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Locked in with Chuck Prophet

Chuck Prophet
courtesy of Chuck Prophet

It’s probable that each and every one of us has been locked out before. Whether you mistakenly locked your keys in your car or mindlessly left your house keys on your dresser, we’ve all felt the annoyance and frustrations of being shut out of your living space or means of transportation. But have you ever experienced being locked in somewhere? Sounds like pure hell, right? Although this latter scenario is less likely, it’s by far more frightening especially for control freaks, those suffering from claustrophobia or anyone who knows anything about being on deadline. This brings me to a true story about local alt-country musician Chuck Prophet who, as fate would have it, was accidentally locked in Closer Recording Studios here in SF along with a slew of fellow musicians and colleagues when one of the studio owners activated the sophisticated alarm system without giving Prophet and company the code to get out.

Chuck Prophet
Inspiration for Dreaming Waylon’s Dream

It’s a known fact that not all musicians are technologically inclined, especially when it comes to an intimidating alarm system—the bottom line was they were locked in. Sometimes the greatest creative endeavors come from situations with immutable limitations, which is the case with Chuck Prophet’s latest offering Dreaming Waylon’s Dream, a one-off limited release album recorded during his forced incarceration in Closer Studios. Just like that old clichéd saying, “When life gives you lemons …,” life gave Prophet a studio and instead of lemonade he made a damn good album. Dreaming Waylon’s Dream is a modern reinterpretation of “outlaw” country artist Waylon Jennings’ classic Dreaming My Dreams With You, an album that they had on-hand in the studio. With a jar of peanut butter and a fridge full of beer, and after multiple listens of Dreaming, Prophet and his stir-crazy partners in crime set to work on recording the album in full.

Chuck Prophet
SF-based songwriter Stephanie Finch

The result is paired-down, dreamy Americana and playful rock-infused country that pays homage to the original while still being modern and innovative. Thankfully the state of being locked in is a temporary one, and eventually Prophet and friends were set free. The same temporality goes for this album, which is a limited offering of 1,000 individually numbered copies—and half of those are reserved for Europe—and features one-of-a-kind artwork by Bruce Licher. Thankfully, this happy accident has given us tunes to listen to the next time we get locked out, or in.