Boston American songwriter Dietrich Strause, an old friend of ours, has a lovely new album coming and Utne Reader has the first song off that, and a powerful story about sacrifice based on a sermon from his father. Read more:
Dietrich Strause – “The Beast That Hunger Binds”
“The Beast That Hunger Binds” opens with a fragile, rising guitar drone before being joined by the steady finger picking of an acoustic guitar. Dietrich Strause sings confidently over this simple backing, “I came to worship, brothers / I came to enter in / To kneel before the station doors and the beast that rolls within.” Of the song’s inspiration, Dietrich says: “My father gave a sermon when I was really young, about a homeless man who came knocking on the church doors looking for money and food, that has always stuck with me. One day the man knocked on the door and my father, having grown frustrated by week after week after week of handing out money, basically told him to go away; that he didn’t have anything more to give to him. The homeless man had just come by to say ‘thank you and merry christmas.’ I remember how my father spoke about his own impatience, how he reacted to the man. I’ve always admired my father for telling that story. I have always wanted to write a song about that same feeling, but never knew quite how. I started with a long parable about a lion, dressed as a king, riding the subway downtown and saving the life of a homeless man on the tracks, and then the train takes off out of the tunnel, and as you can see I quickly got lost in my imagination and the whole thing was convoluted by my own indulgence. I gave the song a few days rest and came back to it with my father’s sermon in mind. I realized what I wanted to express was much more simple. I simply wanted to admit to ignoring a fellow rider on the subway when they had asked for help, and the shame I felt going past the turnstiles, and crawling out of the station, my pockets still full." How Cruel That Hunger Binds, on which this song appears, is out August 26th and is self-released.