The Flood

by Five Eight

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Ten years ago I was trying to find Sean Dunn, to have him rejoin the band. Then Hurricane Katrina hit.

Sean was newly sober, and after the storm looked for his brother for three weeks. The Dunn family was from New Orleans and Five Eight was always deeply linked to the city, between late night parties with Kermit Ruffins eating red beans and rice to opening for Wilco at the Contemporary Arts Center. When I finally talked to Sean he still hadn't found his brother and his mother was distraught. All of our friends in the music scene in New Orleans (Fred Leblanc, James Hall, Grant Curry) had also left the city. It was crushing to say the least.

Fast forward to today and Sean and I are both sober, his brother (who was eventually located) also got sober and has remarried and started a new life. Sean and I write together, and when we do he brings the music and I add the lyrics. One particularly dark song he brought not long ago---a mournful Neil Young meets Led Zeppelin like tune---really moved me. Having no idea what the song was about yet, I kept singing the words "Ha Ha, what a sight to see."

I ask him what the song was about, and he says it's called "The Flood." Instantly memories of Katrina "flooded" back to me. I remembered the phone call, with Sean still raw from Katrina and fighting a heroin addiction. I remember once figuring Sean and his brother were likely both dead, if not from the storm then from their addictions. I remember the city being gone ---- like a punch in the stomach. I turned to Sean and said, " Wow you really want to write about Katrina?", and he's says "I actually hadn't even thought of that."

I think that we deal with true human tragedy underneath in the soul, the subconscious, in our dreams. We suppress outward expression and keep everything in place with words and euphemisms like "flood"

We can tell stories but really we have to bend to life as it is. The lyrics in the song are from children who witnessed the destruction because they were stuck in the city. They noticed things at face value and much of what they saw is strangely free from a feeling of loss. The loss itself becomes the sublime joy of living through it.

I brought Patterson Hood in to sing with me on The Flood as a duet. I have never done anything like that before. I knew his voice would ring true---but I was thinking he would just sing back up. He came into the studio having never heard the song before and sang it like I wished I could.

So I just re-sang everything to his lead.

We are briefly releasing this track in its present, raw form as our tribute to the great city of New Orleans, as they remember their loss today on August 29th.


It's the ten year anniversary
Of the long walk with my family
We crawled up where we should not go
Watching the brown water flow into
Ha ha I never thought of it
The water covered up the neighborhood

The city was never as dark or as still
The stars glowed like a miracle
Lying on the hood of my daddy's car
We heard the sounds of the helicopters

Never been no refugee
Never dreamt I'd ever see
The school's gone and the library
The books float out to sea
Ha ha what a sight to see
They'll be no more bully to bother me
He's swept away with the old ferry
My best toys scatter in the breeze

This city was never as dark or as still
The stars glowed like a miracle
Lying on the hood of my daddy's car
We heard the sounds of the helicopters


released August 29, 2015
Sean Dunn: Guitar
Patrick Ferguson: Drums
Patterson Hood: Vocals
Dan Horowitz: Bass
Mike Mantione: Guitar, Vocals
John Neff: Pedal Steel Guitar

Recorded and Mixed at Espresso Machine by Mike Albanese
Mastered at Joel Hatstat Audio by Joel August Hatstat
Athens, GA August 2015


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