New Heathens

Track 06

Before the tragedy in Newtown, CT I'd been following the story on this blog (and in the Times) about research wolves, including an immensely popular and powerful alpha female, being killed by hunters in the borderlands around Yellowstone. It was very interesting to watch how, after the Times broke the news of the death of "The Most Famous Wolf in the World," news organizations literally all over the planet picked up the story and ran with it.

This is one of the cooler follow-ups. Guitarist John Sheldon, who earned raves from Jimi Hendrix and James Taylor and also once played guitar for Van Morrison -- wrote a tune called "Wolf 06." (The famous alpha female wolf had been nicknamed "06" -- oh six -- by wolfwatchers because she was born in 2006, park biologists officially named her 832F after they put a GPS tracking collar on her earlier this year.)

It's a tricky thing to write a good song that touches on man's tendency to kill wolves. Musically speaking, the group that made this YouTube video "They Don't Kill Peoples" gets it wrong. Los Lobos, of course, got it very, very right. (Just ask Waylon Jennings, hoss.)

Sheldon doesn't mess around with lyrics, which in songs about wolves can easily get too earnest or too sappy (Warren Zevon, the genius, got around this with ghoulish, rollicking humor in his own wolf tune.)

Sheldon let's a nice beat and tasty, Mark Knopfler-esque guitar licks do the talking. On his website he said, "I wanted to make a tribute...This is what I have to give."

Nice cut! Click here to go to Sheldon's website and take a listen to "Wolf 06."

Peace on earth, eh?

(Here's an encore performance by "The Wolves.")

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