Track: Buddy Glass paints a poignant tale of family and loss in ‘The Spirit of a Small Town’

In my review of Buddy Glass’s album ‘Wow and Flutter’ last year, I said the album was absolute delight: an immersive journey into the poetic and expressive world of Buddy Glass. Glass has just released a poignant video for the track ‘The Spirit of a Small Town’ – a song dealing with memories of his mother’s Chilean birthplace and the horrors and mysteris of a life left behind.

There is a strength and poise in these memories – epitomising the resilience of immigrants and sadness for world they leave behind – especially in this case the dark world of the military junta in Chile.

The tale told and the accompanying video is deeply personal and raw. There is a strong sense of nostalgia for the subtle pleasures Glass feels in returning to and discovering this world but an acknowledgement of the darkness that often pervades such memories:

The Spirit of a Small Town is a song based on my mother’s early life in the small town of Traiguén in the south of Chile, where I spent many a Christmas and summer with my large extended family, both as a child while still living in Chile, as well as on repatriation holidays after having moved to Australia in 1983.

However, like many big families in many small towns, there were dark secrets which my cousins and I slowly unravelled as we grew up. My mother’s brother’s suicide by rifle in his bedroom, where my cousins and I had to sleep in many years later…. our parents not knowing that we knew. And my auntie’s husband, who was taken by the self-appointed authorities after the 1973 military coup, never to be seen again. The former happened on my grandfather’s birthday, the latter only two days after his death. Tough times.

The video is a very personal collection of family photos interspersed with historical horrors of the Chilean junta. It beats to the heart of the music:

This is an unadorned and raw song – both in production and emotion – and is all the more beautiful for it. Glass is a sterling storyteller with keen observation and a measured style.

You can get ‘Wow & Flutter’ through the link below:

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