Like most kids in the coal rich hills of the Appalachian Mountains, I grew up playing cowboys and Indians and watching westerns with my father. He loved the Wild West; he had the hat, he had the boots, and he had that same steely gaze. Naturally, I wanted to be just like him and always be that man who stood up to the bad guys. “Why Oh Why” taps into that standoff at high noon nostalgia with a beautifully shot video (from director Gonzalo Eyzaguirre) at an abandoned Spanish Hacienda that Pierce discovered on his friends’ property.
Discussing the video and the inspiration in his own words, Mr. Pierce said “I fell in love with an old Spanish Hacienda out in the vineyards of Sonoma (on my friends property) and wanted to pay homage to my favorite “western” films by shooting something there. The song lyrics are about a man at war, but I think the energy of the song and the banjo really fit with the video’s theme, of two enemies meeting outside the steps of the old hacienda for a classic shootout.”
When I listen to the banjo, I can’t help but think of stress, pressure, tension…whatever your preferred term for something waiting around the next bend. The banjo is an instrument well loved where I’m from. I’ve heard the twang banjos since I was a wee tot, all played in their own way with varying levels of skill and style. All this said, I defer to you Mr. Pierce. The banjo in “Why Oh Why” agrees very well with the wistful, dusty shots of this video. This particular instrument also agrees well with the conclusion – a standoff. As much or more than any other instrument, a banjo can be loosed from a steady gallop to a pulse racing, heart thumping speed. Frenetic and wild, then fade to black.