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October 9, 2018

Stay Gold

Kim Nelson

Stay Gold photo

Stay Gold
First Aid Kit
Released: June 6, 2014
Label: Columbia Records
Length: 38:25

It’s Day 10 of our honeymoon, a 2-week-long road trip from Chicago through the Badlands, Yellowstone, Glacier Montana, and back. My husband — the word so new to me, it gleams — and I sit on the outdoor patio of a brewpub next to Flathead Lake. The water in early June is clear and pure and you can see the rocks on the bottom. Sunlight glints on the surface like a trickster god’s eye. We feel the golden rays warming our bared skin as we sip early afternoon beers.

My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit pours from the bar speakers like warm honey. It’s the breakout single from the album Stay Gold, which was released just 4 days earlier, back when we were still hiking in Wyoming. We both fall quiet during the chorus, as two young Swedish sisters sing in harmony “I hear a voice calling, calling out for me/ These shackles I’ve made in an attempt to be free/ Be it for reason, be it for love/ I won’t take the easy road.” We reach for our phones simultaneously to look up the band, and in that golden honey-colored moment, we discover First Aid Kit. 

During that trip, we drove 3,200 miles, crossed windswept plains, outran thunderstorms, and stopped for herds of bison crossing the road. We camped in Lamar Valley and saw no other humans besides each other for 2 days. We fell asleep in our tent listening to coyote songs. For 2 weeks across six states, music filled the car, a mix of curated playlists and local radio stations. But the songs that most vividly transport me back to our honeymoon road trip are the 10 tracks on Stay Gold. When I hear the opening from the title song, “The sun shone high those few summer days/ left us in a song, wide-eyed haze/ it shone like gold/ it shone like gold” I feel the drunken headrush of happiness, a heady sugar high. No gold can stay, but honey can crystalize, create textures you never expected.

Drink: Great American Brewery Company’s Big Mountain American Pale Ale, 5.2% ABV for easy summer day drinking

image: Montana