The Mighty Short Bus – Forever Endeavor

by Janet Goodman

“Write what you know” is the old-hat advice given to writers, meaning write from an honest place and from personal experience. This is how Madison, Wisconsin band The Mighty Short Bus approaches their songwriting. These veteran highway hogs perform up to 200 shows a year, traveling the country in their red GMC, and their songs reflect life on the road, with chug-along-train beats and stories about leaving home.

Members of this roots rock country soul band all have a hand in penning the thirteen tracks on their self-released CD “Forever Endeavor,” starting with “Go On, Go On,” a tale about a three-day love-affair binge and its painful end, flanked by the feel-good up tempo, missin’-the-missus road song, “Ol’ #7.” Wiry Petty-esque vocals are buoyed by soulful organ waves in “Out West,” and “Fools Gold” is sluggish and a bit weary – more a cul-de-sac than a direct route along the journey. Offerings like the rambling, roots-country grooved “C is for Country” and dirty delta slide-guitar instrumental “Transistor Transition” put the band back on course, and the sympathetic, lonesome lament “Minnesota” tells us how hard it is to adjust to life while the girlfriend’s away at law school, and taking solace in a little liquor:

“Alcohol is a deadly poison, it makes you say things you shouldn’t say/Words a sober tongue keeps hidden, and never see the light of day/But I know those words can’t hurt me, not like they have done before/Cause you’re off in Minnesota, and I’m passed out on this floor.”

Stand-out “Step Back” is surprisingly not a song describing the rush of touring life, but a laid-back, soulful love song about slowing down and doing nothing at all, probably inspired by that first week home after the tour ends: “Come waste your time with me/Don’t trouble your mind/Come waste your time with me/And we can just step back and watch the world go by.”

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