21 Oct
12 original songs composed and performed by Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie


A moment of silence for a true demigod—today marks the 40th anniversary of Kerouac’s death. This man is a rockstar in our eyes—a hero really. As a celebration to one of the greatest writers of all time, Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie have composed 12 original songs in the form of, One Fast Move Or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur. The lyrics to this new album are based on the prose of Jack Kerouac’s landmark 1962 novel “Big Sur”. There’s also a feature-length documentary of the same title featuring appearances by writers, poets, actors and musicians including, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Sam Shepard. Gibbard and Farrar also both appear in the film.

The way it all came together is pretty dope. Gibbard and Farrar, having never previously met, discovered a mutual kinship in their passion for Kerouac’s work while recording several songs for the documentary, which was produced by Kerouac Films.

After the initial San Francisco recording session in July 2007, they decided to develop the project further to create an album using Kerouac’s own words from the book as the lyrics. If you haven’t read the tale, “Big Sur” is an evocative account of a time in Jack’s life when he’d “come undone,” both emotionally and spiritually.  He escapes to a cabin in Big Sur to confront his inner demons and find a modicum of peace by the sea.

Here’s a few fun facts: Gibbard stayed in the original cabin Kerouac wrote about, to compose songs for his band’s 2008 Grammy-nominated album, Narrow Stairs. And, for many years, Jay Farrar’s songwriting has been inspired and influenced by Kerouac’s compositional style.

The release is available as a stand alone CD, a CD/DVD package, a limited edition boxed set packaged with the novel, a 40-page book on the documentary and the CD/DVD.  The album will additionally be released on vinyl. Pick it all up here.

Leave a Reply