Exclusive Premiere: The Fate of the Outlaw in Strange Americans’ “Big Black Car”

Unsaid, unspoken, you’re busted and broken…

Bonnie and Clyde, an American fantasy. The allure of the outlaw is strong, but it’s a hard and fast life that’ll get you in the end. Nevertheless, the shadows have their charm: The adrenaline rush of living on the edge keeps the outlaw a constant cultural trope and source of artistic inspiration.

But there’s another, very real side to this fantasy that is seldom addressed, in part because it can be such a stifling discussion point: Income inequality. What drives people to take from others? They do not do it for the glory or the thrill; instead, it is out of need: To feed their family and see another sunrise. Let’s get in their head, for a change, and really understand the drive and motivations from the perspective of those living in poverty. One thing we can all connect on, like a constant itch, is the desire for more. Strange Americans put the outlaw character to good use in their new song and video “Big Black Car,” capturing the voice of those who live for tomorrow and aspire for a better life.

Borrowed your wife, borrowed your big black car
Don’t worry about it now, we’ll worry ’bout it later
Managed your look, a surface-level smirk, leaned up against the bar
It gets cold on the street, it’s gettin’ colder on the street
Watch: “Big Black Car” – Strange Americans

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Big Black Car,” the lead single and music video off Strange Americans’ upcoming third album Borrow You, Brother. A Denver-based five piece consisting of Matt Hoffman, Trent Nelson, Murry Mercier, Trevor Sinnard, Michael McKee, Strange Americans describe themselves as a “straightforward, no-frills rock and roll” band “with a matching aesthetic that is heavy on songwriting and storytelling.”

“Big Black Car” finds Strange Americans reaching new heights: Their ability to weave new sounds and styles into their established classic, guitar-driven, blue-collar Americana rock speaks to the band’s creative strengths: They’re not going anywhere, nor is the grit and rubble that has defined rock and blues music since their earliest days.

Strange Americans © Scott McCormick

Strange Americans © Scott McCormick

“Big Black Car” enters like a gust of wind, the keyboard holding the melody while the guitar drives the ship. Matt Hoffman’s soft, rugged singing captures the weight of his words as he sings about living in another man’s shoes: “Borrowed your wife, borrowed your big black car. Don’t worry about it now, we’ll worry ’bout it later,” he croons, his words cradling the lines of fantasy and reality. It’s all about point of view, isn’t it?

Things heat up as Strange Americans hit a confident stride:

Carried home
on your back
live like no one
Unsaid, unspoken, you’re busted and broken

“You’re busted and broken,” we hear in the chorus. Who’s busted and broken? Are we still in the homeless man’s fantasy, or are we now looking down, narrating this poor person’s life? “Set to a somewhat more lighthearted-but-still-rock, sometimes noisy soundscape, ‘Big Black Car’ takes a joking-but-serious, pointed perspective on income inequality,” says the band. “A street-dwelling homeless person dreams up manufacturing a successful appearance and identity, occasionally slipping in and out of reality and the headaches of poverty.”

We’re not sure who Strange Americans are referring to in the chorus, and that’s the beauty of “Big Black Car”: We see the world from multiple shoes.

Borrowed your life, think I could steal your style
Won’t worry about it now, I’ll worry ’bout it later
Think I might be set on jeans for a while, man that feels pretty good
When it gets cold on the street, man it gets cold
Strange Americans © George Blosser

Strange Americans © George Blosser

Filmed by Storyteller Creative, the “Big Black Car” music video connects back to the song itself, while telling a story of its own. Here, we see the fate of the outlaw: A man and woman loot their way through a modern day city, him at the wheel and her with the gun. They’re connected by lust – some for one another, the rest for the money. We watch a funny romance unfold through a dark, fogged lens.

Big Black Car - Strange Americans stillBack home, they admire their prize together. He has to put her gun down as she playfully aims it in his direction. Once she’s gone to bed, he stashes some of the bills in his pockets.

Too bad she finds out. Everyone has their price, and when she wakes up to find rolls of bills stuffed in his jacket, it’s obvious a fight is about to ensue. It doesn’t last long though – not when there’s a gun involved. The allure of the outlaw is strong, but it’s a hard and fast life that’ll get you in the end: Watch the video to see the fate of this Bonnie and Clyde.

Strange Americans keep Americana rock alive and well with “Big Black Car,” a playful song whose message goes deeper the more you listen to it. To some, this will be a song about outlaws – but to all of us, it speaks to that natural hope for a better, happier life. Enjoy Atwood Magazine’s exclusive premiere of “Big Black Car,” and be on the lookout for more new music from Strange Americans as they gear up for the release of Borrow You, Brother, out later this year!

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“Big Black Car” – Strange Americans


Strange Americans © Scott McCormick

Strange Americans © Scott McCormick

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com