A Drive Through the Counting Crows

What Music Speaks, part four

Tracy Lynne Oliver
Gay Mag
Published in
6 min readJul 17, 2019


Illustrations by Louisa Bertman

TThe Counting Crows’ debut album August and Everything After was released on September 14, 1993, nine months and eleven days after I gave birth to my first child, a daughter; cone of head, tan of skin. One month after I moved from the Bay Area the only home I’d ever known to Los Angeles, a place I’d never known, with that same daughter in tow; head no longer coned, skin still tanned.

August and Everything After has a yellow-burnt orange cover with a scrawl of handwritten lyrics of a song of the same name running across the background. In the foreground is an ink-heavy scrawl that black-bleeds the name of the band in colossal letters and below that — in much smaller letters — the album title, as if the band was announcing themselves, more so than the album. Which, perhaps they were.

For me, the color of this album will forever be the color of this band. Just the same way that you will forever remember the perfume or cologne your first love always wore and whenever you come across that scent, no matter how much time has passed or how many loves have come in-between, there they are.

For me, the color of this album will forever be the color of this band.

The album holds eleven songs, all of them embedded in the long-ago part of me that needed a place to hold on to when everything around me had been pulled out from underneath me. Nine months earlier I had already lost my life as a woman and begun the forever life of a mother. A life that already had me feeling lost. This along with the move to Los Angeles brought a new kind of alone. I’d been lifted from everything I’d ever known, everything familiar and comfortable and set down somewhere foreign and hard.

“Mr. Jones” became the breakout single. I first heard it while driving on the 405 freeway, during a forty-five-minute commute on a new freeway, from a new job to a new house, in a new city with a new daughter. I remember scanning the radio stations, trying to make sense of the new call letters, new frequency numbers, new radio personalities. Trying to find where the music I’d left behind resided. The new was overwhelming. I was unmoored.