7 min read

On Down the Line

On Down the Line

Hi everyone!  Got a new track out and this one is a banger — it's my only song to date featuring dobro, which has such a nostalgic and yearning twang.  Here are some quick links for you:


Apple Music / iTunes:

On Down the Line - Single by Hannah Pralle
Album · 2022 · 1 Song

And YouTube:

And here's a SoundCloud link so you can listen right here in the comfort of your own subscription to my newsletter!

Also, if you'd like to follow me on Instagram, I post lots of little updates, song snippets, and videos with my music embedded, and I'd love to see you there:

Last item of business, I added a donate page, which you can access from the home screen or link to here.

Artist credits:

Hannah Pralle: song, lyrics, vocals, harmony vocals
Jeff Lusby Breault: production, mixing, mastering, guitars
Rich Neville: bass guitar
Mikey Seitz: drums

I don't have a photo of Matt Robinson, but he's the dobro player on this track.

I wrote this song in 2014, and as honest and accurate as it felt, I didn't think much of its chances for being popular or commercial.  I don't remember the original rythm I had for it, but Rich Neville, my good friend and bass player, took one listen and said, "Oh, it's fantastic!  It just needs that boxcar, train-tracks type rhythm."  I said, "What?"  He started slapping out a rhythm on the knees of his blue jeans and humming the song and said, "Like that!"  And from that moment on, it was a great song — he was right.

I simply must share a little context about my blue Walmart sweatpants, in the cover art.  I've already received some criticism for putting out album art in sweatpants, which is how I know I'm doing something right :)

So, the sentimental value of these particular blue sweatpants cannot be overstated.  The 2018 wildland fire season was pretty intense for everyone, and I worked 152 days straight that year, and every single one was a sixteen-hour day.  I was a fuel truck driver, and it was a pretty messy job.  Filling up vehicles with gasoline or diesel is not big deal, and top-filling the tanks back up is no big deal either.  But wildland fire ops require many, many, many 5 gallon gas cans to be filled, and most of them have screens that cannot be extracted easily or at all, due to dents etc.  These fuel trucks are not designed to dispense fuel slowly or in a polite trickle, they're pretty much full blast, large nozzle, so filling up 20 or 30 or 50 gas cans every day was a messy and non-ergonomic ordeal, with hand cramps and lots of back splashing.  

So, I smelled like fuel all the time.  I was drenched in fuel, I had fuel in my hair, my sleeping bag and tent smelled like fuel, and I changed clothes and showered as often as resources allowed.  Fire camps are out in the boonies usually so laundry facilities weren't always available.  I had three pairs of overalls and several pairs of jeans, and long johns for sleeping in, and I just rotated through all of them as best I could.

Nevertheless, I made it through these sixteen hour days, happy to be earning so much money of course, and existing in a sort of fuel-splashed fugue state where every day ran into the next.  I really thought my season would be over after a long, long stint in Washington state, but my boss sent me to Oregon after that, to relieve another operator, and I found myself WAY up in the mountains outside Agness.  It rained all day, every day, and I was shocked a fire could even manage to burn under those conditions, but apparently it could.  I spent about a month at that spike camp, mostly sheltering from the rain in my tent, and otherwise getting rained on while I dispensed fuel.  I was ready for fire season to be over.  I was ready for a hair cut, a massage, a manicure, a day off; I was ready to be inside a building and sleep in a bed.  I was ready to not smell like fuel anymore.  Laundry was out of the question, here, and I hadn't had a chance to wash my clothes on the Emergency Rush to get from the last fire camp to this one.  I had so much diesel splash back on me one day that I had to wash my hair in one of the sink trailer basins.  

The drive to town, to resupply with fuel, was arduous and almost vertical, and also very beautiful I should note.  But it was October and the days were getting shorter, and the road was too treacherous to navigate in the dark, fully loaded.  So my re-supply runs were a rushed affair, after the last of my morning customers was topped off.  

On one such supply run, I parked my big HazMat truck in the Walmart parking lot, which is illegal, ran in, and bought as many pairs of sweatpants and sweatshirts as I could.  I was out of clothes that weren't soaked in fuel, and nothing ever dried from the rain, and I just gave up.  They always make jokes about truck drivers and sweatpants, which is exactly why I had avoided becoming a human cliche, but oh well.  I gave up looking like a working class person with any pride or dignity; I didn't have time or the desire to be trying things on.  I just bought sweatpants.  

You know what?  It was so magical to give up the struggle of wearing any semblence of real clothes, here in the 11th hour of fire season.  Suddenly life got a lot comfier, softer, nicer.  Sweatpants and rain coat, that was my new uniform, and I just loved it.  I demobe'd off that fire in sweatpants, drove the fuel truck all the way back to Idaho in my sweatpants, picked up my car and drove back down to Arizona in my sweatpants, and despite all my nice clothes at home, I ended up pretty much wearing them that whole next winter.  To the gym, to the cafe, to bed.  I'm a bit of a clothes horse and always will be, no doubt, but some switch in my head flipped, I guess, and I was like: this is awesome.  WHO CARES.  I feel great.  

I wore my Walmart sweatpants during the 2019, 2020, and 2021 fire seasons, and believe it or not they stay in high rotation even here in Hawaii, where it rains a lot and I need max cozy.  They're definitely going in my luggage for 2022 fire season as well.  

If you look closely at the cover art, you'll see a government-issue 60-second tent in the background, and also my dog Buffy in her little pajamas, in the foreground of an army cot.  The hat I'm wearing — ordered that while I was on a fire, had Amazon bring it right to the fire camp.  And what my friends know and understand, but what might not be obvious otherwise, is that all those fire season days are what paid for these tracks to be produced and brought to market, to sound as good as they do.  It's an expensive undertaking, and it's been fun to figure out how to advance my own interests across a couple fronts, in ways I enjoy.  

Thanks for being a fan and supporting my project!  If you'd like to help, the best thing you can do for me is share my songs with friends or on social media, and of course feel free to donate any amount at all if you're so inspired.  My next single will drop May 13th, and of course I'll let you know — it's called Something Physical, and I wrote it in my head while transporting a newly manufactured Class B truck from Tennessee to Arizona :)

And finally, just for fun, I'll close with some fire season and/or Walmart sweatpants images from over the years!  Have a great day, everyone.