The Mountain Goats Chronicle a Post-Divorce Road Trip on 'Picture of My Dress'

The Mountain Goats narrate a one-of-a-kind road trip on their new song, “Picture of My Dress,” from their next LP, Getting Into Knives, out October 23rd via Merge.

The song boasts a steady and serene musical chug, and finds frontman John Darnielle tracing the journey of a recently divorced woman who decides to drive around the country and take photos of her wedding dress in various locales: A truck stop in New Mexico, a Burger King parking lot in Dallas, and a roadside in the middle of nowhere. “It may be a long while before the highway decides to finally set me free,” Darnielle sings, “I’m gonna have to chase down the remnants of something special that you stole from me.”

“Picture of My Dress” actually originated on — of all places — Twitter. Back in December 2018, the poet Maggie Smith tossed off an idea for a “photo essay that won’t happen: Divorced woman drives her rumpled c. 2005 wedding dress across the country and takes photos of it in various locations. It’s a metaphorical Weekend at Bernie’s sans stapled-on-toupee and sunglasses, because the dead thing is the marriage.”

A few weeks later, Darnielle replied to the tweet, saying the song version would be called, “Picture of My Dress.” Although he suggested Mary Chapin Carpenter would be the ideal person to write the tune, he embraced the challenge himself, saying, “I’m in the house with two kids during winter break for another week so maybe we’ll all woodshed it today.” A few hours later, Darnielle posted a photo of him already working on the demo.

The Mountain Goats recorded Getting Into Knives earlier this year at Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis. It marks the group’s second project of 2020, following the impromptu Songs for Pierre Chuvin, which Darnielle wrote and recorded in 10 days and released with the aim of helping the Mountain Goats and their touring crew make up some of the income they lost when their tour was canceled due to Covid-19.

To mark the release of Getting Into Knives, the Mountain Goats will play a pair of virtual concerts, October 22nd and 29th, both starting at 9 p.m. ET. Dubbed the Jordan Lake Sessions, the sets were recorded at Manifold Recording in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and both sets will feature 36 songs from across the band’s catalog, with no repeats. Tickets for both shows are on sale now, and fans will be able to watch a rebroadcast of the shows for 24 hours after they end.

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