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Ben Kweller on New Song’s “Cocaine Vibe”


Changing Horses, Ben Kweller’s country-leaning new album, arrives Feb. 3 via ATO Records. One of its best songs is “Sawdust Man,” a slow groove with slide banjo and saloon-like piano, which Kweller describes to as having a “’70s, Leon Russell cocaine vibe.”

Written on New York City’s subway before his recent move to Austin, TX, Kweller’s “Sawdust Man” tells the story of a woodworker who, after finishing a long day at the sawmill, heads to the Greyhound bus station, climbs to the top of its roof, and looks for the distant headlights of an incoming bus bringing his lady home. (ed: The lyrics never explain where she’s returning from).

“I had that line, ‘I’m on top of the Greyhound station, please come home,’ and I was like, ‘What the fuck does that mean?'” Kweller says of the track’s spontaneous creation. “That was one song where I had to come up with the character backwards — and that’s how I came up with the Sawdust Man.”

Below, listen to “Sawdust Man,” and then leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Listen: “Sawdust Man”