At the Great American Trucking Show last year, truckers Paul Marhoefer and Bill Weaver, both also singer-songwriters, headed up a round of evening concerts at the truck-parking area at Dallas’ Fair Park. During one of those events, a fan of Marhoefer’s music, Adabelle Rodriguez, gave the songwriter “two beautiful vintage harmonicas” in “pristine shape,” he says. “And she said, ‘Now, I’m going to ask you to do something for me – would you write a song for Jason’s Law?'”
The well-known truck-parking funding/security provision in the 2012 MAP-21 highway bill was one spearheaded from the grassroots by truckers in the wake of the death of Jason Rivenburg, robbed and killed in 2009 after being unable to park at a delivery facility in Elloree, S.C. The tragedy, a direct result of a choice the trucker was forced into given a dearth of adequate, secure parking in the area, spurred action toward better funding for and action in states around truck parking specifically. (Readers can track back through the law’s progress from conception through passage at this link to my blog at the time.)
Marhoefer was well aware of the story, but knew that as a songwriter, if “you’re advocating for a law, there are limitations. People don’t like being burdened with another cause. So I asked myself, what would Ralph Stanley do?” Stanley was a well-known bluegrass artist — he passed just last year. “I made it a murder ballad,” Marhoefer adds, an attempt to “chronicle an actual event and let people make their own conclusions — it falls short of advocating a position.”
The final result is a powerful invocation of the story behind the parking-funding/security legislation, available now in a new vid from Texomatic Pictures, embedded at the top of this post. The audio was recorded by Jeff Templeton at Milk House Studios in Richmond, Ind., where half of Indiana-based Marhoefer’s last record, “Old Black Epiphone,” was also put down.
James “Tex” Crowley, the man behind Texomatic pictures, is responsible for the video, shot at the Mid-America Trucking Show, and all of it was backed by Godspeed Expediters small fleet owner Les Willis, of Texas.
Stay tuned for more from Marhoefer, who notes he’s got another record in the works for potential release this year.