“Just gettin’ by on gettin’ bys my stock in trade. Living it day to day”
Can’t say how many times I’ve sung these lines to myself. Even before we hit this pandemic year, these were lines that would come to mind on any hard day. These lines come from gonzo country artist Jerry Jeff Walker‘s song “Gettin’ By” from his 1973 album Viva Terlingua.
I first heard Walker’s music in 2008, as a co-worker shared his album with me. While never a huge fan of country, Walker’s music clicked with me. Some of his songs just had beautiful, wispy melodies (such as “Desperados Waiting on a Train”, or his best known track, “Mr. Bojangles”). Others connected with me due to their wit and tongue-in-cheek delivery (“Pissin’ in the Wind”). “Gettin’ By” had both – a carefree spirit sang with a clear grin. It’s an anthem that was never intended to be one – just a casual lark about day-to-day living that hit on something purely universal.
And boy does it feel all the more relevant these days. With all the craziness happening every moment in the news, saying we’re all just “gettin’ by” is an understatement.
Walker sadly passed away last week after a long battle with cancer, but thankfully he’s left many a great song to help us all get by in the days to come. Listen to “Gettin’ By” below.