for Bayard Johnson
Seventy Dollar Shoes
If I Close My Eyes
Fire Escape Stairway
Eric Dahl wrote the title song (Lost Illusions) in 2020 for his close friend Bayard Johnson. They grew up together in South Seattle and knew each other from the age of six. Like a character in a Balzac novel, Johnson left the Northwest as a young writer to test his writing options in Hollywood. He became a screenwriter for multiple directors and also published the novel Damned Right about a free spirited, high-speed highway nomad from Washington who took himself to LA in order to experience the Mecca of Freeways, only to suffer disillusion with the city’s jammed and dysfunctional transport system. Dahl explains: “Bayard was the earliest and most significant advocate for my songwriting when no one other than my brother even knew that I could sing. As a dare, he booked my very first live public performance at the original Improv in Santa Monica.”
The other songs in this collection often share insights about relationships of complexity or places where Dahl has lived and worked. Cannery Town is about the Libby Cannery in Kent, Washington, where his father once worked; White Water is about kayaking down the Skykomish river; Seventy Dollar Shoes is about someone who paints condos for cash while raising a kid with tight resources. Ozark Hotel is one of Dahl’s first songs and explores Seattle’s most tragic fire in a style combining elements of poetry, storytelling and theater.