout — leading into long guitar workouts by either Gelb, Wynn or Chris Brokaw, the former Come guitarist who had been playing on and off with Wynn since 1996’s Melting in the Dark.
No matter who is playing the solos, they’re loud and unhinged, veering into Neil Young — or even Karl Precoda — territory, and as the song fades out, they’re still going like gangbusters.
“Sustain” live solo, Utrecht, 2015
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